Chicago Cubs: Top Free Agent SP Targets

Cubs News & Notes

The Chicago Cubs are rumored to be ready to invest money and assets into improving the upcoming season’s roster. The roster that was second in the National League Central division finishing the year nine games back of the Milwaukee Brewers with an 83-79 record. The team is set to lose Marcus Stroman in free agency and has some serious question marks in the rotation after Justin Steele, who was fantastic last season, was going 16-5 with a 3.06 era and a 1.17 WHIP while striking out 176 batters in 30 starts. As it looks today, Jameson Taillon, Kyle Hendricks, Jordan Wicks, and Javier Assad. Both Ben Brown and Caleb Kilian show promise, but both might need more time in the minors before stepping into a full-time role.

Below are my top options in free agency, not Shohei Ohtani or Yoshinobu Yamamoto, to solidify the starting rotation before the Pitchers and Catcher report in a few months.

Blake Snell

Left-handed pitcher who finished the year for the San Diego Padres last year with a 14-9 record over 32 starts. He had an outstanding 2.25 ERA over the 180 innings he pitched last season, striking out 234 batters while walking 99, finishing with a 1.189 WHIP. Snell has sported a higher than 30.9 strike-out rate every season since 2018. The two-time CY Young award winner is coming off a great year winning the 2023 National League. The CY Young winner would be a nice addition to the Cubs Pitching staff. Pairing him with Justin Steele would give them a solid one-two punch at the top of the rotation.

Jordan Montgomery

Another southpaw who could slide in and provide some stability to the Cubs rotation in the 2024 season. Jordan split last season between The St. Louis Cardinals and The World Series Champion Texas Rangers. He went 10-11 over 32 starts with a 3.20 ERA. Montgomery threw a similar number of innings as Snell of 188 but only struck out 166 batters while walking 48. The power numbers could be better than Snell’s, with a strikeout rate of 21.4 last season and his career high being 26.3 back in 2019 with the New York Yankees. While he has shown better control in his career than Snell has recently, he needs the Strike-out numbers. He is definitely more of the pitch-to-contact style pitcher. Kyle Hendricks with a strike-out or two more, a game upside when watching him.

Lucas Giolito

Giolito isn’t my favorite, but he is the best right-hand starting pitcher left in Free Agency. The former Chicago White Sox has struggled of late and was traded last season to the Anaheim Angels and later let go and picked up by former division rival Cleveland Guardians at the deadline last season. Giolito Started 33 games combined last season for the three different teams, finishing with an 8-15 record. With the following stat line: 4.88 ERA, 184.1 innings pitched, 204 SO, 73 walks (9 Hit Batters), 1.313 WHIP, and a 25.7 Strikeout rate. On the surface, the numbers besides the ERA aren’t awful; the primary issue last season for Giolito was keeping the ball in the ballpark; he served up 41dingers last year, which is 14 more than his previous season high of 27 in 2021 and 2018. For comparison, Snell allowed 15 home runs while Montgomery gave up 18 in 2023. So, if Giolito can find a way to keep the ball in play, he can improve on last year’s ERA and help as a backend starter for the Cubs next year.

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