Ranking the top 5 Cubs offseason moves

Chicago Cubs Introduce Dansby Swanson
Chicago Cubs Introduce Dansby Swanson / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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Jameson Taillon / Chicago Cubs
Division Series - Cleveland Guardians v New York Yankees - Game Two / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Ranking the top 5 Cubs offseason moves: #3 - Jameson Taillon/Drew Smyly

I'm more excited about the Cubs pitching prospects right now than at any point in recent memory. That being said, a lot of these guys probably aren't quite ready to shoulder a major role on the staff and, knowing that, adding Jameson Taillon to the mix and bringing back Drew Smyly may very well be the two most critical moves the front office made this offseason when it's all said and done.

Taillon was a clear step below Jacob deGrom and Carlos Rodon, but should be a solid, steadying presence in the Cubs rotation for years to come. For starters, his 177 1/3 innings pitched in 2022 would have led Chicago by a wide margin (Marcus Stroman led the team with 138 2/3 IP) - which only reduces the burden on the rest of the staff.

Not only did he eat a lot of innings for the Yankees, but he was reliable, working to a 3.94 FIP in 32 starts, relying on plus spin rates and an elite walk rate of just 4.4 percent. If he can keep the ball on the ground at the same level he did earlier in his career in 2023 and take advantage of the Cubs' vastly improved defense, Taillon could be poised for a breakout season.

Let's not sleep on Drew Smyly, either. Hoyer brought the veteran left-hander back on the heels of a lights-out second half that saw him work to a 2.83 ERA post All-Star break. He did a great job at limiting hard contact and, with uncertainty surrounding Kyle Hendricks, gives Chicago a proven commodity capable of slotting into the rotation this year.