11/8 Pitching, pitching, pitching

Now that the Cubs have a manager in place, the next step is to stock the roster, and Theo Epstein said they are in the market for more pitching. Next week, Epstein will have face to face talks with representatives for free agents and start possible trade talks at the GM meetings. The Cubs have traded 40 percent of their starting rotation the last two seasons but Epstein said they are not looking for free agents who they can sign and then flip at the Trade Deadline.

“Every starting pitcher we acquire is someone we hope is starting Game One of the World Series for us,” Epstein said.

Last offseason, the Cubs courted free agents Anibal Sanchez and Edwin Jackson. Sanchez signed with the Tigers and went 14-8 with a 2.57 ERA in 29 starts, while Jackson agreed to a four-year, $52 million deal with the Cubs and finished 8-18 with a 4.98 ERA in 31 starts.

“We believe there’s a lot better ahead for Edwin Jackson,” Epstein said of the right-hander, who led the Majors in losses. “He stayed healthy for the entire season, he’s still only 30 years old, and his underlying performance was better than the stat line that you read on the scoreboard and he never quit. He’s certainly somebody who can impact us and fill a rotation spot going forward.”

Jackson will join Travis Wood, Jeff Samardzija, and Jake Arrieta in the Cubs’ 2014 rotation, but Epstein would like to add another starter. The Cubs will talk to Scott Baker, who spent the year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and now is a free agent, but the right-hander also is exploring other options.

The Cubs also are in the market for a closer. After Carlos Marmol struggled and was then traded, and Kyuji Fujikawa was injured, Kevin Gregg stepped in and totaled 30 saves for the third time in his career. He’s now a free agent and shopping around.

“We have guys who could close,” Epstein said of the Cubs’ in-house options, “but I think that’s an opportunity for us. If you go to market with the closer’s role ready to bestow on somebody, that can help you sign a pretty good pitcher and can help your club. … We’re going to hit the market with a full closing opportunity to offer to the right pitcher we acquire, either through free agency or a trade, and know we have some interesting options in house.”

One of the players currently on the roster who could close is right-hander Pedro Strop, acquired from the Orioles in the Scott Feldman deal.

– Carrie Muskat

13 Comments

Josh Johnson I have been saying would be a good one to have. get him around for $7 million a year…………..maybe Dan Haren……………..Mujica….Benoit…..Hanrahan for closers….

I truly believe the biggest issue the cubs had last year was a go to guy in the pen. Strop is a great piece, but if we could acquire benoit along with alrodys vizcaino coming back healthy and daniel bard as a strong lefty, the cubs could actually have a solid pen with several options at closer. We lost most of our games in the seventh inning on. That could be a completely different story in 2014

I totally agree, we need a “go to guy” in the pen, we also need enough patience to find out what we have in house now, and identify what’s available through trades during spring training. Until these two tasks are done, all we can do is sit around and talk about “IF’s”. If this guy is healthy, if this guy is available, IF, IF, IF. And I also realize that if we don’t do this “if stuff” it’s going to be a long, long, quiet winter.
Based on that premise, I expect to read a lot of comments from both smart and from ignorant Cubs fans. These are what some refer to as “Fire-side chats”. President Roosevelt used them to communicate with the American people back in the 40′s, and I expect Rick and Theo to use this forum to float ideas to see the reaction they get. Just my opinion.

Bard is a right hander, Nathan.

Scott Baker better resign on the cheap. That guy got a ton of money from the Cubs just to sit on his butt for a year.

Who cares about the offense that was god awful last year.

Theo did discuss the offense, but I was saving that for another story. And I don’t expect Baker to return

Right now the Cubs have a long list of names that are being talked about as pitchers. If the season were to start today, we’ve got a starting rotation of Woods, Samardzija, Jackson and Arrieta. Then there’s Baker, Gregg and Strop to build a bullpen around. Compared to the past few years, it doesn’t look all that bad. But fortunately, the season doesn’t start today, and Rick and his team of coaches have several months of moving, polishing and replacing people where in their view those thing need to happen. I’m looking forward with hope in my heart that with the new management staff, we’re looking at a winning team. Just think, 90-72. It looks good to me, even if it’s only in my mind, that’s what winter is all about. But,
There’s no such thing as too much pitching, but we still need to field all 9 positions every day, so lets all pray this winter, that Barney and Castro and Rizzo return to what we consider to be acceptable numbers and that Lake keeps up his batting eye, now that’s something we could all be pleased with..

If Theo is serious about the Cubs needing to improve Pitching, Pitching, Pitching, then jump in to the Tanka bidding. Don’t let this guy go to the Dodgers or the Yankees.

His price would put handcuffs on any other potential acquisitions the Cubs may be looking at. In other words, we can’t afford him.

Wrong…. The contract will be reasonable… The bid will be huge but who cares it’s time to invest some money in mlb talent…. We got plenty of prospects built up and lots of payroll room… Time to spend some of that dough

Make that name Masahiro Tanaka, outbid La-la land and Naw Yawk.

We need a “Wacha” ! :)

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