There is nothing ‘hush-hush’ about the Cubs offseason plans. The club needs pitching and they are willing to part with MLB talent to obtain the right players.
We know they have an interest in adding someone like Andrew Benintendi from the Red Sox or Christian Yelich of the Miami Marlins, but Cubs most glaring issues involve pitching – and Theo Epstein plans on fixing that to start 2018.
The Cubs are expected to be aggressive in free agency this offseason, and have already been linked San Francisco’s Jeff Samardzija earlier this week. But the Cubs will try to round out their rotation via free agency this year, and here are three names Cubs fans should pay attention to this offseason.
The 30-year-old right-hander miss all of 2015 and most of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery. However, Cobb bounced-back nicely in 2017, registering a 3.66 ERA in a 179.1 innings pitched.
Cobb has primed himself for a nice payda, however, his injury history could still drive down the price for the veteran righty. According to a source, the Cubs see Cobb as one of their top targets coming into this offseason, but he will be coveted by multiple teams this winter.
The biggest advantage the Cubs have over others is their newly hired pitching coach in Jim Hickey, who has been Cobb’s pitching coach his entire career. If the Cubs can lure Cobb, the North-Siders will already be benefiting from their shocking coaching.
The former Rockies starter has displayed excellent numbers when pitching away from Coors Field in 2017, sporting a 3.49 ERA on the road, Chatwood looks like the perfect ‘change of scenery’ candidate.
However, despite the striking road numbers, Chatwood regressed after an inspiring 2016 season. Chatwood’s biggest issued seems to be home runs, even when he was pitching away from the thin air of Colorado. On the road last year, the 27-year-old produced a depressing 17.9% home/fly ball rate.
Despite his tendency to give up home runs, Chatwood would be an excellent fit in the backend of the Cubs rotation. The biggest deter will once again be the market. He is a clear-cut reclamation project, but it’s easy to see Chatwood’s asking price outweighing his value.
The Cardinals righty is another pitcher who did well in their first season back from Tommy John surgery. Lynn posted a 3.43 ERA and tying his career high in games started with 33 last season. While not nearly as dazzling as his 2014 and 2015 seasons were, Lynn still showed he can be an effective starter last season.
The alarming numbers for Lynn last year was the clear decline in strike outs. Lynn threw 186.1 innings this season but only registered 153 strike outs. Compare that to his 2015 season, where the struck out 167 in more than 10 fewer innings.
What makes Lynn attractive is his high ceiling. Once seen as a potential top of the rotation arm, Lynn’s injuries likely keep him from ever being that again. However, teams do not need him to be an elite arm, just a reliable arm.
While the injury history may cost him a few dollars, it won’t scare teams away. As the best arm on the market not named Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish, Lynn is going to get paid. If the price is right, the Cubs would love to add Lynn, but that currently seems unlikely.