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BCB After Dark: Checking out the pitching market

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks which type of free-agent pitcher the Cubs will pursue this winter

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Championship Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Six Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the swingingest club for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. We’re happy to be open again after an unexpected closing last night. We’ll try to make it up to you in the future. Come on in and grab a table. Your name is on the guest list. The show will start shortly. Bring your own beverage.

BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.

Congratulations to the Texas Rangers, who won their first World Series title in their 63-year history with a 5-0 win in Game 5 over the Arizona Diamondbacks. That history dates back to their origin as the second Washington Senators team and their move to Texas in 1972. They were the better team coming in and the better team in the Series. It’s Bruce Bochy’s fourth World Series title as a manager, which ties him for fourth place all-time with Walter Alston and Joe Torre. Casey Stengel and Joe McCarthy each had seven titles while Connie Mack had five. But Bochy won his four titles with two different teams whereas all those other managers were in charge of either the Yankees, Dodgers or Athletics dynasties. (Although Mack’s was actually two separate A’s dynasties with a really bleak period in-between. The only reason he wasn’t fired was because he owned the team.)

The Rangers also went an unbelievable 11-0 on the road in the playoffs this year. That’s a record.

That third-time-through-the-order curse really came back to haunt Zac Gallen tonight. On the other hand, the bunting and going 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position from Arizona was what really came back to haunt the Snakes.

Last time, I asked you if Cody Bellinger would play for the Cubs in 2024. Most of you think Bellinger will be heading somewhere else this winter, as only 30 percent of you feel that Bellinger will be back in Cubs pinstripes next year.

I feel like I owe you an explanation for yesterday and for tonight’s After Dark, which will be somewhat abbreviated. Without getting to deep into the gory details, I woke up yesterday and something was terribly wrong with my mouth/throat. I managed to get to my primary care doctor late in the afternoon and he took one look at my mouth and told me to immediately go to the emergency room. So I spent over 6 hours in medical facilities last night and did not have time to write an After Dark. (Thank god I just got a new iPhone that had enough battery life to get me through it.)

The good news is that after running a bunch of tests, the ER people did not find anything seriously wrong with me. So I either had a major allergic reaction or a really bad infection. They gave me medication for both.

Today I’m a bit better, but I spent most of the day sleeping. I had planned to write a movie essay tonight, but I just don’t have the energy. So I’ll do that next week and then we’ll get started on the BCB Winter Western Classic. I’m still working on that as well. I was glad to see some of the films that will be in the tournament showed up on the Criterion Channel’s November additions today.

So here’s a break for the jazz. You’re free to skip ahead if you want. You won’t hurt my feelings.

Tonight I’ve got a concert with Robert Glasper and Bilal from 2017. Glasper is a jazz musician who really believes in the unity of all “Black” music forms—jazz, R&B, hip-hop, soul, gospel—and incorporates all of that into his work. (Glasper has won five Grammys—none for jazz. Four were for R&B and one was a movie soundtrack—although that was for Miles Ahead, the Miles Davis biopic.) So if you aren’t a big jazz fan but like some of those other genres, you might want to check Glasper out and see if you like his work. His three Black Radio albums are a good place to start. So is this video.

Welcome back to all those who skip the tunes.

We are now officially in the off-season, so I guess it’s time to start discussing the Hot Stove and what exactly the Cubs are going to do this winter. We’ve actually already got a head start on that, but we’ll keep coming back to it again and again until Spring Training comes around. I hope we’ll be able to vote on some different Cubs-related topics if I can think of some of them. Or if you can suggest some of them.

Tonight I’m going to ask you if the Cubs are going to add a free-agent starting pitcher this off-season. Going into next season, the Cubs have, for sure, a rotation of Justin Steele and Jameson Taillon. You’d think that with only two clear starters they would have to add another one, but Marcus Stroman could exercise his option year and there is a lot of talk about bringing Kyle Hendricks back for another season. Drew Smyly will definitely opt-in for next season, but the Cubs had mostly been using him in relief at the end of last year. He could start or relieve next year, but my money is on relieving.

Finally, there is Jordan Wicks, who looked good at the end of the year and Javier Assad, who both started and relieved. On top of that, Cade Horton, generally considered to be the second-best pitching prospect in the minors behind the Pirates’ Paul Skenes, will likely be coming to Chicago sometime soon. Maybe even in 2024.

Still, there are a lot of question marks in that rotation there, with only Steele and Taillon as sure things. And with pitching injuries, there are actually no such thing as a sure thing among pitchers.

The Athletic’s Tim Britton had a list of free agent pitchers and how much they will likely get on the market. (sub. req.) Tonight I’m asking you if the Cubs will sign any of them.

I’m breaking the vote in three. Will the Cubs sign a “major” free agent starting pitcher, a “minor” one or a “budget” one. I’m defining “major” as anyone who Britton projects will get more than $50 million and “minor” as the starters projected to get less than that but more than $20 million. The “budget” ones are everyone else.

For those of you who don’t subscribe, here are the “Major” free agents with their estimated contracts:

Yoshinobu Yamamoto: 7 years, $203 million (Plus $32 million posting)

Aaron Nola: 6 years, $180 million.

Blake Snell: 5 years, $135 million

Jordan Montgomery: 5 years, $105 million

Eduardo Rodriguez: 5 years, $80 million

Sonny Gray: 3 years, $72 million

Lucas Giolito: 4 years, $70 million

Shōta Imanaga: 4 years, $52 million (Plus about $9 million posting)

The free agent starting pitchers projected to get a contract under $50 million but more than $20 million are Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Tyler Mahle, Frankie Montas, Seth Lugo, Robert Stephenson, and Mike Clevinger.

Then there are some more budget-basement starters listed that are projected for one-year deals. There’s Clayton Kershaw, but we know he’s either retiring or re-signing with the Dodgers. These pitchers are Lance Lynn, Kenta Maeda, Hyun Jin Ryu, Andrew Heaney, Kyle Gibson and Michael Lorenzen.

Of course, the Cubs could also use some of that prospect depth to trade for a starting pitcher, which would eliminate some of the need for a free agent signing.

So from which bin will the Cubs be shopping? Will it be Tiffany’s, Macy’s or the Dollar Store? If you think the Cubs will sign more than one free agent starter. vote for the highest level.

And if you could say which starters you think the Cubs will be targeting in the comments, that would be great. Or which ones you would sign. I may use your comments for more questions about your thoughts of signing of individual pitchers later on in the winter.


What kind of free agent pitcher will the Cubs sign this winter?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    "Major" (over $50 million)
    (100 votes)
  • 34%
    "Minor" ($20 to $50 million)
    (99 votes)
  • 17%
    "Budget" (under $20 million)
    (51 votes)
  • 13%
    None (trades or riding with what they’ve got)
    (38 votes)
288 votes total Vote Now

Thank you all for stopping in this evening and your patience with us. If you checked anything, let us get that for you now. Recycle any cans and bottles you may have brought. Get home safely. Tell your friends about us. Tip your waitstaff. And join us again next week for more BCB After Dark.