After signing four pitchers in the past nine days, the Cubs have eyes on landing a bigger catch: free-agent right-hander Yu Darvish. The Cubs are showing interest in Darvish, a source said.
The Cubs were looking intently at free-agent right-hander Alex Cobb a week ago. It's unclear how that may play out, though. The price and length of the contract that Cobb was seeking an the Winter Meetings was prohibitive in the Cubs' mind, a source said recently.
As things stand, the Cubs have Chatwood penciled into the rotation alongside Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and Jose Quintana. Mike Montgomery is their top internal fifth-stater candidate, though he is so value to the team in a swingman role that they may be hesitant to make him a full-time rotation member.
Darvish, 31, has drawn interest from several clubs this winter, including the Dodgers and Twins. He went 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA (118 ERA+) and 209 strikeouts in 186 2/3 innings during the 2017 regular season, his first full year back from Tommy John surgery. Darvish infamously struggled big time in the World Series, allowing nine runs in 3 1/3 innings in two starts.
Jake Arrieta is this offseason's other top free agent starter, and it's interesting the Cubs have not been connected to him at all. Their interest in Darvish suggests they're willing to spend big for a starter, so money presumably isn't an issue. The compensation draft pick situation likely plays into that -- the Cubs would gain a pick for losing Arrieta but wouldn't lose one to sign Darvish -- and it's possible the team feels more comfortable investing long-term in Darvish than Arrieta.
Either way, the Cubs are very clearly looking to add another starting pitcher this offseason, even after adding Chatwood. Their reported interest in Darvish (and Cobb) confirms that. Chicago had some rotation issues last year and that was before Arrieta and John Lackey became free agents.