You’ll be hard pressed to find the name of a starting pitcher that isn’t linked to the Chicago Cubs at some point this winter. With only two, possibly three, spots locked down in the rotation, the Cubs are looking hard for some hurlers out on the free agent and trade markets this winter.
While the expectation is that they will look mainly at guys who will sign short-term deals and become trade fodder by July, there’s the potential for those who could actually become a mainstay in this rotation for the future. A name that could possibly fit the bill there is Jair Jurrjens.
Jurrjens is an intriguing name out on the market this winter. He’s seen some extraordinary highs, and some very deep lows. Fortunately for the Cubs, 2012 was of the latter variety for Jurrjens. His health was an issue, as was his performance, and he’s the perfect buy-low candidate heading into the off-season.
His 6.89 ERA was easily the worst of his career last season. But Jurrjens did pitch better down the stretch, though he likely won’t fit in with the deep rotation that the Atlanta Braves will carry into 2013. He’s reportedly drawing trade interest, but is also a non-tender candidate. Both work out well for the Cubs.
The fact that Jurrjens falls into both categories means that his price tag won’t be high. Coming off a year as poor as he had in 2012, you’d expect the cost of acquiring him to be relatively low anyway. But as a non-tender candidate, teams aren’t going to throw big pieces in for a guy who could end up on the free agent market at any time, saving them the prospects.
It remains to be seen if the Cubs are actually in on Jurrjens, as a few teams have reportedly inquired on him. But they absolutely should make a run at him. He’s shown that he has the stuff to be an elite pitcher in the game, though you might not know it by his disastrous 2012.
He’s still only 26, and he’ll be 27 by the time the regular season rolls around. This is a guy that is worth taking a chance on, and it could pay off in a big way. With the Cubs not looking to spend a lot, but still acquire some actual talent, here’s one pitcher they absolutely need to make a run at.