Chicago Cubs Rumors: Breaking down possible pitching options

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Jun 28, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) walks off the field against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Samardzija – Chicago White Sox

The former Chicago Cubs right-hander has noticeably less ‘flash’ than the other names on this list.

He’s never won a Cy Young award. He’s never led the league in wins. And, for the most part, he’s struggled off-and-on this season, while the likes of Hamels, Price and Zimmerman have played integral roles in their respective team’s success.

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A free agent at year’s end, Samardzija will, in all likelihood, be dealt to his fourth team in two years sometime in the next two weeks. He’s caught fire of-late and his trade value will never be higher than it is right now.

The right-hander has taken a no-hitter into the sixth twice in recent weeks and Thursday marked the seventh-straight contest in which Shark has pitched at least seven innings.

With 125-plus innings under his belt, Samardzija has pitched more innings than all but one pitcher in baseball, and while his numbers (4.02 ERA, 9.3 H/9, 7.3 SO/9) aren’t exactly awe-inspiring, he’s got the stuff of a front-line starter.

With the struggles comes a discount, which could allow Theo and Jed to spread their resources to other areas this winter. That being said, Samardzija pitching like an ace isn’t a sure thing, and that could be an insurmountable hurdle for the Cubs’ front office.

Next: Zack Greinke

Jul 9, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) works against the Philadelphia Phillies in the second inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

 Zack Greinke – Los Angeles Dodgers

With his start Thursday in the books, the Los Angeles right-hander has pushed his scoreless-inning streak to an impressive 35 2/3 innings, while lowering his earned run average to an MLB-leading 1.39.

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That mark ranks lower than any other big league starter at the All-Star Break in the last three decades – and although the Dodgers have him under contract for three more years, the righty has an opt-out clause that he appears near-guaranteed to utilize at season’s end.

Greinke is 32, two years older than most of the starters included on this list, and has battled some criticisms over his mental make-up during his career.

However, during his time with the Dodgers, he’s appeared nothing short of poised, going 40-14 with a 2.36 earned run average in 76 starts. Everyone talks about his teammate, Clayton Kershaw, but quietly, Greinke has emerged as the best right-hander in the National League.

This year, the Los Angeles right-hander may very well pick up the hardware Kershaw took home last season in the NL Cy Young honors.

Of all the names on this list, Greinke may be the most sought-after. While most Chicago Cubs fans are calling for Hamels, I urge them to not look past this Cy-Young front-runner.

Next: Cole Hamels