After agreeing to terms with South Korean right-handed reliever Chang-Yong Lim late Wednesday, the Chicago Cubs are still in pursuit of a starter, but do not want to splurge on a huge contract.
The 36-year-old is currently recovering from his second Tommy John surgery, and is not expected to pitch again until 2014. That may give recently signed reliever Kyuji Fujikawa an even bigger role next year, as he will try to improve a Chicago bullpen that posted a 4.49 ERA, fourth worst in the NL.
In terms of starters, Chicago is currently considering Shaun Marcum, Jair Jurrjens, John Lannan, Francisco Liriano, and Joe Saunders, according to CSN Chicago.
Marcum is still available after going 7-4 with a 3.70 ERA for the Milwaukee Brewers last season, but reportedly said during an interview on MLB Network Radio that he is also open to returning to Milwaukee.
Last season, Marcum earned around $7.7 million, which was nearly double his salary form 2011, and he’s more than likely looking for similar if not more money. Minnesota, Kansas City, and San Diego are also rumored to be in contention for Marcum.
Jurrjens could be a huge steal if he can regain his form from 2011. In that year alone he went 13-6 with a 2.96 ERA in 23 starts. Though Chicago may not expect him to be an ace. He's pitched more than 200 innings in a season once, back in 2009 when he hit 215 innings and led the majors with 34 starts.
Jurrjens under-achieved in 2012, and Atlanta sent him down to the minors, which drastically drops his price. Still Jurrjens is only 26, which means he’s young enough to turn things around.
Like Jurrjens, Lannan spent most of last season in the minor leagues, and Washington let him hit free agency when the winter meetings began in late November. While Liriano’s talks with Minnesota have apparently reached an impasse, according to reports.
Minnesota is also courting Saunders, and reportedly offered him a deal, but the terms are unknown. The 31-year-old was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in August from Arizona, and made $6 million last season.