By the time their 2012 campaign came to an end, the starting rotation for the Chicago Cubs was basically in shambles. There’s no way to sugar coat what a disaster it was. It will definitely be a focal point for this team heading into the winter.
As of right now, there are only two true locks to be featured in this rotation: Jeff Samardzija and Matt Garza. Travis Wood also probably has a spot on lock, meaning the Cubs will have to scour the free agent market or attempt to trade for a bounce back candidate to put at the back end of that rotation.
One player out on the free agent market who would make perfect sense for this team is Shaun Marcum, who has been pitching with the division rival Milwaukee Brewers for the past two seasons.
Marcum’s transition from the American League to the National League has been a pretty impressive one. He struggled with his health last season, but still went out and posted an ERA under four, while striking out about eight hitters per nine. His ERA may have been even better if it weren’t for his struggles down the stretch.
But nonetheless, Marcum is one of the few decent options out on the market and could very well be a target for this Cubs club. He’d be a terrific fit in more than one way.
Marcum isn’t going to cost a ton of money. He’s coming off a year in which he struggled with his health, and then had a poor final month. Among the quality arms out on the free agent market, he should be one of the cheaper options. He’ll also likely agree to a shorter term deal, in the one or two year range. Which is exactly what the Cubs are looking for.
If he comes in a performs at a high level, the Cubs could get a decent haul for him. He’s still only 30 and has proven to be a very successful pitcher over the past few seasons. If the Cubs are able to sign him, they’ll have to beat out other clubs to do so, and could then end up spinning him off to one of them at the trade deadline.
Should the Cubs be able to sign a guy like Shaun Marcum, he’s instantly a second or third arm in their rotation. He’d be a good addition simply because of the fact that he’s a quality starting pitcher and that’s something that the Cubs are lacking all over their organization right now.
But we know the Cubs are looking at guys on more than one front, and are looking for more than just performance. They want someone who they can bring in and will have a high trade value during the summer months. Based off of that, Marcum would be an ideal signing for the Cubs this winter.