The Chicago Cubs will have money available to spend this offseason, but the organization has already acknowledged that 2013 will likely be another rebuilding year. If this is true, then should the team spend the money to sign starting pitchers?
As a Cubs fan, I believe the team should attempt to sign a couple of starters. For one thing, we have seen what happens when the Cubs use the talent currently under control. The end of the 2012 season was not much fun to sit through, as the team continued to use starting pitchers who were not capable of competing against major league lineups.
Last season's signing of Paul Maholm worked out great for the Cubs, as the team got a quality starter at a reasonable price. A one-year guarantee with a team option for the second year made Maholm a valuable trading piece during the season. After a 9-6 start with a 3.74 ERA, Chicago was able to move Maholm for two pitching prospects. It was all part of the plan to rebuild the system.
Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times notes that the Cubs will not attempt to sign a top pitcher like Jake Peavy or Zack Greinke, but he mentions a few starters as possibilities, including Shaun Marcum. To me, it would be a great idea to bring Marcum in with a contract similar to Maholm's.
Marcum was 20-11 with a 3.60 ERA over the last two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. He is 57-36 in his career and will be 31 years old next season. With decent pitching talent available on the market, Marcum will not likely be very expensive. He is the kind of pitcher who could definitely help during a rebuilding process if the team wanted to keep him around. However, if he were to have a good first half, the team could always trade him for prospects. 2013 could bring surprises, and Chicago could compete a little more than expected. Either way, though, a pitcher like Marcum would have value on the field as a veteran pitcher, while also bringing trade value for the front office to bolster the minor league system.
Other possibilities mentioned by Wittenmyer include Anibal Sanchez and Edwin Jackson. I believe the Cubs should attempt to sign two of these players, helping the rotation for next season, and possibly leading to better prospects down the line.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.