There aren’t a lot of certainties for the Chicago Cubs moving forward. They have plenty of talent coming up through the system, but none of those are guarantees. And we’re heading into a winter where the Cubs could see a great deal of change on their active roster, once again.
One group of players that could be almost close to being settled, even though the 2013 season hasn’t ended yet, is their starting rotation. A group that has actually fared quite well at points during the season, and there are some arms that could be ready to make up a starting five for next year.
We know that Jeff Samardzija is already locked into a starting role next year. Despite some numbers that have declined after a brilliant 2012, Shark has still pitched pretty well. Edwin Jackson was a massive disappointment in the first half, but should be much better head into his second year with the club.
Also likely a lock is Travis Wood. He’s fallen off a bit here in the second half, but was the Cubs’ lone representative in the All Star Game in July. He’s trying to earn a contract extension, and took the right steps toward such an event with a strong 2013 campaign.
Beyond those three, there are no guarantees. But there are some pretty notable names that could make noise. Jake Arrieta has been very good in his brief action with the Cubs. If his head is on straight and he can hit his spots, he’s definitely going to be in the mix.
Scott Baker could also get a look next year. He was signed as yet another reclamation project, but made his debut just this past Sunday. He could accept another year with the Cubs in order to try and restore his value after almost a full season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Justin Grimm, acquired in the Matt Garza deal, is another candidate.
The point is that the Cubs have options for their starting rotation heading into 2014. While they may look to add some competition for roles at the back end, there’s no reason to think that a combination of these six couldn’t get it done. It also depends, of course, on what they bring in over the course of the winter.