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Obviously Chicago Cubs fans everywhere want Jim Hendry to be considering only one fifth starter to replace the deposed Jason Marquis: Jake Peavy.

But the realistic-osity of acquiring Jake Peavy remains to be seen. In the meantime, Hendry recently offered up his thoughts on rounding out the rotation. Lefty Sean Marshall got some high praise, but mostly for his versatility. It sounds like Jim really likes Sean as a swing type – in the rotation when needed, in the pen when needed. Hendry went on:

“In the same sense, you have to get enough depth to where…we knew what we were getting into with Rich Harden, and he’s killing himself this winter to prepare himself for hopefully more than 24 or 25 starts. When you’re putting your pitching staff together, and we’ve been put on the other side of this when you lose your 1 and 2, you like to have enough depth that if something went wrong, you’re still covered. And that’s what we’re going to still do. Hopefully, we’ll still add another pitcher before Opening Day…. We are still going to look into some possibilities.” DailyHerald.com Blogs.

Don’t work yourself too hard, Rich. More than 24, 25 starts next year? I’d be thrilled if Rich Harden gave the Cubs that many starts in 2009 – particularly if about six of them are in the playoffs. More after the jump.

Obviously pitching depth is a major concern for Hendry – he of the once bitten, twice shy variety (or in the Cubs case, it’s more like thrice or fourice bitten). Glad to hear the Cubs will still be considering some outside options, which will naturally include Mr. Peavy.

“We think Samardzija’s a starter down the road,” Hendry said. “We don’t know if he’s ready for that yet. But we think that’s a possibility for us down the road. We feel good about the depth we have in the pen. A lot of the pen guys, if you look at them on the wall, in the right scenario could be candidates for that job, too. Guzman had a real good winter. He’s healthy. He’s been a starter before. Kevin Hart’s been a starter before. He really finished strong last year. We expected a lot of him early, and he really finished well. We deal with what we have right now. At the same time, we’ll continue to try to look at some other avenues if we can.”

The Cubs really do have a lot of sort of maybe ok options to fill in the fifth starter spot if need be. Samardzija seems to be at his best when he can just let it all hang out there – something he can’t do as a starter. Angel Guzman will never be a starter again, and Kevin Hart better not be; for the Cubs anyway.

Interesting that Jim never mentioned Chad Gaudin – a successful swing guy and occassional starter in Oakland. And, of course, he reiterated his cloak and dagger stance that the Cubs might look at “other avenues.” How mysterious!

“I think, by the end of the winter and by the time we get to camp, it’ll be a real good ballclub.”

We hope you’re right, Jim. Glad to hear you’re still shopping around. Never choose the first melon you grab.

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