Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs are heading into free agency with quite a few minor needs to fix. They were once again one of the top two teams in the National League in 2017, but were dispatched from the playoffs easily by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. Now, they are looking to make some additions that can help take them back to the top.
Jake Arrieta, John Lackey, and Wade Davis are all headed into the free agency market. At this point in time, it doesn’t appear likely that any of the three will return to the Cubs next season.
If all three players do end up leaving town, that will leave the Cubs with some bigger holes to fill. Arrieta was one of the Cubs’ best starting pitchers over the past three years and Chicago would need to add another rotation arm or two to fill the hole that he leaves. Davis was one of the best closers in baseball and the Cubs’ would miss him in a big way.
Looking at the free agency period, there are quite a few big names that the Cubs could consider targeting. There are also quite a few players that would fill a specific role for the Cubs, but are very underrated names.
All of that being said, which underrated free agents could the Cubs consider pursuing this offseason?
Brandon Kintzler, Relief Pitcher
First up on the list is Brandon Kintzler, who was a big piece of the Washington Nationals’ bullpen at the end of last season. He ended the season with a 3.03 ERA as ESPN noted and would be a great addition to the Cubs’ bullpen. Chicago’s bullpen struggled last season and Kintzler could add quite a bit for them.
Bryan Shaw, Relief Pitcher
Sticking with relief pitching, Bryan Shaw could be another solid addition for the Cubs. Shaw finished the 2017 season with a 3.52 ERA and was a big piece of the Cleveland Indians’ bullpen. He likely won’t cost a fortune to sign and might be a perfect target for Epstein and the Cubs.
Jon Jay, Outfielder
Jon Jay was a huge piece for the Cubs’ offense last season and should be re-signed if possible. He provided excellent leadership and was an underrated leadoff hitter. Chicago will likely make Albert Almora Jr. a starter next season, but Jay would still be an excellent depth piece.
Jaime Garcia, Starting Pitcher
Obviously, Jaime Garcia would not be an ideal pickup to most Cubs’ fans, but he could be a nice addition as the No. 5 arm in the rotation. Garcia finished the 2017 season with a 5-10 record and a 4.41 ERA. He wouldn’t cost much and could end up being a decent pickup for the price.
[Featured Image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]