The Major League Baseball Winter Meetings have arrived and the Chicago Cubs have several holes to fill. Among those holes for the Cubs are at first base and their starting rotation. In the latest from Sahadev Sharma and Patrick Mooney in The Athletic, the Cubs have continued to express an interest in veteran starting pitcher Corey Kluber and veteran first baseman Matt Carpenter.
"Besides first basemen Josh Bell and Trey Mancini, the Cubs also have a level of interest in Matt Carpenter as a left-handed hitter who remade his swing to post a 1.138 OPS in 47 games this year with the Yankees. Carpenter, 37, would bring credibility after notching three All-Star selections with the St. Louis Cardinals, playing in 14 postseason series throughout his career and showing the willingness to reinvent himself with the help of people like Joey Votto."- The Athletic
After struggling in his final few seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals from 2019 through 2021, Carpenter signed with the New York Yankees last offseason with the goal of finding his swing. Find his swing is what he did as the 37-year-old slashed .305/.412/.727/1.138 in 154 plate appearances while posting a 217 wRC+. It was a small sample size for Carpenter with the Yankees last season but if the Cubs feel his success is sustainable, then he would certainly address the team's need for power.
In regard to Kluber, it sounds like the former American League Cy Young does have legitimate interest in joining the Cubs.
"The Cubs have checked in on two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, who is close friends with Cubs catcher Yan Gomes and is more open-minded about Chicago after his recent free-agent decisions prioritized staying on the East Coast. Following the injuries that wiped out almost all of his 2019 and 2020 seasons, Kluber has made 47 starts (4.17 ERA) across the last two years with the Rays and New York Yankees. Kluber could also be an asset for an organization that’s trying to help a large group of young pitchers take the next steps in their careers."- The Athletic
We have discussed Kluber already this offseason and the sentiment is that veteran would not fully address the Cubs' need in their rotation. The Cubs have a need for a top-of-the-rotation arm and at this point in his career, Kluber likely slots toward the back of a competitive starting rotation.
The Athletic article also looks further into the Cubs' idea of intelligent spending this offseason and how the market may force the Cubs to define their buzzphrase for the offseason. Hearing of the Cubs' interest in Carpenter and Kluber gives the impression that the team is bargain shopping this offseason instead of shopping deep end of free agency.