Starting pitchers continue to sign as Chicago Cubs wait out current wave of signings

Starting pitchers continue to find free-agent deals while the Chicago Cubs may be sitting out of the first wave of pitchers to sign.

Oct 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) pitches
Oct 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) pitches / Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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The first wave of free agent starting pitcher signings started last week and it would seem that it will continue this week as there have been two more signings over the last 24 hours.

On Sunday, starting pitcher Kenta Maeda signed a two-year deal with the Detroit Tigers worth $24MM and on Monday, the St. Louis Cardinals appear to be finalizing a deal with free agent starting pitcher Sonny Gray.

Maeda fits the profile of the type of starting pitcher that the Chicago Cubs usually target. Maeda has had some bad luck in each of his past two seasons with the Minnesota Twins as the advanced metrics suggest he was much better than his ERA would indicate.

Maeda made 21 appearances, 20 starts, with the Twins last season while posting an ERA of 4.23 in 104.1 innings pitched. Maeda's xERA, 3.77, and xFIP, 3.98, both would suggest that he was the victim of bad defense with the Twins last season. The issue with the fit with the Cubs other than his age, 35, is that Maeda has only pitched over 150 innings in a season twice during his career. For a team that is in need of a starting pitcher to eat up innings, Maeda would not have checked that box for the Cubs.

Maeda's teammate with the Twins, Gray, was the opposite. Gray posted a 2.79 in 184 innings pitched last season but his xERA, 3.69, and xFIP, 3.64, would suggest that there was some luck involved in his number last season. Having said that, it was clear that Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson were not going to be the complete answer for the Cardinals' need in the rotation and Gray certainly is an upgrade.

As the Cubs are looking to add two starting pitchers this off-season, Eduardo Rodriguez remains a name to keep an eye on and he could be the next starting pitcher to find a deal.

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