The Chicago Cubs have multiple needs in the starting rotation this offseason and for a team that has the intention of contending in 2023, those needs can not go unaddressed. The Cubs have a plethora of young starting pitching candidates but lack a true top of the rotation starting pitcher that most contenders typically have.
Japanese free agent starting pitcher Kodai Senga has been heavily linked to the Cubs in the early parts of this offseason but it seems as if the Cubs will shy away from the deep end of the free agent starting pitcher market that includes Justin Verlander, Carlos Rodon, and Jacob deGrom.
Senga certainly has the potential to be a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher but it seems more likely that he would slot closer to the middle of the Cubs' rotation. The Cubs would still need to add at least one more starting pitcher outside of Senga and it has been unclear who else the team may be interested in.
670 The Score baseball insider Bruce Levine provided some clarity on the Cubs' search for starting pitcher this winter as he reported on Wednesday that the Cubs have expressed an interest in veteran starting pitcher Corey Kluber.
Kluber is no longer the perennial Cy Young Award candidate that he was during his time with the Cleveland Guardians and his 2022 season with the Tampa Bay Rays would seem indicate that he is closer to being a bottom of the rotation starting pitcher.
Corey Kluber wouldn't address the Chicago Cubs true need in the starting rotation.
In 31 starts with the Rays last season, Kluber posted a 4.34 ERA in 164 innings pitched to go along with 139 strikeouts against 21 walks. Kluber's advanced stats show that he was slightly better in 2022 than his ERA would indicate as he had a 3.92 xFIP to go along with a 3.0 fWAR.
At this point in his career, Kluber does not move the needle in terms of being a true upgrade to a starting rotation. Kluber as the Cubs' main upgrade to their starting rotation would be an objective failure of the team's front office. Kluber combined with Senga would certainly be an upgrade but also leave the Cubs without a true top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. One option that should not be ruled out is the idea of the Cubs also trading for a starting pitcher that has been mentioned yet in rumors.