5 Pitchers Chicago Cubs Will Toss Money At as Part of Aggressive Offseason Plan
It didn't necessarily come as a big surprise, but the Chicago Cubs endured their share of struggles once again in 2012, and while there may be no immediate fix, the team will be doing everything in their power to change the franchise's fortune.
General manager Jed Hoyer has made it clear that the team will be active this winter, and while they'll no doubt kick the tires on some offensive options, adding top-line starting pitchers will key the team's successes in the future.
Here are some potential options for the team as they look to pull themselves toward the top of the NL Central and back to the winning ways the franchise's fanbase is so dearly hoping for.
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Jake Peavy's tenure as a Chicago White Sox may not have gone as planned, as injuries have hampered his past couple seasons and held him to 14 total wins between 2010 and 2011.
In 2012, however, Peavy has managed to stay on the mound, winning 11 of his 31 starts this season. All while seeing his ERA drop to 3.37, a level he hasn't seen since 2008 when he was still a member of the San Diego Padres.
With the Chicago White Sox not likely to pick up his 2013 option, Peavy could very well be a fit to find a home on the other side of town with the Cubs.
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After last offseason's sell-off, it has probably surprised many to see the Oakland Athletics playing as well as they have in 2012.
They'll enter the offseason with a big decision to make, as Brandon McCarthy could take in a big payday on the free-agent market.
If they opt not to pony up the dough, the Cubs could be a potential suitor for McCarthy, as at just 29 years old he could represent a strong option in Chicago's rotation for years to come.
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The Chicago Cubs may not be entirely interested in looking within their own division to seek out the elite starting pitching talent they need to climb back into the NL Central standings—but if they are, Kyle Lohse of the St. Louis Cardinals could be a great option.
The Cubs will likely need to open their wallets wide for Kyle Lohse this offseason, as the Scott Boras client has put together a 16-3 campaign in 2012 and leads the league in games started.
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Heading into the 2012 season, it was widely assumed that Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels would set the bar for free-agent pitching contracts this coming offseason.
The Hamels situation was put to bed when he signed his extension with the Philadelphia Phillies, leaving Greinke as the top option available.
Despite a 6-2 record since coming over to the Los Angeles Angels this July, Greinke has had his share of growing pains. With a tenure in Milwaukee under his belt, he knows the NL Central well and could make a positive impact in the Cubs' rotation.
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Having already punched their ticket to the postseason, the Washington Nationals can (for now) relax and position themselves for an October run.
Edwin Jackson could make out huge in the free-agent market this offseason, as he's gone 9-10 with a sub-4.00 ERA in 2012.
Jackson has already spent some time in Chicago (albeit as a member of the White Sox), and depending on how he performs in the postseason, the Scott Boras client could find a return to the Midwest in his future.