CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs' search for their No. 1 starter of the future continues after they lost out on the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes, but they still need to field a starting staff for 2014.
They've made it pretty clear they won't replace Tanaka with one of the remaining big name free agent pitchers, including former Cub Matt Garza. Not unless one falls into their lap. So where do they turn?
Internally, the Cubs have Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson and Jake Arrieta as mainstays. Justin Grimm, acquired last season for Garza, could be an option as could 2013 Cubs minor league pitcher of the year Kyle Hendricks. Lefty Chris Rusin is leftover from last year as well. But like any team, five, six or even seven starters aren't enough in this day and age. So expect a minor signing to compete with those names.
A source familiar with the situation says the Cubs won't be re-signing Scott Baker, who threw well for the Cubs the final month of the season after rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. He's moving on. Former Cub Paul Maholm is available as is Jason Hammel, who pitched for the Baltimore Orioles last season. Both have been linked to Chicago.
The hole Tanaka leaves is bigger in the coming seasons when the Cubs hope to compete for the playoffs. They have time to find that ace, it just means 2014 is shaping up to be another rough year.