Rangers Right-Hander Kyle Gibson Is the *Type* of Starter the Cubs Could Target at the Deadline

For as much fun as I like to have complaining about it on Twitter and TikTok, the barrage of injuries hasn’t actually been the biggest problem facing the Cubs this season. It hasn’t helped, no. But the Cubs have been fortunate enough to get some really outsized contributions from a number of “Other Guys” like Jake Marisnick, Matt Duffy, Patrick Wisdom, and Sergio Alcantara (among others) along the way. Instead, the Cubs biggest problem at the moment is the rotation (0.6 WAR, 30th in MLB). And I don’t expect to get a lot of pushback on that.

On top of being dead last in WAR, they’re 19th in walk rate, 20th in IP, 21st in ERA, 28th in K-rate, 29th in batting AVG against, 29th in FIP, and t-30th in WHIP. Perhaps there have been some nice individual moments and some legitimate growth (Adbert Alzolay), but on the whole, this rotation has s-t-r-u-g-g-l-e-d.

Buuuuuuuut, the Cubs are also a half-game out of first place with plenty of impressive wins against some really tough teams and improved playoff odds from the start of the year. And if they manage to tread water through this treacherous month of June, avoiding a sell-off in July isn’t the only happy ending. They could look to add at the deadline and defend their NL Central title once again. And if they do, I think we’ll see them target a certain type of pitcher. Ideally, the Cubs would like to find a guy that could make an impact right now, sure, but also one that is more than capable of really eating some innings. And, of course, given the transitionary period, someone who isn’t likely to cost a ton in prospects to acquire. And to that, I may have one example: Rangers right-hander Kyle Gibson.

Gibson, 33, might be the the guy, himself, but he checks so many boxes for the TYPE of starting pitcher the Cubs might look to acquire at the deadline. So let’s explore that.

It’s Doable

At the highest level, it feels worth pointing out that the Texas Rangers (23-38) are in last place of the AL West and one of the worst teams in MLB. Therefore, they should have no problem trading away a 33-year-old pitcher with 1.5 years of control remaining (hold that thought). On top of that, the Cubs and Rangers have gotten together on a lot of deals over the years, which demonstrates the sort of high-level alignment-of-value required to get this sort of deal done.

But perhaps most importantly, despite some success and a nice fit for the Cubs (hold onto that thought, too), Gibson shouldn’t break the bank in terms of acquisition cost. He’s having a really nice season, there’s no doubt about that (2.06 ERA, 3.15 FIP over 11 starts), but this level of performance is out of the ordinary for him. I don’t think the Rangers will have enough leverage to ask teams for the sort of return that’ll make you squirm.

He Fits

Aside from the fact that he’s, you know, performing well, Kyle Gibson fits what the Cubs should be looking for right now in three key ways: (1) Longevity, (2) Affordable (financially), and (3) Contract Length

Longevity: Despite a brief stint on the IL (groin strain), Gibson has thrown 65.2 innings this season (36th most in MLB), and has gone 6.0+ innings in 9 out of his 11 starts. That’s more than any Cubs starter, individually and half as many as all Cubs starting pitchers COMBINED (18 starts that lasted 6.0 innings or longer). The Cubs would love to be able to keep relying on their dominant bullpen, but that will only work if the rotation stops leaning on them so much. So even if Gibson isn’t as dominant as he has been, his longevity will be perfect.

Affordable (Financially): Despite some general expectations to the contrary, the Cubs President of Baseball (Jed Hoyer) and Business Operations (Crane Kenney) have both indicated that money will not be an issue in terms of additions at the deadline.

But even if it WERE an issue, Gibson is a pretty low-cost guy. He’s making just $9.67 million this season, more than half of which will be paid by the time the middle-end of July rolls around. And next year, he’s under contract for just $7.67 million. All things considered, that’s not actually ton of cash. The Cubs could make that work, even under some of the tightest financial restrictions … and they’re apparently under NO such restrictions at the moment. But that brings me to the final point of this section.

Contract Length: Gibson could/would help the Cubs out this year, sure, but he also comes with an addition year of control. And seeing as the only guys you could definitively pencil into the 2022 rotation are Kyle Hendricks and Adbert Alzolay, I think this could be a trade that makes sense for two Cubs teams (2021 and 2022). And, hey, who knows, maybe the Rangers would be eager to get out of paying Gibson for next year anyway.

He’s the Cubs Type of Pitcher

Lastly, this guy is such a Cubs pitcher. For one, he’s averaging just 92.8 MPH on his fastball, which isn’t exactly a compliment, but that certainly fits right in among this group. He’s also carrying SIX pitches this season: four-seamer (11.7%), cutter (13.5%), sinker (35.4%), changeup (13.4%), slider (18.6%), curveball (7.4%). Can’t you imagine the Pitch Lab dying to get their hands on a guy like that?

Gibson isn’t much of a strikeout artist (20.5%), but he has good command (7.3%), and he’s something of an extreme contact manager, to boot:

Barrels per PA: 2.7 (6th best in MLB)
Groundball%: 53.3% (6th in MLB)
Line-drive%: 18.5% (16th in MLB)
Hard%: 38.4% (57th in MLB, three spots ahead of Kyle Hendricks)

The Cubs love themselves some command/control guys who can induce weak contact, and Gibson is right there (I should note that the Rangers new stadium has been very pitcher friendly this season – that’s a non-zero consideration, especially for a contact manager).

So to recap … (1) He’s on a team that’s likely to sell that has (2) worked with the Cubs many times over the years. He’s (3) good right now, (4) but not so good that he should cost too much to acquire. He’s a fit in terms of (5) his ability to cover innings, (6) his financial affordability, and (7) his presence beyond this season. And (8) he’s exactly the sort of pitcher this Cubs team seems to love to acquire. So, I guess what I’m saying is Kyle Gibson is a pretty obvious trade fit for the Chicago Cubs if they look to add a starter in before the deadline.

written by

Michael Cerami began covering the Chicago Cubs for Bleacher Nation as a part-time contributor in 2015. One year later, he joined Bleacher Nation full-time, covering the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball. Today, Michael runs Bleacher Nation, contributing as a writer (Cubs, MLB) and an editor for all sections of the site, including the Chicago Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks, as well as MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL. In 2019, Michael was the co-host of NBC Sports Chicago's Cubs Post-Game Show Outside the Ivy. You can find him on Twitter/X @Michael_Cerami

more cubs news

Cade Horton is Coming to Chicago to Get His Lat Injury Checked Out

[ankin_law] If you missed the news yesterday, top Chicago Cubs pitching prospect Cade Horton left his Iowa Cubs start after just one inning. He was conferring with the trainer between innings after throwing his warm-up tosses, and that was it...

Guess Who’s Back?

Oh, I am so here for this. Pete Crow-Armstrong, the Cubs top prospect, is being promoted back to the big leagues. And this time, it's not because of an injury or an emergency. It's because he's so clearly earned it....

Bad Batted Ball Luck Becoming Extreme, .500 Feeling, Meet the Mets, Arias, and Other Cubs Bullets

Very early game today (12:10pm CT), so be ready. We'll dig into the particulars of Shōta Imanaga's rough night later today, but it definitely stings to see the Cubs lose a game started by Imanaga when they manage to score...

Enhanced Box Score: Brewers 10, Cubs 6 – May 29, 2024

Why did it have to be the Brewers that were the first team to blow him up? It yields an especially sickening feeling. Shōta Imanaga was not sharp (for the first time in his MLB introduction), and the Brewers did...

Cade Horton Leaves His I-Cubs Start With the Athletic Trainer (UPDATE)

[ankin_law] When it's the organization's best pitching prospect - one of the best overall in the sport - and he's at Triple-A, knocking on the door of the big leagues, it is especially difficult not to freak out about any...

Ian Happ’s Hot Streak Continues with Another Blast

We have seen the streakiness with Ian Happ before, and although the production by the end of the year is pretty darn consistent, getting there is a roller coaster. Which means you have to enjoy the good parts as much...

Pre-Gamin’: Cubs at Brewers (6:40 CT) – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

CUBS LINEUP — Although the Cubs wound up scoring six runs last night, it took then 10 innings to get there, having scored just one run in regulation. They also struck out 14(!) times overall, so I don't think they're...

Jed Hoyer Speaks: Offense, Offense, Offense, Offense

Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer headed up to Milwaukee this week to be with the team and spoke with the media. You can see his comments here, here, here, and here, among other places, and also this...

MLBits: Negro League Stats Join MLB Record Books, From Waiver Claim to Record Holder, More

Major League Baseball has finally decided to acknowledge and incorporate Negro Leagues statistics into its records, more than 77 years after Jackie Robinson made history by breaking baseball’s color barrier. More on that decision in today's MLB Notes. MLB Has...

Father-Daughter Dance? Nah … How About a Game of Catch to ‘Go Cubs Go!’

I do not have a daughter. But if I ever do - and if she wants to do this on her wedding day - I will absolutely be here for it. I mean, how many more times can we listen...

Latest News

Diamondbacks vs. Mets Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Thursday, May 30, 2024

One team will end a losing skid when the 25-30 Arizona Diamondbacks (three-game losing streak) and the 22-33 New York Mets (three-game losing streak) meet Thursday at 7:10 PM ET. The Diamondbacks have been set as -119 favorites by oddsmakers...

Red Sox vs. Tigers Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Thursday, May 30, 2024

Matthew Vierling leads the Detroit Tigers (27-28) into Thursday's matchup with the Boston Red Sox (28-28) on a three-game homer streak. His Tigers are underdogs for the contest, however, with sportsbooks naming the Red Sox as -121 moneyline favorites. The...

Braves vs. Nationals Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Thursday, May 30, 2024

The Atlanta Braves (31-22) are favorites (-197) on the moneyline when they take on the Washington Nationals (25-29) Thursday at 7:20 PM ET, live on MASN.Atlanta's Raymond Kerr and Washington's Trevor Williams have been named the starters for this contest.Braves...

Cade Horton is Coming to Chicago to Get His Lat Injury Checked Out

[ankin_law] If you missed the news yesterday, top Chicago Cubs pitching prospect Cade Horton left his Iowa Cubs start after just one inning. He was conferring with the trainer between innings after throwing his warm-up tosses, and that was it...

DraftKings Promo Code Scores $1500 No Sweat First Bet for NBA, MLB, NHL, and More!

It's an exciting time for sports fans with the NBA Playoffs, NHL Playoffs, MLB action, and more. Get the latest DraftKings Sportsbook promo code to score a huge bonus for your first wager. Check out the details and odds for...

Guess Who’s Back?

Oh, I am so here for this. Pete Crow-Armstrong, the Cubs top prospect, is being promoted back to the big leagues. And this time, it's not because of an injury or an emergency. It's because he's so clearly earned it....

Bovada Receives Cease and Desist Letter from Michigan Gaming Control Board

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has sent a cease and desist letter to Bovada. The illegal gambling site is an overseas-based gambling company that is accessible to Michigan residents despite being unregulated and unlicensed. More: See our sports betting guides...

Red Sox vs. Tigers Probable Starting Pitchers – May 30

The Detroit Tigers (27-28) kick off a four-game series on Thursday against the Boston Red Sox (28-28). The contest starts at 7:10 PM ET at Fenway Park.The Red Sox will give the ball to Nick Pivetta (2-3, 4.20 ERA), who...

Braves vs. Nationals Probable Starting Pitchers – May 30

The Washington Nationals (25-29) visit the Atlanta Braves (31-22) for a road game on Thursday at 7:20 PM ET.The Braves will give the nod to Raymond Kerr (1-1, 5.40 ERA), who is eyeing win No. 2 on the season, and...

Diamondbacks vs. Mets Probable Starting Pitchers – May 30

The New York Mets (22-33) begin a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks (25-30) with a Thursday matchup at Citi Field. First pitch is at 7:10 PM ET.The Diamondbacks will call on Zac Gallen (5-4) against the Mets and Christian...

more cubs news