The Chicago Cubs finished 74-88 during the 2022 MLB season in what was tabbed as a rebuilding year. That's not too shabby. Young players like Christopher Morel and Keegan Thompson emerged as future studs, which means the next step for the front office is finding players to shine alongside them.
One way to do that is through the free agent market. This year's batch of players looking for a new home is filled with talent on the mound, at the plate and in the field. There's a clear opportunity to upgrade some weak spots, so here's a look at three players the Cubs need to sign in free agency.
Chicago Cubs Free Agency
1. Taijuan Walker, SP
The Cubs head into next season with Thompson, Marcus Stroman and Kyle Hendricks set to lead the starting rotation. Adding a reliable arm like Taijuan Walker would give Chicago some much-needed depth. Walker finished the 2022 season with a 12-5 record, 3.49 ERA and 1.20 WHIP across 29 starts (157.1 innings). More importantly, the 30-year-old posted a ground-ball percentage of 45.9%. It is vital for the Cubs to sign a pitcher capable of keeping the ball out of the air as Wrigley Field is known as one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in the country. It's worth noting Walker's expected market value checks in just under $14 million AAV, so it also wouldn't break the bank to bring him in.
2. Joc Pederson, OF/DH
Chicago rosters six players that smacked double-digit home runs this past season. Five of those six players bat right-handed, which makes the idea of adding a powerful left-handed bat in free agency a smart move. Joc Pederson has experience launching the baseball at Wrigley given he spent the first half of the 2021 season with the Cubs before being traded to Atlanta. He also earned the second All-Star bid of his career by slashing .274/.353/.521 with 23 home runs and 70 RBI in San Francisco this past summer. At 30 years of age, Pederson is someone that can immediately help the team and looks poised to sign another short-term deal.
3. Rafael Montero, RP
The Cubs finished the 2022 season with the 10th-worst bullpen ERA in the majors. Veteran closer David Robertson was traded at the August deadline, leaving Chicago to end games down the stretch with players like Rowan Wick and Brandon Hughes. Signing a dependable arm to keep the team in close games will be vital if the Cubs want a chance to compete in the NL Central. Rafael Montero logged a 2.37 ERA and 1.02 WHIP across 71 appearances in 2022 (68.1 innings). He allowed just 3 home runs on the season and racked up 14 saves during Ryan Pressly's stints on the injured list. With a deep arsenal of pitches that make him a nightmare for both left-handed and right-handed batters to face, Montero would be a great signing.
Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.