The Chicago Cubs' National League Central counterpart, the Milwaukee Brewers, suffered a major loss on Friday after starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff underwent right shoulder surgery.
Woodruff is expected to miss most if not all of the 2024 season while he recovers.
Woodruff is set to be a free agent after the 2024 season, so depending on his recovery, there is a chance that he has pitched his last game with the Brewers. Interestingly enough, a starting pitcher looking for a landing spot while re-establishing their value is the exact type of pitcher that the Cubs have targeted in recent seasons. Woodruff may be a pitcher that the Cubs keep a tab on over the next year ahead of his arrival on the free-agent market next winter.
Woodruff was limited to 11 starts last season and posted a 2.28 ERA in 67 innings pitched.
For a Brewers team that may be on the verge of a reset with uncertain futures surrounding starting pitcher Corbin Burnes and shortstop Willy Adames, the loss of Woodruff for the 2024 season may push them closer to a rebuild. Not to mention, there has been speculation regarding Craig Counsell's future as manager of the Brewers is far from certain with the New York Mets expecting to attempt to lure him to New York with a lucrative contract offer.
The injury to Woodruff only solidifies the need for the Cubs to be aggressive this winter. The National League Central remains a division that is wide-open and the Brewers taking a step back only clears the path for the Cubs to return to the top of the division. The key for the Cubs will be building off the aggressive approach they took at the trade deadline last season as they started to make the transition from being a good team to a great team.