With the Chicago Cubs in the mix to make a playoff push this year, and a group of controllable players who will be around for a while, the team is in pretty good shape. Not to mention one of the highest-rated prospects in all of baseball is knocking on the door in Triple-A Iowa by the name of Pete Crow-Armstrong. And he isn't the only prospect who could come up and make an impact. Even with all of this in consideration, there are a few free agents hitting the market that should be on the Cubs' radar this offseason. Here are 5 guys the Cubs could sign to improve their chances at a deep playoff push in 2024.
1. RHP Aaron Nola
Aaron Nola is currently the longest-tenured Phillie and he is about to complete his ninth year with the Philadelphia Phillies, where he has been an absolute workhorse. Not including the shortened 2020 season, Nola has exceeded 32 starts in his last four full seasons. The 30-year-old starter is durable, eats a lot of innings, and averages more than a strikeout per inning pitched. Cubs starters generally haven't been able to go deep into ballgames consistently, which puts a lot of innings on the bullpen's plate. Signing a guy like Nola, who the Phillies failed to get an extension done prior to the season, would go a long way in preserving bullpen arms.
One detractor is the fact that Nola is having one of the worst seasons in his career with a 4.58 ERA in 153 innings. A FIP of 4.25 suggests that Nola's defense is not to blame for his inflated ERA, which makes sense considering he has surrendered 27 home runs on the year which is already tied for a career-high. But we've seen Nola bounce back from bad years before, and his shoddy numbers this season could keep the price of his contract down.
Taking everything into account, signing Nola would mean the Cubs are ready to play. He would be an anchor in the rotation and signing him would be reminiscent of the Jon Lester deal prior to the 2015 season. The Cubs should sign at least one starter in the offseason and maybe two depending if Marcus Stroman decides to pick up his player option and the team picks up Kyle Hendricks' team option. But Nola being in there would make the Cubs' rotation a lot more formidable.
1. Aaron Nola
2. Justin Steele
3. Jameson Taillon
4. Javier Assad