Chicago Cubs: Five dark horse candidates for the starting rotation

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 30: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the second inning of Game One of the National League Wild Card Series against the Cincinnati Reds at Truist Park on September 30, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 30: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the second inning of Game One of the National League Wild Card Series against the Cincinnati Reds at Truist Park on September 30, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /
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Jake Arrieta (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Jake Arrieta (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Could a reunion be possible?

No Chicago Cubs fan needs to be reacquainted with Jake Arrieta. Almost every reasonable fan will always hold Arrieta close his or her heart, and many were severely disappointed when the Cubs did not bring him back after 2017. While most of those fans have changed their tune over the last three years, many having warmed to his de facto replacement Yu Darvish over the last year and a half, there could be a very warm reunion with the former ace… at the right price.

After three years and $75 million from the Philadelphia Phillies, Arrieta is now a free agent again and no one is looking to pay a 34-year-old that kind of money to be their number four or five starter. If the market doesn’t present itself or if it is especially cold, an incentive-laden contract could be a win-win for both Arrieta in the Cubs. If he pitches poorly, the Cubs can dump him; if he pitches well, he’ll be worth the incentives.

There’s also the chance Arrieta could be used out of the bullpen where his stuff would play up, but I don’t see him going for it, nor do the Cubs necessarily need that unless the price were really right. I do think he could be better than his numbers may have pegged him this year, if only because you could take away his one bad start against the Braves and see a guy with an ERA in the threes.

A reunion with the Cubs might be unlikely, yet with the right market conditions and deal, would it be the worst idea? Hey, he wouldn’t be the first big right-handed Texan to come back to open-armed Chicagoans