Cubs preparing for 'challenging' pitching market –

“My experience is when a guy gets to this point [and is a free agent], they generally want to see what’s out there, as they should,” Hoyer told reporters. “We’ll be in contact a lot. They should listen to what other teams think as well.”

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Do the Cubs dip into the free-agent market as well to acquire two starters? Or do they make a trade?

“There’s no doubt pitching is expensive,” Hoyer said. “It’s expensive in trade, it’s expensive in free agency. It’s not going to change. That’s the market, and we have to figure out a way to fill in the rotation, fill in the bullpen, and that’s the offseason goal.

“It is a challenging offseason to figure out exactly how to do that. You want to be creative, but at the same time, you want to remember the offseason is just one talent point in many, and there will be more opportunities to acquire talent. You have to make some tough decisions, no matter what.”

One internal option could be right-hander Alec Mills, who was pitching in the Arizona Fall League to make up for missed time during the regular season as he dealt with injuries. He ranks No. 20 in the Cubs’ system, per

Mills on the Arizona Fall League

Mills discusses pitching in the Arizona Fall League

Cubs prospect Alec Mills discusses being given the opportunity to pitch in the Arizona Fall League

However, the Cubs may have to deal one of their young position players to acquire a starter.

“Whenever we talk to teams, the last three years, that’s the area of interest,” Hoyer said. “We won a ton of games with these players, and we know their value.”

According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, the Cubs

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