The Chicago Cubs need pitching depth in their organization. The last few seasons have seen them trade away several starters, including the likes of Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster and Scott Feldman, among others. In addition, according to rumors, there is a 99 percent chance that Jeff Samardzija has thrown his last pitch for the Cubs. The Cubs need arms in return.
Whether by trade or signings, there are viable arms out there to aid in the continued rebuilding of the organization. The Cubs also have money to spend, and while they are not likely to dish out an astronomical deal to any one player, they can make a few subtle deals to build up the club.
Assuming that Samardzija is moved this winter, it will leave the Cubs with Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson, and Jake Arrieta as guys in the rotation. For as good and strong as the crop of minor league hitting talent is, the pitching depth is not quite as strong. Pierce Johnson and C.J. Edwards are likely the top two pitching prospects, but are still a year or two away from joining the big league team.
Samardzija would likely bring back a few pieces and possibly up to three prospects, which is what the Cubs are looking for. The Cubs want young players to develop and reshape the culture at Clark and Addison. It is perceived that all of this young talent will gel together, and a new wave of players will fill the 25-man roster.
There is one starting pitcher out there that could work within the Cubs’ vision, and that is free agent Jair Jurrjens. Jurrjens will be 28 in January and presumably healthy from a knee injury a few seasons ago. He had a break out year in 2011 with the Atlanta Braves, winning 13 games with an under 3.00 ERA. Spending the majority of the last two years in the minors, Jurrjens has re-worked his form and could project back toward his Atlanta ways.
He is not a power pitcher, so pitch counts will not be over the top and the Cubs could monitor his innings. The Cubs were toward the top in quality starts, and to only ask Jurrjens to put in six to seven quality innings is not out of the question. Jurrjens could also fit well in Wrigley Field, as he is not prone to the long ball. Jurrjens would likely not require big money; possibly a two-year, $3 million dollar deal could slot him into a No. 4 spot in the rotation on the North side.
Nick Schaeflein is a Chicago Cubs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.