Cubs linked to two veteran starting pitchers
Syndergaard used to be one of the game's top pitchers (Dan Hamilton - USA Today Sports)

Cubs linked to two veteran starting pitchers

by - Senior Writer -

Now that the Superbowl is over and the second half of the NBA and NHL are in the second half of their season, it's time for baseball to take center stage as spring training begins this week. What starts as the pitchers and catchers reporting this week will turn into full squad workouts, and then by the end of next week, you can say baseball is officially back.

When it comes to the Cubs, all eyes remain on them as they remain the favorite for Cody Bellinger, but they have also been linked to Matt Chapman and Jordan Montgomery. Many feel this team still has one big move left in them, but when that move comes is the big question, as they would love for it to happen before spring gets underway.

Along with the projected big move that the Cubs are expected to make, you also have the possibility of this team making another move to the rotation as they continue to kick the tires on potential back of the rotation arms. These would be more of a short-term signing to fill the back end this season in case Jordan Wicks and others don't pan out and would be viewed as low-risk, high-reward pickups.

While plenty of options are on the market, the Cubs have been linked to Michael Lorenzen and Noah Syndergaard as potential rotation fillers this season.

Both have had success not only last season, but in their career and would brought in as a veteran arm capable of anchoring the back of the rotation as an innings eater. The Cubs aren't alone, as reports from Jon Morosi have indicated that the Cubs, Pirates, Rays, Twins, and Padres are all in both right-handers for their services.

When it comes to Lorenzen, the Cubs are very familiar with him as a pitcher, spending most of his career in Cincinnati as a middle-reliever. The now 32-year-old always wanted to be a starter, but it wasn't until the past two seasons that he finally showed what he could do in a starter's role.

Across his first seven seasons, Lorenzen started 30 games, with 21 as a rookie. During that time, he posted a 23-23 record which is better than most people thought it would be, while having a 4.53 ERA. His command was an issue at times, but for the most part, he showed he could start when called upon. Then came the past two seasons, where Lorenzen got back into the rotation and became a reliable starter you could count on every five days.

In 2022, Lorenzen made 18 starts, going 8-6 with a respectable 4.24 ERA, but those numbers were even better in 2023. Lorenzen combined for 25 starts between Detroit and Philadelphia, going 9-9 with a 4.18 ERA. However, his run at Philadelphia stood out the most, going 4-2 with a no-hitter. Unfortunately for him, his ERA was 5.51 with the Phillies compared to 3.58 with Detroit.

Adding a guy like him would require a major league deal for one or two years. However, if you make that deal, you are getting a guy who can throw in the mid-90s and has continued to grow as a starter and could give you the innings a lot of the back-of-the-rotation arms can't give you.

When it comes to Syndergaard, this is where things get interesting, as you could get him on a Minor League deal to give him a chance to earn his spot. There was a time when this was the most intimidating starter in all of baseball, and the Cubs found that out firsthand in 2015 during the NLCS. He was armed with a 99MPH heater and one of the best slider change-up combinations with ACE written all over him.

He maintained that dominance for several years until the arm and shoulder injuries started to pile up and has now become a thing of the past. At 31 years old and several arm surgeries later, the best days of Syndergaard are well behind him, but just getting him in your camp could be a plus.

He is now someone who sits in the 93-96 MPH range. His high-velocity days are a thing of the past. He still has the change-up slider combination that worked so well for him with the Mets, but neither of those pitchers is what they once were, leading to his less-than-dominant stuff. That is hard to believe when this guy averaged close to 12 wins per season with the Mets while posting a 3.41 ERA and better than nine strikeouts per nine.

Since his Mets days, Syndergaard has tried to be a reliable starter, but he hasn't reached the level he has hoped for. Across 220 innings the past two seasons, Syndergaard has won 10 games but has also lost 16, including a 2-5 2023 season. He has also had an ERA north of 5.00 over the past two seasons, but most of that stems from his 6.54 ERA last year after posting an ERA in the 3.9 range in 2022.

While his walk numbers remain close to his career average of less than two walks per nine innings, he has also been averaging fewer than six punchouts for nine innings the past two seasons, as he can no longer blow you away. Adding him would come cheap and could be done on a minor league deal should the Cubs want to add more depth for the spring.

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