Chicago Cubs: A few potential fits for the final spot in the rotation

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Jharel Cotton / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

With uncertainty around who will fill out the Chicago Cubs starting rotation, we take a look at a few potential options for final spot on the staff.

When Cole Hamels signed a one-year, $18 million deal with the Atlanta Braves this offseason, the Cubs ended up with a hole to fill in the final spot in the starting rotation. The Chicago staff, as a whole – both the rotation and the bullpen – come with a degree of uncertainty as camp opens in Mesa.

Of course, most people are more focused on that bullpen, as well as the glaring needs in both center field and second base than the starting five. That being said, the starters arguably have the most to prove. Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks will headline the staff and should provide consistency and dominance, while Jon Lester, Jose Quintana and the mystery starter will have much to prove.

Time will tell what we’ll get from those four guys. But let’s focus on what the team’s most likely options for that final spot look like and see who stands out from the rest of the pack.

The first arm that has a chance is a new face by the name of Jharel Cotton. Chicago acquired the 28-year-old right-hander in a trade with the Oakland Athletics earlier this winter. In two seasons with the A’s, Cotton went 11-10 with a 4.95 in 29 starts. His two best pitches are his sinker and cutter and he falls right in line with the rest of the Cubs staff in terms of average velocity.

Cotton brings an intriguing option to this group and should have an opportunity to prove himself for the last spot in the rotation. With a smaller sample size, considering 24 of his 29 career starts came last season, he’ll undoubtedly have plenty of eyes on him in Mesa this spring.