Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs have been relatively quiet so far this offseason. After failing to win the NL Central division and losing in the National League Wild Card, the Cubs were expected to be busy during MLB free agency. While that hasn’t been the case yet, that doesn’t mean that it won’t end up being the case.
Chicago has become one of the teams expected to compete for a World Series appearance each and every year. Unfortunately, last season showed quite a few holes that the team will have to fill in order to remain in championship contention.
One free agent that the Cubs have already signed is utility player Daniel Descalso. Chicago got him on a very team-friendly contract and he will have a very similar role to what Ben Zobrist has had. No team can have too many players capable of playing any position that they are needed to play.
Joe Maddon will need the front office to make a few more moves this offseason. There were issues in the bullpen at times last season and there were also offensive consistency problems. Epstein will have to get creative to plug those holes, but there are players that could be ideal fits.
All of that being said, here are three players that the Cubs should try to sign in MLB free agency.
3. Adam Ottavino, Relief Pitcher
Starting with a player who would beef up the Cubs’ bullpen, Adam Ottavino would be a nice fit. The 33-year-old right-handed reliever could be exactly the kind of dependable arm that Maddon needed last season.
During the 2017 MLB season with the Colorado Rockies, Ottavino ended up pitching in 77.2 innings and came away with a 6-4 record and a 2.43 ERA. He was the definition of consistent for the Rockies. That is exactly the kind of relief arm that the Cubs did not have last season.
Chicago would have to bid against other teams for the services of Ottavino, but he could be a perfect fit to fill a major need. Ottavino may not be a big name in baseball, but he is a very consistent pitcher that the team who signs him will be very happy to have.
2. Troy Tulowitzki, Shortstop/Second Base
If the Cubs want to bolster their infield depth, especially with Addison Russell going through even more drama, Troy Tulowitzki could be their guy. After being released by the Toronto Blue Jays, Tulowitzki could be the ideal fit for the Cubs to bring more production to their lineup.
Due to the injury concerns that come with him, the Cubs could likely get him on a discounted contract. Back in the 2017 MLB season in 66 games with the Blue Jays, Tulowitzki batted .249 to go along with seven home runs and 26 RBI’s. The numbers don’t look impressive now, but Tulowitzki has a track record of being a very good producer at the plate.
Obviously, the Cubs would only consider him if the price was right. Tulowitzki may no longer be one of the top infielders in the game, but the Cubs could use some infield depth and he might be the right guy for the job.
1. Zach Britton, Relief Pitcher
Finally, the top free agent that the Cubs need to prioritize this offseason is Zach Britton. They had been rumored to be interested in trading for him when he was with the Baltimore Orioles over the last couple of years, but that didn’t end up happening. In fact, the Orioles traded him to the New York Yankees last season.
Last season split between the Yankees and Orioles, Britton ended up pitching in 40.2 innings. He recorded a 3.10 ERA in those innings and had a 2-0 record with seven saves.
Chicago needs more consistent bullpen pitching and Britton is a more than capable inning eater out of the pen. He isn’t going to come cheap and a lot of teams want him, but the Cubs can offer him a solid contract and the chance to compete for a World Series.
Maddon would be ecstatic to have a left-handed arm like Britton to utilize in 2019.