The Cubs are expected to acquire a starting pitcher or two before the deadline. Mainly because the team does not have a fifth starter it feels comfortable with going forward. Injuries and poor performances have taken its toll on the depth the front office thought the Cubs had when pitchers and catchers reported back in February.
The Cubs have been linked to the big names such as Cole Hamels, Scott Kazmir, Jeff Samardzija and James Shields and backend of the rotation starters Dan Haren, Tom Koehler, Aaron Harang and Jon Niese. The Cubs are exploring all possibilities and reportedly called around the league to see what is available.
Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner
It is unclear if A.J. Preller will go into sell mode and admit the roster he assembled throughout the off-season, in which he was declared a genius, was unable to reach its goal. The Padres enter play Wednesday five games under .500 in fourth place in the NL West, seven games back of the Dodgers and closer to the Rockies in the standings than the second place Giants. San Diego is 5 1/2 games behind San Francisco for the second Wild Card with the Cubs, Mets and Diamondbacks ahead of them.
Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner would fit the Cubs’ plan. Adding a starting pitcher that would help the team this season and beyond. Ross has two more years of team control left before he is a free agent. And Cashner has one more year (2016) before he hits the market.
Ross is 5-7 in 16 starts this season with a 3.57 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and 2.93 FIP. Ross has struck out 105 batters with 48 walks and 91 hits allowed in 95 2/3 innings. Ross has actually been better outside of PETCO this year than in his home park. Ross is 2-3 in nine road starts with a 2.91 ERA and 1.44 WHIP (59 strikeouts, 24 walks and 56 hits allowed in 55 2/3 innings). At PETCO this year, Ross is 3-4 with a 4.50 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in seven starts.
The Padres dangled Cashner throughout the off-season. And the former Cubs’ right-hander that was sent to San Diego for Anthony Rizzo is 3-9 in 16 starts this season with a 4.22 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 3.99 FIP. Cashner, unlike Ross, has not been as effective on the road then he has been at PETCO this season. Cashner is 1-5 in seven home starts with a 4.01 ERA and 1.41 WHIP (52 strikeouts, eight walks and 52 hits in 42 2/3 innings). Outside of his home park, Cashner is 2-4 in nine starts with a 4.39 ERA and 1.43 WHIP (37 strikeouts, 21 walks and 55 hits allowed in 53 1/3 innings).
Tyson Ross brings less risk than Andrew Cashner while the former first round pick of the Cubs (2008) has the bigger arm. Ross has another full season of team control, which would fit in the Cubs’ plan better than Cashner.
Buster Olney did not mention what A.J. Preller could be looking for in return for either of his right-handed starters.
Adam Warren and Nathan Eovaldi
Adam Warren is having a solid season, his first as a full-time starter in the big leagues. Warren is 5-5 with a 3.48 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 4.08 WHIP. In 85 1/3 innings (15 games, 14 starts), Warren has allowed 36 runs, 33 earned, on 74 hits with 27 walks and 56 strikeouts.
Warren was recently moved to the bullpen and that decision had to do with C.C. Sabathia’s contract and limiting Warren’s innings. Plus, Warren was effective as a reliever last season (3-6 in 69 games with a 2.97 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 2.89 FIP in 78 2/3 innings). If the Yankees are concerned about his innings, it would not make sense for the Cubs to trade for Warren at this time due to the team’s needs.
Adam Warren is arbitration eligible for the first time in 2016 and has three years of club control left before he hits free agency.
The Cubs have been connected to Nathan Eovaldi since Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over baseball operations in the fall of 2011. Eovaldi was dealt from the Dodgers to the Marlins in the Hanley Ramirez trade. And the Yankees acquired him from Miami in the Martin Prado deal in December.
Eovaldi was 6-14 in 33 starts for the Marlins last season with a 4.37 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 3.37 FIP. And this year has not gone the way the Yankees were hoping it would for the 25-year old right hander. Eovaldi is 7-2 with a 4.81 ERA, 1.54 WHIP and 3.77 FIP in 15 starts. Eovaldi has given up 105 hits with 22 walks and 60 strikeouts in 82 1/3 innings.
Nathan Eovaldi has two years of team control left before he becomes a free agent following the 2017 season.
Buster Olney thinks acquiring either Warren or Eovaldi would cost the Cubs position players that would give the Yankees a way to “add to their stable of position players.” If the Cubs are interested in Adam Warren and/or Nathan Eovaldi only one of the two right handers would appear to fit within the Cubs’ plan.
Based on reports, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer appear to be looking for pitching. The question remains if the Cubs will be able to acquire a reliable starter without having to give up too much of the depth the front office has built in the system.