MLB Rumors: Sleeper Cubs target, Red Sox bargain ace, Jung-Hoo Lee fits

  • "20 teams" interested in Korean centerfielder Jung-Hoo Lee
  • Jordan Montgomery could add experience to Red Sox rotation
  • Cubs could sneak into race for Shota Imanaga

Shota Imanaga, Japan
Shota Imanaga, Japan / Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports
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MLB Rumors: Cubs could address rotation with Shota Imanaga

The Chicago Cubs are expected to spend big in free agency, with Shohei Ohtani profiling as their great white whale. Of course, Ohtani to Chicago is more a pipe dream than a guarantee, so there ought to be backup plans. Craig Counsell should help the Cubs attract free agents, and pitching stands as an area of need following the departure of Marcus Stroman.

While the Cubs could target Yamamoto or two-time Cy Young winner Blake Snell, McCullough and The Athletic have a different idea. He has the Cubs signing Japanese southpaw Shota Imanaga, who is expected to be posted by Monday with a 45-day window to sign his MLB contract, per MLB Trade Rumors.

Imanaga is famed for his changeup and his potent off-speed work could attract Chicago. At 30 years old, he will probably sign a shorter (and most notably, cheaper) contract than Yamamoto, who is making his way to the MLB five years younger. Imanaga pitched 148 innings with a 2.80 ERA in the NPB last season, striking out 26.2 percent of batters faced while walking only 3.8 percent.

The Cubs should absolutely get on the phone with Imanaga. He could also come as a package with Yamamoto in theory, as the latter has expressed a desire to play with other Japanese players. Chicago's options are robust, so long as ownership and management are willing to open up their checkbooks. The historic Counsell contract and what it signals should instill confidence in the fanbase.

Braves trade wishlist, Phillies-Trout, Yankees-Montgomery reunion. Braves trade wishlist, Phillies-Trout, Yankees-Montgomery reunion. dark. MLB RUMORS