Chicago Cubs Rumors: Cardinals may have similar free-agent interests

The Chicago Cubs will have a need for starting pitching this winter and that could have them in a bidding war with their National League Central counterpart.
Wild Card Series - Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Two
Wild Card Series - Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Two / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Starting pitching will likely be toward the top of the Chicago Cubs shopping list this winter as the team will look to stabilize a starting rotation.

Inconsistency was the theme of the Cubs' starting rotation during the 2023 season as outside of Justin Steele being in the conversation for the National League Cy Young Award for most of the season, the rotation was filled with up-and-down performances.

The two current question marks in the Cubs' rotation are Marcus Stroman and Kyle Hendricks. Stroman has a $21MM player option for the 2024 season that can be exercised upon the conclusion of the World Series and the Cubs can exercise a $16.5MM club option for 2024 in regard to Hendricks.

The Cubs have all but confirmed Hendricks will be back with the team next season but it's possible that the two sides find an agreement on an extension to lower the $16.5MM number for next season and the expectation is that Stroman will exercise his player option for the 2024 season after his struggles during the second half of the season.

Even with the likelihood that both Stroman and Hendricks will be back with the Cubs next season, the second half of the season exposed the fact that the team does not have a solid post-season rotation.

The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals may have similar interests this off-season.

That fact is the reason why the Cubs will likely be in the market for a starting pitcher this winter and we have already speculated that Sonny Gray would be a fit.

Interestingly enough, the Cubs' competition for Gray may come from within their division. Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported over the weekend that the Cardinals will have interest in both Gray and Aaron Nola this winter.

Those are two names that likely will be on the Cubs' radar this winter as well. The National League Central division remains a division that has no clear-favorite so the idea of the Cubs and Cardinals being in a bidding war over similar interests should be no surprise.

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