Chicago Cubs: Looking at the Cubs fifth starter — right now

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

I know what you’re thinking.

Playing it safe in a championship window, when you’re in one of baseball’s biggest markets, and all the while, basically not constrained by any sort of spending limit, probably isn’t the way to go about this. Even with a flawed group of free agents and their associated risks.

Planning for the alternative

Well. Again, it is February. Pitchers and catchers report in mere days, and here we are. The rotation is not bad as currently constructed. I’ve personally spent time mulling each starter, their potential, and how dangerous each can be.

Kyle Hendricks is pretty good. That’s an understatement. In my mind, he’s your ace and opening day starter, regardless of who they might acquire, short of, say, Clayton Kershaw (he can opt-out and become a free agent after 2018 by the way). Jose Quintana is a budding ace, who could emerge into that this season. And then the veteran, Jon Lester, a warrior that has the determination to prove he still among the best pitchers.

That’s a solid 1-through-3.

Tyler Chatwood represents the largest free agent contract — three-years, $38 million — for a starting pitcher. Crazy, huh? Probably a perfect five, but right now, he is the four. And that would leave someone else as that fifth starter. It could be a few candidates, but Mike Montgomery would be one guy that has the potential to win that job if he is not the clear-cut alternative before camp breaks.

Again, this is hypothetical in that no one else is brought in.