Cubs continue to search for starting pitcher help

Cubs continue to search for starting pitcher help

Cubs continue to search for starting pitcher help

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Cubs used nine different starting pitchers last season -- including Scott Baker, who started three games in September -- and they want to make sure they have enough depth. General manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday the goal is to add at least one and possibly two more starting pitchers before the season begins.

So far, the rotation includes Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson and Jake Arrieta, with Chris Rusin and Carlos Villanueva possibly getting starts. The Cubs have had talks with Baker's agent about the possibility of the right-hander returning for another season. Baker spent most of the season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

Whether that extra pitcher is Masahiro Tanaka has not been determined, as Major League Baseball and Japan baseball officials sort through the posting process.

"In general, we only need one starter in theory," Hoyer said, "but we know we'll go through a lot more starters. We're in on a lot of starting pitchers and we could well sign more than one starter. That's a possibility. Someone is going to be hurt, someone could go to the bullpen for a short amount of time. I feel it's a dangerous game playing that 'just enough' starting pitcher game. Could we add more than one starting pitcher this winter? Absolutely."

On Tuesday, Day 2 of the Winter Meetings, Hoyer and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein continued their meetings with agents and teams.

"I think we've laid the groundwork and we'll keep doing that," Hoyer said. "It's boring to say, but that's what you do here. You have meeting after meeting and try to kick ideas off each other. You hope that having the big group here and having everyone in the same building will lead to a little more creativity."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.