Despite undergoing a surgery that could sideline him until June, veteran and former Cubs hurler Rich Hill could still be an option to round out the staff.
Cole Hamels is all but guaranteed to move on from the Chicago Cubs after a successful year-and-a-half run with the club, leaving a hole in the back of the starting rotation. It’s not a question that’ll last just next season, either. Age is becoming an increasingly dominant concern when it comes to the starting rotation.
Jon Lester, the longtime anchor in the staff, may be entering his final year with the club. Coming off a 4.46 ERA, 1.497 WHIP and league-worst 205 hits allowed in 31 starts, the left-hander needs to hit at least 200 innings for his 2021 option to vest. It’s hard to envision a scenario where that plays out given he hasn’t hit that mark since the 2016 campaign.
Chicago has Kyle Hendricks locked up for at least four more seasons, giving new manager David Ross about as close to a sure thing as possible there. Yu Darvish showed what he’s capable of down the stretch, looking like a bona fide ace in the second half with an incredible run of dominance.
Jose Quintana seems likely to return in 2020 after the Cubs picked up his option. But it’s hard to call him even remotely consistent given the ups and downs we’ve seen from him. Again, this is his last season under control, so that could be another question mark after next year, as well.
So will Theo Epstein look for a stopgap measure to, at least in the interim, shore up the starting rotation with a proven commodity? That remains to be seen but a reunion with a former Cub might be in the cards.