The Chicago Cubs were 39-31 during the second half of the 2022 Major League Baseball regular season and that was in large part due to the solid contributions that the team received from their starting rotation. Headed by Marcus Stroman, the Cubs' starting rotation found tremendous success towards the end of the season and seen the emergence of two young starting pitchers in Justin Steele and Hayden Wesneski.
Stroman, Steele, and Wesneski are expected to be a part of the starting rotation at the beginning of the 2023 season but the rest of the Cubs' rotation remains a question. Kyle Hendricks suffered through an injury-plagued season for the Cubs in 2022 and is returning to the team's pitch lab this offseason with the goal of rebuilding his effectiveness.
Keegan Thompson proved to be an effective option for the Cubs in their starting rotation but he might have more value to the Cubs in the bullpen as a shutdown reliever that can pitch multiple innings at a time. Ditto for Adbert Alzolay as Alzolay missed most of the season while recovering from a shoulder injury but was effective out of the bullpen towards the end of the season.
Given the question marks in the Cubs' rotation, it goes without saying that the team will look to add at least one, if not, two starting pitchers this offseason. The Cubs have been linked to a pair of free-agent starting pitchers in Japanese standout Kodai Senga and veteran Corey Kluber. Kluber likely wouldn't be as much of a needle mover as Senga would and has been the problem with the Cubs' pursuit of starting pitchers this offseason. The Cubs are in desperate need of a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher but appear to be sitting out of the market for the top-tier starting pitchers in Justin Verlander, Carlos Rodon, and Jacob deGrom.
The Chicago Cubs are once again regretting the 2017 trade with the Chicago White Sox.
For the Cubs, Wednesday night will serve as a reminder that they previously had the answer to their long-term need at the top of their rotation.
Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease is a finalist for the American League Cy Young Award. Yes, the same Cease that Cubs traded to the White Sox along with outfielder Eloy Jimenez for Jose Quintana in 2017. At the time, Jimenez was believed to be the piece that the Cubs missed the most but it is proving to be Cease.
Cease posted a 2.20 ERA in 184 innings pitched with the White Sox last season and had an outstanding K/9 ratio of 11.1. For the Cubs, Cease is the one who got away and is the exact profile of the pitcher they need at the top of their rotation.