Chicago Cubs: 3 cost-effective free agent starters still left on the board

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Zack Greinke / Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: 3 cost-effective free agent pitchers to consider – #2: Zack Greinke

If Zack Greinke wants to keep playing, there are going to be teams out there ready to welcome him with open arms. When we talk about this winter’s free agent class and potential Hall of Famers, it’s all about Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. But Greinke is right there with them.

He’d have to pitch two more years if he wants a shot at joining the 3,000-strikeout club – but for a team like the Cubs that needs to re-establish a new clubhouse culture as they build the next core – what Greinke brings to the table in terms of intelligence and clubhouse presence are just as valuable as what he can do on the mound.

Last season with Houston, the right-hander quietly had another solid year, although a late-season slide put a hurting on his final numbers. During the shortened 2020 season, Greinke worked to a 2.80 FIP. If he can get his strikeout stuff working again in 2022, there’s no reason to think he can’t be a valuable member of a big league starting rotation.

Outside of Kyle Hendricks, this staff lacks much veteran leadership. Greinke can step into that role, help mentor the team’s crop of up-and-coming arms and do what he’s done at every stop along the way of his 18-year career: bring stability and a steadying presence to the mound every five days.