With their convention coming up at the end of this week and spring training a meager 34 days away, the Chicago Cubs are still looking for ways to improve their squad in 2017. One specific way on the current radar is adding another starting pitcher.
Tyson Ross, 29, is one such pitcher on the minds of the north-side brass. A relatively good pitcher, he’s had the occasional struggles. Ross has been a regular starter since 2012 and was expected to give the San Diego Padres an ace-like contribution in 2016 until his season ended abruptly, suffering from a shoulder injury and eventual surgery to address symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome.
The Padres non-tendered Ross in early December, opening the door for other teams willing to take a risk. Ross is seeking $9-11 million, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of what arbitration would have brought him had he gone through the process with the Padres. Besides the Cubs, both the Washington Nationals and Texas Rangers are also interested in Ross’ services.
There are more options out there for teams, but the options for players seem to be dwindling as many have already solidified their rotations. Two such players that would benefit the team are former Cubs Travis Wood and Jason Hammel.
Although both are looking for substantially more money than they may be offered this close to the season, when it comes down to it, some work is better than no work. Not to mention there could be substantial pitching time being offered as rumors of the Cubs looking at a six-man rotation flutter about.
Not major contributors in the playoffs or World Series, both Hammel and Wood did play big roles in the Cubs’ 2016 regular season. Hammel has a higher WAR (12.9 in 11 seasons) than both Ross (5.8 in seven seasons) and Wood (6.3 in seven seasons). Yes, Hammel has four more years under his belt, but at the same seven-year mark he owned a WAR of 7.0.
If the Cubs lose out on the “Ross lottery,” look for them to possibly sign a familiar face by the time they report for spring training on February 14.