The Chicago Cubs did an official retirement tour for John Lackey toward the end of last season, because they thought he was going to be hanging up his spikes after the season was officially over. By all accounts, Lackey thought he would be calling it a career as well. As the fall moved closer to the free agent period, it appears the pitcher decided he had at least one more season in him. Now that the veteran pitcher is coming back, it appears the Cubs have renewed interest in adding him to their rotation.

Chicago Cubs have said there is at least a chance of a John Lackey reunion

Speaking at the winter meetings, Cubs' general manager Jed Hoyer had a chance to rule out a return by Lackey to the Cubs. Instead of slamming the door closed once and for all, he opened it wide. For good measure, it seems as though he tossed the pitcher the key. Hoyer told ESPN that "Its certainly something we're going to talk about," when he was asked point-blank whether he wanted Lackey to return to the rotation.

There are bound to be some Cubs fans who aren't thrilled about watching the Major League leader in home runs allowed pitching for the team again. At the same time, the team is looking at filling a hole in the roster that they may not need to be filled beyond 2018.

Cubs have a few needs in the rotation

Lackey is likely not the Cubs pitcher fans of Chicago are hoping will come back. Jake Arrieta, who is likely leaving the club via free agency, is one that some people had hoped might eventually decide to take the qualifying offer and come back for one more year.

With two starting pitchers departing, Hoyer has his work cut out for him when it comes to putting together a fourth straight run toward the NLCS.

The team has lost in the NLCS twice, but also managed to win the World Series once with their recent success.

While "dynasty" isn’t quite the word Major League Baseball is using yet, if Hoyer could put together a team that gets back to the NLCS one more time, it could become that word. Cubs fans aren’t likely to believe, though, that John Lackey is the final piece to the puzzle for another postseason appearance.

Chicago likely envisions Lackey as a 5th starter and a calming influence on what is still a very young team. Having a starting pitcher that they could count on to at least give them innings over the course of the regular season could help whatever kind of retooling Hoyer has in store for the Chicago Cubs in 2018. In order to bring him back, the club would also likely be offering John Lackey a very team-friendly contract.