The Chicago Cubs are coming off their third straight NLCS appearance in 2017 with a still-young core and more promise ahead. However, this will be a busy offseason as there are a number of holes to fill on the roster. While the lineup core will still be intact for next year, pitching is the biggest area of concern.

2015 Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta is a free agent and will likely get a fortune elsewhere and 39-year-old veteran John Lackey will not return to Chicago even if he plays next year. The starting rotation will still have Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, and Kyle Hendricks, which are still three very good pieces to have but there will have to be more added to it.

The market for starters this season is not incredible, but there could be a few potential good fits. Alex Cobb of the Rays has come up most frequently, as well as a few other options to explore.

Alex Cobb

Cobb has quietly had a very solid career in Tampa Bay. This year it was his first full year back pitching after having Tommy John surgery in 2015. Cobb (29) started 29 games this season and posted a 12-10 record, 3.66 ERA, 1.221 WHIP and 128 strikeouts in 179 1/3 innings. Over a six-year career, he boasts a 3.68 Fielding Independent Pitching (adjusted ERA) in 115 starts. Pitching in the AL East his entire career he knows what it is like to face high-powered offenses.

Cobb would be a good fit in Chicago as the No.

4 pitcher. He has worked his entire MLB career with the now-Cubs pitching coach, Jim Hickey, in Tampa, and pitched under Joe Maddon for his first four seasons. Cobb was given a qualifying offer from the Rays at $17.4 million, but it is hard seeing him taking it and will likely seek a multi-year deal. He could potentially go for a 3-4 year deal ranging around $50-$80 million.

If that is the case the Cubs could afford that and would overall be worth it trying to bring him in as a fourth starter.

Lance Lynn

Lynn is another name being tossed around frequently, but not quite as much as Cobb's right now.

Lynn is interesting because he has had a very good career with the St. Louis Cardinals and this year put up solid traditional numbers, however there are some red flags. The 30-year-old starter had Tommy John in 2016. Lynn's boasted a career 3.37 ERA, 3.36 FIP, 1.3 WHIP, and 766 strikeouts in 150 games. He returned from Tommy John last year and while he had a 3.43 ERA in 186 1/3 innings, a 4.82 FIP, and 1.30 HR/9 ratio.

Still, Lynn's track record is good overall. Tommy John surgery is hard to return from which always makes it risky. He can still be an effective starter, but certainly not one to be trusted around the top of the rotation. If the Cubs got him on a cheaper deal to be a four or five starter, then it would be a justifiable move.


There are a few others being talked about and a few possible sleepers on the market that could be decent fits. One of the biggest free agents on the market is Yu Darvish. He had a solid regular season last year between the Rangers and the Dodgers, 3.86 ERA, 1.163 WHIP and a 3.83 FIP, but he struggled greatly in the World Series. Darvish is 31 and will seek a big money and right now it is a bit more difficult to see the Cubs giving him a huge deal, so it is likely best to count him out.

A few sleepers could include a guy like Jhoulys Chacin. He is 29 years old and has been in the majors since 2009. Last year in San Diego he threw 180 1/3 innings and put up a 3.84 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 1.27 WHIP, and 153 strikeouts.

Certainly not breath-taking, but something that could be a very solid/cheap fifth starter. Another one is Tyler Chatwood, who did not have a great year with the Rockies but could be another low-risk, high-reward deal. He also pitched in Coors Field so keep that in mind.

Overall the pitching market has a few names on it, but other teams will be in on guys like Alex Cobb as well.