The pitching market is really picking up as the December 1 CBA deadline approaches, with several potential Cubs targets coming off the board in a hurry. The Giants are leading the charge in that regard, agreeing to a deal to bring back righty Anthony DeSclafani and reportedly getting close to keeping lefty Alex Wood for two more years. That would seem to take them out of the running for Kevin Gausman, who parlayed a qualifying offer last season into what will surely be one of the bigger contracts for a pitcher this winter.
While the Cubs could be after Gausman, they are “definitely in on” lefty Steven Matz. That confirmation came from 670 The Score’s Bruce Levine after Jon Heyman initially mentioned the Cubs among a group of interested parties that Red Sox, Blue Jays, Tigers, Cardinals, Giants, Angels, and Mets.
Cubs definitely in on LHP Steven Matz.Fits type Cubs have identified ,power arms with experience. First report @JonHeyman with Cubs being one of several in the mix.Many players lining up for deals before possible lockout interruption.
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) November 23, 2021
MLB.com Mets beat writer Anthony DiComo tweeted that Steve Cohen’s team does have an offer to bring Matz back to Queens, but the competition is stiff because Matz has reportedly received eight offers already. If my counting is accurate, that could mean every team Heyman named has done more than just kick the tires. There could very well be other offers out there as well.
The Mets have made an offer to bring free agent pitcher Steven Matz back home to Queens, according to a source. Talks picked up significantly after Billy Eppler finalized his deal as GM last week, but lots of competition remains. Matz has already received eight different offers.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) November 23, 2021
It’s easy to see why so many teams would be interested in a 30-year-old southpaw sinkerballer with mid-90s velocity, especially if they feel like some tweaks to his breaking stuff could further elevate his game. Matz had a rough final season with the Mets in 2020 but has pitched well in each of his full campaigns and rebuilt his value with a year in Toronto.
There are still plenty of available pitchers if the Cubs don’t land Matz, with Jon Gray and Carlos Rodón standing out as the two mentioned most often. Well, at least among the more realistic targets. Gausman and Marcus Stroman are obviously among the most speculated-about names, though both are swimming in deeper financial waters than the others mentioned here. With less than 10 days to go before baseball inevitably shuts down for a while, expect to see this run on pitchers continue.
I predict the Cubs will come away with at least one addition to the rotation before you’re done hating yourself for how much you ate at Thanksgiving dinner. Jed Hoyer has talked a lot about spending intelligently, something many will no doubt point out in response to this or other reports, but that doesn’t necessarily mean waiting out the market for a good deal. It’s pretty intelligent to nab a guy you really like rather than sitting back until all names have come off your board. That’s why the whole being “nimble” thing is important.