MLB Chicago Cubs

Top 5 Free Agent Starting Pitchers For Chicago Cubs To Consider

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5 FA Options For the Chicago Cubs Starting Rotation

Chicago Cubs 2014
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Starting pitching is always a need for every team. The old adage is that you can never have too much pitching. For the Chicago Cubs, they may have an opening or two within their starting rotation for the 2014 season.

The last two seasons have seen the Cubs turn and burn starting pitchers in the quest to gain prospects and build a farm system. That has been the no. 1 objective for the front office staff.

Last year, they signed Edwin Jackson to a hefty deal. The big question with him is how many times will the good Jackson pitch, and how many times will the bad Jackson pitch. The stuff is there for Jackson, but it always seems to be one bad pitch or inning that unravels him.

Also, Travis Wood is evolving into a front-end starter. Wood was an All-Star last year and was at the top of the leaderboard in quality starts. However, the win-loss record may not indicate that, but that is natural when pitching for a struggling team.

Acquired in trade last year is Jake Arrieta. Arrieta made a few starts last season for the Cubs after coming back from injury. His potential is there and he could find himself in the rotation come Opening Day.

Then there is Jeff Samardzija. His name has been rumored in offseason trades and if he is dealt, the Cubs could find themselves looking for multiple starters this winter. Samardzija has ace stuff, but every good stretch of his pitching seems to be followed up with a few bad losses. Whether he is pitching out of rhythm knowing that he has to be the ace could be a question raised. Also, the last two Septembers may raise stamina questions for the starter. If he is still a Cub, he will likely be the Opening Day starter for the second year in a row.

The exciting thing for this offseason is that no one really knows how the Cubs will play their hand. Trades aside, here are a few free agent options for the starting rotation.

Nick Schaeflein is a Chicago Cubs writer for Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google

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5. Scott Baker

Chicago Cubs 2014
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Baker was signed by the Cubs last year on a one-year deal. For much of the season, he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. He did make a few starts at the end of the year and did post positive results. The Cubs may look to sign a new deal with the right-hander.

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4. A Trio of Second Stints

Chicago Cubs 2014
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

On the free agent market are a few former Cubs that have been already traded once by the team within the last two years. Scott Feldman, Matt Garza and Paul Maholm all performed well when in Cub uniforms. Their performances allowed the team the ability to trade them to contenders for prospects. Might the Cubs bring back one of them for a second stint?

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3. Bronson Arroyo

Chicago Cubs 2014
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs have seen a lot of Bronson Arroyo within the division the last few years. He also has ties to Boston as well. Arroyo is an innings eater and also not a bad hitter as well. Depending on the asking price, it could be a plausible fit.

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2. Ryan Vogelsong

Chicago Cubs 2014
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Vogelsong had a strong 2012 season. He made a few key postseason starts that year as well. He was also a part of Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. In 2013, he faced an injury that kept him out for a while. Now presumably healthy, he could be a no. 3 starter with experience to help the staff.

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1. Jair Jurrjens

Chicago Cubs 2014
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The blueprint for the Cubs lately has been to take low-risk projects, bring them into camp and see what they can do. They may pan out to stay long-term, or they could become attractive trade options. Look at Feldman and Maholm. Jair Jurrjens fits that blueprint. Still in his mid-20s, he appears to be fully recovered from a knee injury that took him from a great 2011 season all the way down to the minors to reestablish himself. Having him in the middle of a rotation could show positive results.