What the Chicago Cubs rotation could look like after adding Shota Imanaga

Here is how the Cubs rotation could shake out with the addition of Japanese star Shota Imanaga

World Baseball Classic Championship: United States v Japan
World Baseball Classic Championship: United States v Japan / Eric Espada/GettyImages
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The Chicago Cubs have landed starting pitcher Shota Imanaga, effectively filling the gap left when Marcus Stroman opted out of his player option for 2024.

The team may have been able to skirt by without adding a starter since they boast fairly extensive starting pitching depth in Drew Smyly, Hayden Wesneski and Javier Assad, with others like Ben Brown and Cade Horton on the way. But Imanaga's addition gives a certain sense of security and stability to the rotation and I think there's a solid chance he will emerge as the team's second or third-best starter behind Justin Steele. With that being said, here is what I think the Cubs' rotation will look like at the start of the season after adding Imanaga to the mix.

1. Justin Steele

There's little question that Justin Steele is the undisputed ace of this staff. Over his 30 starts in 2023, Steele compiled 173.1 innings pitched with a 3.06 ERA and 176 strikeouts. This was by far the best performance of the Cubs pitching staff and the 28-year-old was even in the Cy Young conversation up until the last month of the season.

It's hard to imagine anyone else getting the opening day nod other than Steele. I just hope he can continue his dominance because everyone is expecting him to lead this rotation in a commanding fashion. I'm not saying he has to go out and actually win a Cy Young, but if he can stay healthy and come close to his numbers from 2023, I'll be happy.