After David Price's signing with the Boston Red Sox, Greinke becomes the top free agent starting pitcher currently on the market. While the Cubs would love to have him, the price might be too high to bring the ace to Chicago's north side -- especially after Price's historic contract with Boston set the precedent for the offseason in starting pitching.
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY SportsRichard Mackson
While considered one of the 'second-tier' starting pitchers due to an off year with the Chicago White Sox in 2015, Samardzija could come at a more affordable price for the Cubs. Helping the Cubs' case, Samardzija went through the organization's minor-league system and started his career on the North Side. Coming 'back home' could be appealing, and the Cubs could get the hometown discount on the potentially potent Samardzija.
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsBrad Rempel
Perhaps the best offensive talent in this offseason's pool of free agents, Heyward will be on the Cubs' radar for sure. While the Cubs would love to have Heyward take over centerfield at Wrigley, he is sure to come at a high price for a club that, frankly, might not have the money to spend this offseason.
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY SportsJerry Lai
One of the best 'super utility' players in the league currently, Zobrist is set to get a payday this offseason after helping guide the Kansas City Royals to a World Series championship. Zobrist began his major-league career with the Joe Maddon-led Tampa Bay Rays in 2006, and a player/manager reunion could be enough to entice the two-time All Star to Chicago with a multi-year deal.
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY SportsPeter Aiken
Jason Heyward is the top offensive talent in this year's mix of free agent talent, but Gordon, who has spent his entire nine-year career with the Kansas City Royals, could be 'plan B' should the price for Heyward become too much. While Gordon is older than Heyward, entering his more 'seasoned' years as a major leaguer, he could still be a viable option in the outfield for several more years for the Cubs.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY SportsJeff Curry
Probably the best value in starting pitching this offseason comes from Mike Leake. Splitting the 2015 season between the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants, he posted 3.70 ERA -- which has been consistent with his career average -- and saw a minimal drop in his overall strikeouts. He's not the flashy, popular pick up this offseason, but bringing the pitcher to Chicago could make sense for the Cubs -- not to mention, the club would not have to give up a draft pick by signing him at just 28-years-old since he was traded midseason in 2015.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY SportsKelley L Cox
Lackey is set to cash in on his spectacular 2015 season at age 37. In 218 innings with the St. Louis Cardinals, Lackey had the best ERA of his career at 2.77. While he will likely be over-paid, the cost for the righty will be much less than Greinke and maybe even Samardzija would command on the free agent market, giving the Cubs another, more affordable, option for 2016.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY SportsJasen Vinlove
Kazmir was nails early in 2015 while with the Oakland Athletics. Traded to the Houston Astros before the July 31 deadline, Kazmir kept producing for his new team… briefly… before the wheels fell off. Nevertheless, the lefty proved he still has the stuff to be a prolific major-leaguer, and will likely fall more in the Mike Leake, Jeff Smardzija category of 'second-tier' starting pitching available. If the Cubs are willing to take a bit of a risk, Kazmir could pay off big for the club in the search for another starter.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY SportsJoe Nicholson
Much like Zack Greinke, Cueto could be more of a dream pick up for the Cubs than a reality. But unlike Greinke, Cueto has a major unknown factor to his abilities after a touch-and-go 2015 season with the Kansas City Royals -- coming to the club in a midseason trade from the Cincinnati Reds. If Cueto pitches like his 20-win 2014 season with the Reds, a huge contract similar to Grienke and David Price would make sense, but his inconsistency in 2015 could be a red flag if his asking price is too high, as it is projected to be.