The Chicago Cubs finally lost out on Masahiro Tanaka. While not signing the star right-hander can easily be considered a huge loss for the franchise, the front office needs to regroup to finish rounding out the rotation before the start of the season.
With several high-profile free agents still available – like Ubaldo Jimenez or Erwin Santana – the Cubs could still find an arm to anchor the rotation, but it’s clear that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer don’t see it that way. They seem to be leaning towards taking a gamble on a low-risk, high-reward starter, and there are several players that could fit that mold with ease.
Paul Maholm – who already played with the Cubs in 2012 and was quite successful – and Jason Hammel are some of the names out there, but Chicago would be wise to take a gamble on a pitcher that has plenty of experience in the NL Central: Bronson Arroyo.
The 36-year-old right-hander is a seasoned veteran who has already pitched with both the Cincinnati Reds during the last seven years and also pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the early 2000s. He’s more of a finesse pitcher who relies on changing speeds instead of overpowering hitters, and his arrival would be great for a clubhouse that needs some veteran leadership.
The downside of a possible deal is that Arroyo is reportedly looking for a three-year deal while Chicago could offer between one and two since they aren’t ready to make a huge commitment with a player that is close to being 40-years-old. Nonetheless, he could be a great addition since he has a proven track record and his arrival would instantly improve the starting rotation.