Are the Cubs one pitcher short as they play free-agent waiting game?

From ESPN - January 12, 2018

CHICAGO -- As the Chicago Cubs gather for their annual fan convention this weekend, theres a feeling theyll be one player short.

Theyre still in the mix for another starting pitcher, but the team -- and seemingly the league -- is in wait-and-see mode about dozens of still available free agents. It would be timely for the Cubs to unveil that final addition at the convention, but spring training is likely to begin with good players still on the market.

The Cubs could go to camp next month with a starting staff of Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana, Tyler Chatwood and Mike Montgomery. Its not bad but its also probably not deep enough, which is why Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish and Alex Cobb continue to hover in their airspace. However, the Cubs have been pretty clear in drawing a line in the sand when it comes to their commitment to free-agent arms this winter: They want guys on shorter-term deals. The waiting game has been perplexing for players.

I was talking to some of the top-tier guys [pitchers], Cubs new addition Steve Cishek said Thursday. Theyre a little confused, but theyre being patient, too. You have to be patient, but I think it will work out for them.

Cishek admits hes been in touch with Cobb as the two were teammates during the second half of last season in Tampa Bay.

Hes enjoying it [the free-agent process], but it's moving a little slower than we all thought, Cishek said.

Already, the Cubs have signed five free-agent pitchers to big league contracts, the second most for them since at least 1990, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Incidentally, they signed six free-agent pitchers in 2012. That came during their rebuilding phase when they simply needed bodies to fill spots. Its a reminder that this is a unique offseason for a contender like the Cubs, who have so many holes that need filling. Thats one reason the team has employed a specific strategy in its signings.

Only Chatwood's deal is for as long as three years. The feeling is if the Cubs add at least one more year to their conversations with any of Darvish, Arrieta or Cobb, they could be had. Thats also essentially why they moved on from closer Wade Davis, whom the Cubs preferred to keep on a two-year deal, according to league sources. Davis signed for three years with the Colorado Rockies.


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