CHICAGO — They haven’t played their biggest cards yet. But no group has been some-more aggressively stockpiling pitching this offseason than a Cubs.
The Cubs have rather sensitively combined 8 arms to a 40-man register given they were beaten by a Dodgers in a National League Championship Series, including during slightest 6 who will go to Arizona with a shot during a symbol on a Opening Day roster. Chicago has committed $82 million to giveaway agents Tyler Chatwood, Brandon Morrow, Steve Cishek and Drew Smyly. To this point, usually a Rockies have invested some-more in pitching.
Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee all perceived three-year contracts from Colorado, with a deals totaling $106 million. The Cubs are approaching to blow past that symbol when they brand a deputy for Davis and possibly re-sign or reinstate Jake Arrieta, with Yu Darvish prominently mentioned as a possibility.
The Cubs continue to have conversations with mixed free-agent starters, including Alex Cobb, and are monitoring a accessibility of controllable starters and closers by trades. That list is believed to embody Gerrit Cole, Michael Fulmer, Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Danny Duffy, Danny Salazar, Brad Hand, Roberto Osuna, Alex Colome and Felipe Rivero.
But do a Cubs unequivocally have to do anything else?
With Chatwood, Morrow and a others aboard, a Cubs wouldn’t be wrong to conduct into 2018 with a register they’ve amassed and adjust during midseason, as they’ve finished a final dual years. That would supplement to their coherence subsequent fall, when Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, Andrew Miller, A.J. Pollock and Zach Britton could be intriguing free-agent targets (at this indicate they could be as many as $85 million next a 2019 Competitive Balance Tax threshold of $206 million).
Let’s take a demeanour during where a Cubs stand.
They have one of a best rotations in a National League. Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana and Chatwood are all underneath control by during slightest 2020. Adding Darvish or re-signing Arrieta could give a Cubs’ a best revolution going, generally if Chatwood elevates his opening out of Colorado.
Chatwood picked a Cubs over a lot of teams that were meddlesome in holding that bet. Manager Joe Maddon raved about him after he kick a Cubs final June. He comes to a Cubs during about a same age that Arrieta did, and his 4.31 career ERA is a lot improved than a one Arrieta brought from Baltimore.
There’s a risk to Chatwood, who had Tommy John medicine as a 16-year-old and again in 2014. But he was throwing harder final deteriorate (average four-seam fastball 95.2 mph, normal sinker 94.8 mph) than during any indicate in his Major League career and was entirely checked out by Cubs doctors before removing his three-year, $38 million contract.
Quintana, acquired from a White Sox over a All-Star mangle final season, heads into his age-29 deteriorate as something of a tip weapon. He was off to an uncharacteristically unsure start final deteriorate before compiling a 3.74 ERA in 14 starts with a Cubs.
Quintana’s 1.073 career WHIP during Wrigley is a lowest in a rotation. And if you’ve watched him, we know he’s able of winning 18 games and earning Cy Young Award consideration. He flashed his potential after entrance to a Cubs, though his initial full year in a NL could be unequivocally special.
Mike Montgomery, who will be stretched out as a starter in Spring Training though is approaching to start a unchanging deteriorate in a bullpen, is rarely encouraged to uncover boss of ball operations Theo Epstein what he can do if he gets 25-30 starts. Smyly, sealed some-more for 2019 than ’18, underwent Tommy John medicine final Jul though could assistance late in a season.
Don’t disremember Jen-Ho Tseng (13-4, 2.54 in 24 starts between Double-A and Triple-A), who was a Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of a Year. He could pull for a pursuit with a clever Spring Training. So could Eddie Butler and Alec Mills, who will any be in their second year in a organization.
The Cubs combined dual ninth-inning options in Morrow and Cishek, though it seems approaching they’ll supplement an determined closer, many approaching in a trade. Carl Edwards Jr. has shown a intensity to rise into a closer, though he got banged around in a 2017 postseason, creation it approaching he’ll lapse to a setup role.
Justin Wilson, Pedro Strop and Justin Grimm will return, with a maladroit Wilson streamer into Spring Training as a plan for new pitching manager Jim Hickey. Wilson mislaid lane of a strike section after nearing in a trade with a Tigers and was left off a NL Championship Series roster.
The Cubs are vehement about Dario Alvarez, who can be described as sliderific. His fastball-slider multiple has authorised him to strike out 11.4 per 9 innings in his 56 Major League outings with a Rangers, Braves and Mets, though control has been an emanate (14 walks in 16 1/3 innings for Texas final year). His intensity warranted him a Major League agreement as a Minor League giveaway agent.
The Cubs have also combined bullpen abyss with waiver claims for lefty Randy Rosario and right-handers Luke Farrell (the son of former Red Sox manager John Farrell) and Cory Mazzoni. The 23-year-old Rosario was quickly promoted from Double-A to a Majors with a Twins final year, and has girl on his side.
Farrell (26) is a Northwestern University product who done his Major League entrance for a Reds final year, with his father in attendance. Mazzoni (28), a second-round collect of a Mets from North Carolina State in 2011, pitched for a Padres in 2015 and ’17 though was forsaken off a 40-man roster.
The Cubs adore how Mazzoni looked in Triple-A in a second half of final deteriorate (31 strikeouts, 3 walks in 20 1/3 innings) and wish he can find that slit this spring. He and Farrell will have evident chances to settle themselves.
Pitching abyss can make or mangle teams in a postseason, and a Cubs are once again acid everywhere to build a championship staff. They substantially won’t stop now — though they could. That’s observant a lot given a detriment of Arrieta, Davis and John Lackey.
Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com.
This story was not theme to a capitulation of Major League Baseball or the clubs.