It took until January 9th, but the Chicago Cubs have finally entered the chat of free agency moves.
Bob Nightengale is reporting that, pending a physical, the Cubs and free agent left handed Japanese pitcher Shota Imanaga have agreed to terms on a deal. After a physical is done, a deal can be finalized as soon as Thursday.
Imanaga will be the latest Japanese player to make the move to America to pitch in the Major Leagues.
Cubs News: Team Wakes Up From Hibernation to Sign Imanaga
The Cubs previously missed out on the pursuit of pitchers Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who both ended up signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers with very lucrative contracts.
Since those two signed, the Cubs have not made a sound or big move (though they did sign a few minor league deals and make some Spring Training invites). Fans have been waiting for something from president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer to prove he is working on building a contender, and this comes not a moment too soon.
Imanaga will join a Cubs pitching staff looking to build on the momentum the team as a whole started last season, despite a late-season stall. In a league where left handed pitching is at a premium, adding another southpaw to compliment budding star Justin Steele to this starting rotation is a statement Cubs fans have been waiting for.
Imanaga pitched 24 games in Japan in 2023, going 159 innings and racking up 188 strikeouts with a 1.019 WHIP and 2.66 ERA.
Of course, in the hyper-competitive National League, the Cubs are going to need to continue building on the momentum of the Imanaga signing if they want to firmly position themselves as contenders. Hoyer needs to open up that pocketbook and attract some more top-end talent.
More Chicago Cubs news:
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.