(670 The Score) In what comes as no surprise, the Cubs would like to add another starting pitcher ahead of the 2018 season but are content to enter the year with the rotation as is, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said.
“We’ve brought in a lot of pitching this winter, and that was the plan,” Epstein said on the Spiegel and Parkins Show on 670 The Score on Wednesday. “We’re lucky enough to be in a pretty solid place with our position player group. We knew we were losing some pitching. You’d rather stock up on it in the winter and not have to trade prospects midseason if possible. We knew it was going to be a bit of a challenging marketplace for us, but honestly, we’re really happy with the way things have gone so far. We’d love to add another starting pitcher if it’s possible, but we feel like we certainly could break camp with what we have now. We don’t quite have the depth that we’re looking for if we do that, so we’re going to keep working on it.”
The Cubs have expressed interest in free-agent right-handers Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, but the market has largely stalled. Epstein expressed confidence in the Cubs’ rotation as is, which is comprised of left-hander Jon Lester, right-hander Kyle Hendricks, left-hander Jose Quintana, right-hander Tyler Chatwood and then as currently constructed with left-hander Mike Montgomery serving as the No. 5 starter.
Darvish and Arrieta are believed to be desiring contracts of five or more years in length, and the Cubs don’t want to commit to a starting pitcher for that long.
Epstein weighed in on why he thought the free-agent market has moved slowly.
“Each of the 30 teams is making decisions on their own for what makes sense for them, given the new collective bargaining agreement, given their place in the competitive cycle, given what they think lies ahead in the near future and future free-agent classes,” Epstein said. “I think it’s just the collision of a lot of those factors. Some years those factors are going to collide in a way that creates a feeding frenzy and contracts far exceeding expectations and players flying off the board and a lot of momentum in that direction. And perhaps these factors have just collided, the luck of the draw that all those factors collided in a way that created the opposite dynamic thus far this offseason. But it can turn around in a hurry too.”