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Theo Epstein will be hard at work this winter to provide his rotation with the help it needs.
Jeff Samardzija's emergence in the starting rotation is a welcome bonus for the Cubs, but shipping away Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm before the trade deadline created twice as many holes to fill.
Additionally, Epstein has mentioned that Chicago will attempt to trade Matt Garza (h/t chicagonow.com) when he returns to full health. Garza was looking like a sure bet to follow Dempster and Maholm out the door, but an elbow injury forced the Cubs to shut him down for the season.
The 27-year-old Samardzija led all Chicago pitchers with 174.2 innings pitched and 180 strikeouts. He finished with a respectable ERA of 3.81, winning nine games and losing 13 on the year.
The addition of Travis Wood via trade proved to be a smart move. Wood's hot finish to the season offers hope that he can fill a spot in the rotation for both the short and long-term future.
Aside from that, the Cubbies are in rough shape.
Epstein and Hoyer have been on the lookout for help. Chicago came close to acquiring a veteran arm in Dan Haren less than a week ago, but the deal reportedly fell through (per MLB.com's Carrie Muskat).
Names like Brandon McCarthy and Shaun Marcum have been brought up as possible free-agent targets (h/t Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times), and bringing back Dempster, who is now on the market, hasn't been ruled out (h/t Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune), either.
Don't expect the Cubs to get into a bidding war to claim any of baseball's premier free agents, but adding a reasonably priced arm (or two) is a must.