Chicago Cubs News

Chicago Cubs: Who will be the Cubs’ fifth rotation starter in 2017?

Nov 1, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Mike Montgomery throws against the Cleveland Indians in the 6th inning in game six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 1, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Mike Montgomery throws against the Cleveland Indians in the 6th inning in game six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /
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After the release of Jason Hammel, the Chicago Cubs have an opening in the rotation, and there are a couple ways that they can go about it.

If we’ve learned anything from Theo Epstein’s time with the Chicago Cubs, it’s that we have no idea what he is going to do. Take the 2014 draft, for example, the Kyle Schwarber pick surprised mostly everybody.

Another example is the Jeff Samardzija trade, and being able to snag Addison Russell out of that also surprised loads of people.

Most recently, the Mike Montgomery trade, he was not on anybody’s radar, and he played a major role in the playoffs. So, with that being said, how will the Cubs fill the option of a fifth starter?

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Look at internal options

One guy that was mentioned above, Mike Montgomery, has starting experience, not only at the Major League level but coming up through the minor leagues as well.

Another guy who looked good in the Majors this year, albeit a small sample size, was Rob Zastryzny, Zastryzny was drafted by the Cubs, and was able to work his way up through the minor leagues as a starter. These are two options the Cubs could look at. As for guys who don’t have any big league experience, but are promising young prospects, there is Pierce Johnson and Ryan Williams.

Williams is a Kyle Hendricks type, not much velocity, but has outstanding control. Johnson has struggled with his control, which has held him back during his career.

Trade for a starting pitcher, maybe two

Looking a bit past 2017, Jake Arrieta and John Lackey are free agents, which leaves Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and then two or three spots to fill.

In the past, the Cubs have been reported to be in talks with multiple teams about starting pitching, most notably, the Rays. It would not be a surprising thing to see those two teams re-visit trade talks this offseason, possibly even come to an agreement.

Next: Schwarber is not untouchable, yet

If not the Rays, the A’s could also be an option. In the past, the Cubs have been known to be interested in Sonny Gray and Sean Manaea. Another possible option is to feast on next year’s free agent class, which is going to be loaded.

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