The Chicago Cubs are in the midst of a "make or break" offseason that could dictate the direction of the franchise for years to come. Coming off of a three-year period of an emotional roller coaster and their second losing season in a row, the Cubs' faithful are on edge to see what changes are coming and are watering at the mouth at the potential for the future. The money is there to spend, the names are there to sign, and the only thing in between is what president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer is ready to do to make this team competitive in 2023.
There is a lot of talk and focus surrounding the position players in this free agency class, and rightfully so. Ballplayers like Aaron Judge, Carlos Correra, and Trea Turner rarely become available for just anyone - let alone at the same time. If the Cubs are to compete now, they will have to make some sort of splash in the field. But it's important to keep in mind there are some future stars coming through the pipeline in the organization that could find themselves ready sooner rather than later. Reinforcements in the field are there and they're coming. With that in mind, it is prime time for the Cubs to establish a strong starting rotation.
Kyle Hendricks and Marcus Stroman (Stroman being last year's big free agency splash) are the two locked-in pieces of the rotation as it stands. Hendricks struggled to feel normal and healthy in 2022 while Stroman started feeling himself towards the back end. All other rotation slots are seemingly up for grabs with Jusitn Steele, Caleb Killian, and Keegan Thompson still in the mix.
The Chicago Cubs must add impact starting pitching this offseason
If the Cubs want to compete now, they need to prioritize making a splash in free agency with 1-2 impactful arms to add as staples in the rotation. The money is there for a Jacob deGrom deal, but they may be far apart on the length of the contract. AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander is available after winning a second World Series with Houston, but teams may be hesitant to throw Max Scherzer money his way for a short stint. Then you have some seemingly cheaper but very worthy options in Carlos Rodon, Nathan Eovaldi, and Mike Clevinger, just to name a few, that could come in and bolster this rotation.
Adding a couple of inning-eaters to this rotation could boost the confidence in the other starters and even the bullpen. Great pitching eases the pressure on the offense to produce five-plus runs a game, and they can feel freer to just swing the bat. Put it all together with some Gold Glove defense, and by golly, we've got ourselves a contender on the north side.