Craig Counsell's quip to Scott Boras hints at major Chicago Cubs need

Craig Counsell's comment to Scott Boras, while joking, may have an element of truth to it.

Chicago Cubs v Kansas City Royals
Chicago Cubs v Kansas City Royals / Norm Hall/GettyImages

The Chicago Cubs officially welcomed Cody Bellinger back on Wednesday as the team held a press conference to reintroduce Bellinger to the team.

Usually, at press conferences revealing the latest addition to the Cubs' Major League roster, Jed Hoyer is joined by general manager Carter Hawkins. Wednesday offered a surprise guest as Bellinger's agent, Scott Boras, was included in the presentation.

Ironically, Craig Counsell may have provided the moment of the day. Counsell joked with Boras as the agent walked the grounds at the Cubs' Spring Training facility on Wednesday morning.

The quip was about free-agent starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery. Like Bellinger, Montgomery's market has grown stale as the two teams with the most interest, the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox, haven't been willing to meet the asking price set by Boras.

The latest projections on Montgomery place his next deal at $75MM for three seasons. Given where the Cubs' payroll is currently at, such a deal would push the Cubs past the first level of the luxury tax and in proximity to the second tier.

While it's likely that Counsell was breaking the ice with Boras, the new Cubs' manager may be concerned about the team's starting rotation.

For all the praise that the Cubs have received for lucking their way out of the $21MM that was owed to Marcus Stroman had he not opted out of his deal at the start of the off-season, it's still unclear if the team has replaced the production that Stroman had during the first half of the season. There was a point of emphasis on the injuries and struggles that Stroman had during the second half of the 2023 season, but what's casually being left out of the discussion is that the veteran was a Cy Young award candidate during the first half.

On paper, the Cubs' rotation appears to depend heavily on the second half of Jameson Taillon's 2023 season being the norm moving forward, along with Shota Imanaga immediately proving to be a middle-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. It's an ambitious goal for a Cubs team expected to contend this season, and that may be why starting pitching will be a need. Counsell has circled ahead of the MLB Trade Deadline in July.

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