November 9, 2017


With only 9 qualified offers still pending on the table, it is time to look at the Cubs' holes and the readily available free agents. (From MLBTR).

The Cubs want a veteran, pack up catcher for Contreras. The three they had last year are now available. Two other ex-Cubs (Castillo and Soto) are also available. Of this group, a return of Rene Rivera makes the most sense.


Alex Avila (31)
Welington Castillo (31)
A.J. Ellis (37)
Nick Hundley (34)
Chris Iannetta (35)
Jose Lobaton (33)
Jonathan Lucroy (32)
Miguel Montero (34)
Rene Rivera (34)
Carlos Ruiz (39)
Hector Sanchez (28)
Geovany Soto (35)
Chris Stewart (36)

The Cubs are stuck with several platoon outfielders. Schwarber, Almora, Heyward are going to be on the 2018 roster unless there is a trade. Happ appears to be the super-utility player and Zobrist most likely getting less playing time behind Baez at second base. So it would appear that the Cubs would need one 4th outfield candidate. Maddon favorite, Jon Jay, is available but he may want a chance to start with another team. What would be ideal would be a traditional lead off hitter. A Cain, Gomez or Maybin would be expensive signee,  pushing Almora to the bench or trade market. I would not be surprised if the Cubs signed Granderson on a one-year deal to close out his career in his hometown.

Left Fielders
Norichika Aoki (36)
Cody Asche (28)
Peter Bourjos (31)
Melky Cabrera (33)
Rajai Davis (37)
Jarrod Dyson (33)
Andre Ethier (36)
Craig Gentry (34)
Curtis Granderson (37)
Franklin Gutierrez (35)
Chris Heisey (33)
Austin Jackson (31)
Jon Jay (33)
Howie Kendrick (34)
Hyun Soo Kim (30)
Adam Lind (34)
Cameron Maybin (31)
Daniel Nava (35)
Eduardo Nunez (31)
Alex Presley (32)
Colby Rasmus (31)
Ben Revere (30)
Michael Saunders (31)
Ah-seop Son (30)
Jayson Werth (39)
Chris B. Young (34)
Eric Young Jr. (33)

Center Fielders
Peter Bourjos (31)
Lorenzo Cain (32)
Rajai Davis (37)
Jaff Decker (28)
Jarrod Dyson (33)
Pedro Florimon (31)
Carlos Gomez (32)
Austin Jackson (31)
Jon Jay (33)
Cameron Maybin (31)
Alex Presley (32)

Right Fielders
Norichika Aoki (36)
Jose Bautista (37)
Jay Bruce (31)
Melky Cabrera (33)
Craig Gentry (34)
Carlos Gonzalez (32)
Curtis Granderson (37)
Austin Jackson (31)
John Jaso (34)
Jon Jay (33)
J.D. Martinez (30)
Alex Presley (32)
Michael Saunders (31)
Seth Smith (35)
Ah-seop Son (30)
Ichiro Suzuki (44)
Jayson Werth (39)

The Cubs will have rotation issues in 2018. The team needs to replace Arrieta and Lackey, but also has to consider that Lester is older and the organization has no minor league pitching. The Cubs really need to sign three starters this off-season. The names on the radar include Darvish, Cobb, Lynn and Ross. But all those pitchers will want in excess of the qualifying offer price of $17.4 million/season. A player like Cashner now projects to convert to a closer role (which is another Cub need). The Cubs may go cheaper with some rehab/re-boot pitchers like Tillman, Locke, Peralta or Pineda.

Starting Pitchers
Brett Anderson (30)
Jake Arrieta (32)
Christian Bergman (30)
Mike Bolsinger (30)
Clay Buchholz (33)
Trevor Cahill (30)
Andrew Cashner (31)
Jhoulys Chacin (30)
Tyler Chatwood (28)
Jesse Chavez (34)
Wei-Yin Chen (32)
Alex Cobb (30)
Bartolo Colon (45)
Johnny Cueto (32)
Yu Darvish (31)
R.A. Dickey (43)
Scott Feldman (35)
Doug Fister (34)
Yovani Gallardo (32)
Jaime Garcia (31)
Matt Garza (34)
Dillon Gee (32)
Miguel Gonzalez (34)
Jeremy Hellickson (31)
Derek Holland (31)
David Holmberg (26)
Drew Hutchison (27)
Hisashi Iwakuma (37)
Ubaldo Jimenez (34)
John Lackey (39)
Francisco Liriano (34)
Jeff Locke (30)
Jordan Lyles (27)
Lance Lynn (31)
Miles Mikolas (29)
Wade Miley (31)
Ricky Nolasco (35)
Wily Peralta (29)
Michael Pineda (29)
Tyson Ross (31)
CC Sabathia (37)
Anibal Sanchez (34)
Hector Santiago (30)
Chris Smith (37)
Chris Tillman (30)
Jacob Turner (27)
Jason Vargas (35)
Hideaki Wakui (32)
Asher Wojciechowski (29)
Chris Young (39)

The Cubs will have to rebuild their bullpen with a closer and solid middle relievers. Only Edwards, Strop and Montgomery are sure bets to return to the pen. Wilson is an enigma since he failed to impress or take the 2018 closer role. Wade Davis appears to be the best closer available, but he will want a long term deal.  Jake McGee is a possibility but he has some health red flags. If you are looking at potential bounce back candidates, Rodruiguez or Gomez are possibilities. For set up men, Shaw and Watson appear to be the most durable arms on the market.
For potential closers, Morrow and Reed probably fit the Cubs budget better than Davis.
Kintzler, Clippard, Swarzak and Krol may be the under the radar bullpen guys that most teams would like to fill out their roster.

Right-Handed Relievers
Matt Albers (35)
John Axford (35)
Tony Barnette (34)
Matt Belisle (38)
Joaquin Benoit (40)
Christian Bergman (30)
Mike Bolsinger (30)
Blaine Boyer (36)
Trevor Cahill (30)
Jesse Chavez (34)
Josh Collmenter (32)
Tyler Clippard (33)
Steve Cishek (32)
Wade Davis (32)
Neftali Feliz (30)
Dillon Gee (32)
Jeanmar Gomez (30)
Luke Gregerson (34)
Jason Grilli (41)
Deolis Guerra (29)
David Hernandez (33)
Yoshihisa Hirano (34)
Greg Holland (32)
Tommy Hunter (31)
Brandon Kintzler (33)
Chris Martin (32)
Dustin McGowan (36)
Brandon Morrow (33)
Jason Motte (36)
Peter Moylan (39)
Pat Neshek (37)
Juan Nicasio (31)
Bud Norris (33)
Seung-hwan Oh (35)
Yusmeiro Petit (33)
Chad Qualls (39)
Addison Reed (29)
Fernando Rodney (41)
Francisco Rodriguez (36)
Sergio Romo (35)
Trevor Rosenthal (28)
Fernando Salas (33)
Rob Scahill (31)
Bryan Shaw (30)
Joe Smith (34)
Craig Stammen (34)
Drew Storen (30)
Huston Street (34)
Anthony Swarzak (32)
Carlos Torres (35)
Koji Uehara (43)
Tom Wilhelmsen (34)
Asher Wojciechowski (29)
Chris Young (39)

Left-Handed Relievers
Fernando Abad (32)
Craig Breslow (37)
Jorge De La Rosa (37)
Brian Duensing (35)
Zach Duke (35)
Josh Edgin (31)
David Holmberg (26)
Ian Krol (27)
Francisco Liriano (34)
Boone Logan (33)
Jake McGee (31)
Mike Minor (30)
Eric O’Flaherty (33)
Oliver Perez (36)
Glen Perkins (35)
Robbie Ross (29)
Kevin Siegrist (28)
Tony Watson (32)