Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs could have an issue in the rotation for next season. Both Jake Arrieta and John Lackey are exploring the free agency market and are not expected to return for the 2018 season. If that ends up being the case, the Cubs will need to bring in two more starters via trade or free agency.
Alex Cobb is one free agent that the Cubs have been connected to since the start of the offseason, as MLB.com mentioned. There is a very good chance that he will end up signing with Chicago, although there are quite a few other teams that are pursuing him as well.
Looking ahead at the trade market, there are a few starting pitchers that could be perfect trade targets for the Cubs.
Jose Quintana was the Cubs’ big acquisition last season. He was the ace for the Chicago White Sox, and Epstein made an aggressive decision to trade for him. Epstein may not try to bring in another superstar to the rotation, although there are quite a few quality options that could be available should he choose to go that route.
All of that being said, which three starting pitchers would be ideal trade targets for the Cubs this offseason?
Matt Harvey, New York Mets
If the Cubs decide to bring in a former star who struggled in 2017, Matt Harvey could be their guy. He finished the 2017 season with a 5-7 record and a 6.70 ERA. Harvey may not be the answer for the Cubs, but he would be an intriguing target, and a change of scenery could be exactly what he needs to turn things around.
Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays
Perhaps the most ideal trade target for the Cubs this offseason would be Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman. He would add a top-notch arm to the rotation and finished the 2017 season with a 13-9 record, 3.09 ERA, and 1.21 WHIP. Toronto may not be inclined to move Stroman, but Chicago can offer a very good deal that might make them think about pulling the trigger.
Jose Urena, Miami Marlins
Finally, Jose Urena could make perfect sense for the Cubs if the Marlins would consider moving him. Miami is looking to make some moves this offseason, although Urena may not be available. He had a 14-7 record last season for the Marlins to go along with a 3.82 ERA and would be a huge addition for the Cubs both in 2018 and long-term.
Expect to see the Cubs be extremely aggressive in trade talks this offseason. Epstein is willing to move some of his MLB talent in order to bring talent in. These three pitchers would certainly be welcome additions to the rotation.