The Chicago Cubs’ rotation at present figures to feature Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster for sure, but the other three spots are somewhat up in the air. Randy Wells is a near lock, and if Tom Gorzelanny remains with the Cubs, he’ll hold a spot, too. Carlos Silva, Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija, Andrew Cashner, Jay Jackson, and Chris Archer are all possibilities for that fifth spot, but the Cubs may elect to go outside of the organization.
A starting pitcher is the Cubs’ second-biggest need, though the pickings are slim after Cliff Lee, who is well out of their price range. Jon Garland, who declined a $6.75 million option to remain in San Diego, hinted last summer that he was interested in the Cubs last offseason but never heard from them. Garland, a former first-round draft pick of the Cubs, went 14-12 with a 3.47 ERA for the Padres. chicagotribune.com.
Given that Garland declined that option, you can be certain he’ll be looking for more than one year, and more than $6.75 million. It’s not to say he’s not worth it, but that may be outside of the Cubs’ budget, particularly given the depth of middle-of-the-rotation starters the Cubs already have. Don’t be deceived by Garland’s 2010 stats – that 3.47 ERA was aided by the ever-spacious Petco Park: his ERA at home was 3.00, but 4.01 on the road. That put his ERA+ at just 106 (slightly better than average). Garland is more of an innings-eater than anything else.