Chicago Cubs Trade Rumors: Zack Greinke The Answer To Struggling Cubs’ Starting Rotation

Chicago Cubs trade rumors indicate the team is looking to improve its starting rotation. Zack Greinke is one name Cubs fans are familiar with and someone who could certainly strengthen the team as it tries to defend that World Series title. Would the Cubs put enough on the table to make a trade worthwhile for the Arizona Diamondbacks?

On Thursday night (May 11), Zack Greinke shut down the Pittsburgh Pirates, pitching eight strong innings where he allowed only one hit. Striking out 11 hitters, Greinke had only one mistake in the game, leading to a solo home run for the Pirates. In eight starts during the 2017 MLB season, he now has a 4-2 record with a 2.79 ERA and 1.026 WHIP. It is clear Greinke is an ace again and that he could become the perfect acquisition for a team like the Cubs.

Zack Greinke’s contract is something that might cause a number of fans to balk at these latest Chicago Cubs trade rumors. He makes $34 million this season, and that salary increases to $35 million through the 2021 MLB season. It means that after this year, he will still be owed $138.5 million for the remaining four seasons. Greinke definitely cashed in when he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks during free agency, taking full advantage of his past success with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Kansas City Royals.

In 398 career games (357 starts), Greinke has a 159-102 record, a 3.40 ERA, and a 1.187 WHIP. His best year was likely the 2015 season when he posted a 19-3 record, a 1.66 ERA, and a 0.844 WHIP with the L.A. Dodgers. He finished second in the National League Cy Young voting to Clayton Kershaw but did win his second Gold Glove Award for the defense he provides on the field.

The Chicago Cubs’ starting rotation has been suspect at best this season. Through 34 starts and a 12-10 record, the starters have a combined ERA of 4.56 and a WHIP of 1.43 on the season. Those aren’t championship numbers and it leaves a lot of room for improvement. As a team, the Cubs rank 23rd in the league in terms of just starting pitching. Only two teams allow more baserunners, and they are the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds.

Among the main culprits when it comes to struggling Chicago Cubs starting pitchers is Jake Arrieta. While he boasts a nice 4-2 record thanks to the Cubs’ offense, Arrieta has a 5.35 ERA and 1.474 WHIP this year, he also leads the league in wild pitches with six and has an ERA+ of just 77. After giving up the lowest number of hits per nine innings for two-straight years (5.9 and 6.3), Arrieta is now allowing 10.5 hits per nine innings in 2017.

It’s still very early in the season, making it too soon for fans to get really worried about a 17-17 record. What has made it difficult for Cubs fans to accept is that the St. Louis Cardinals currently hold first place in the National League Central with a 19-14 record. Entering play on Friday (May 12), the Cubs are also behind the Cincinnati Reds (19-15) and Milwaukee Brewers (18-17) in the division. Fourth place is not where most baseball experts thought the Cubs would reside this far into the regular season schedule.

There are still 128 games left for the Cubs to turn things around, but it’s never too early to start panicking about a pitching staff. It’s clear that the Cubs will need to do something to improve the staff and likely the starting rotation before the July 31 MLB trade deadline. Whether that involves Cubs president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer pulling off another blockbuster trade is a question for another day. For now, the Chicago Cubs trade rumors about acquiring Zack Greinke do make sense, though it would require giving up elite prospects to make it happen.

[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]