Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs are heading into what could be a major offseason of change for the franchise. After being handled by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS, the Cubs know that they are a few pieces away from getting back to another World Series. That could be where free agency comes into play.
Both Jake Arrieta and John Lackey are headed for free agency, which could leave the Cubs two open slots in their rotation. If that is the case, the Cubs will likely be very aggressive in their search for starting pitching. Epstein has mentioned that he would like to re-sign Arrieta if possible, but the Cubs will have plenty of competition on the open market for him.
Looking ahead at the free agency market, there are quite a few players who could make sense for the Cubs. There are also quite a few players who could have interest in signing with the Cubs to compete for a shot at a World Series.
Chicago may not end up spending big money, but they certainly haven’t shown a problem with doing so before. Epstein has signed high-profile free agents like Jon Lester and Jason Heyward in the past.
All of that being said, which players could be potential MLB free agency targets for the Chicago Cubs this offseason?
Jake Arrieta, Starting Pitcher
Obviously, Arrieta will be a free agency target for the Cubs this offseason. He has been a huge part of the Cubs’ resurgence and their first World Series title in 108 years. Arrieta will get big offers from other teams, but the Cubs could end up swooping in and bringing back him to Chicago.
Lance Lynn, Starting Pitcher
Another potential free agent that the Cubs could consider is Lance Lynn. He had an 11-8 record this season for the St. Louis Cardinals to go along with a 3.43 ERA. Lynn could be an ideal fit for one of the final two spots in the Cubs’ pitching rotation and might be a very affordable option as well.
Lorenzo Cain, Outfielder
If the Cubs decided to bring in another outfielder with a good bat, Lorenzo Cain might be their best option. Jon Jay is a free agent this offseason, which could leave an opening for an outfielder like Cain. Epstein could decide to stick with Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ, Albert Almora, and Jason Heyward in the outfield, but Cain would look good in the Cubs’ lineup.
Wade Davis, Closer
Re-signing Wade Davis will be a priority for the Cubs this season. He was one of the best closers in baseball and the Cubs cannot afford to lose him. Davis won’t be cheap, but there is a good chance that Chicago will be able to bring him back.
Brandon Kintzler, Relief Pitcher
Chicago could use some bullpen help, which could lead them to Brandon Kintzler. He had a good season with the Washington Nationals, recording a 3.03 ERA and 29 saves. Kintzler wouldn’t be the closer in Chicago if Davis is re-signed, but would be a huge upgrade for Joe Maddon in the pen.
Do you think the Chicago Cubs should pursue one of the five players listed above? What other names would you add to the list? Let us know your thoughts!
[Featured Image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]