The Cubs must’ve been doing a whole lot of scouting today, as they were watching old friends Jake Arrieta and Jeff Samarzija throw, may have also been scouting Carlos Rodon (unclear precisely what day he was throwing this week), and now we know they were on Mike Foltynewicz, too.
Add former Braves starter Mike Foltnewicz to the list of Cub possible additions. Numerous clubs watched him throw today. @PJ_Mooney first to report Cubs interest in him and Chris Archer.
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) January 29, 2021
Formerly a high-velo guy (96-97 mph at his best), Foltynewicz kinda fell off a cliff starting in 2019, and at 29, is having to remake himself as a different kind of pitcher if he wants to keep going. Hence, the scouting by teams like the Cubs.
For what it’s worth, sitting 90-92 mph in late January ain’t too bad for just about anybody:
Mike Foltynewicz threw for teams in Atlanta today. Was at 90-92 but looked to be in fine shape.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 29, 2021
It’s possible he was cranking it up for the teams in attendance, but it’s also possible he’s ramping up to a respectable low-90s velo. Still, he’s going to have to show teams that he can make it work, and then actually do it over the course of the season if he’s going to find himself a more lucrative contract after the season.
To that end, it’s pretty clear at this point – via multiple reports and scouting bits – that the Cubs are firmly in on Foltynewicz, Chris Archer, Carlos Rodon, Jeff Samardzija, and Jake Arrieta as buy-low/reclamation/need innings guys. Since the Kohl Stewart signing (and Shelby Miller earlier) came out of nowhere, you can also presume the Cubs are in on guys we haven’t heard about yet. I firmly expect them to add at least two more starters from here, and they will probably come from this tier – suffice to say, the variance in possible performances from the Cubs’ rotation this year is going to be a huge, huge range.
Still, though, the Cubs can offer a clear path to innings for these guys, so hopefully they’ll have a good shot at their preferred targets. There will be a ton of interest in these guys overall, as teams look for a lot of extra depth in the jump from 60 games to 162 games in 2021.