The only thing that kept the Chicago Cubs from finishing in last place in their division last year was a team that is no longer in their division, the Houston Astros. Needless to say, the 2013 Cubs will be looking to improve on their 101 loss season of 2012.
A good jumping off point for improvement will be the starting rotation, as the Cubs sported the third worst ERA in the National League in 2012 with a 4.51. Only the Colorado Rockies and the Houston Astros finished lower than the Cubs in ERA in the National League, and it should be no surprise that these three teams also had the worst records in the National League.
That shows just how important pitching is.
Theo Epstein understands the importance of pitching. During his nine year tenure with the Red Sox, his team made the playoffs six times. Over those six playoff runs, those teams never ranked worse than tenth in the American League for ERA. The two years his team won the World Series, 2004 and 2007, they were ranked third (2004) and second (2007) in the American League for ERA.
It’s no wonder why Epstein is desperately trying to add pitchers to the minor league system. As it stands now, there are no pitching prospects waiting in the minor leagues to provide the team with any relief anytime soon. Any pitching help will inevitably come via free agency or the trade market.
Regardless of where it comes from, the Cubs will be looking to add a couple of arms this winter to help bolster the starting staff. Theo Epstein has stated “if there are sound investments out there, whether they’re big or small, we’ll pursue them and try to sign them.”
With that in mind, here is a sneak peek at what the Chicago Cubs starting rotation may look like when spring training breaks in 2013.