Theo Epstein and the Cubs will be hunting for a front-line starter (again) this offseason

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Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein made it clear Thursday that he’ll be in search of high-end rotation help this offseason, telling Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com:

I’m not going to rule anything out or rule anything in, except to say that whether it’s through trade or free agency, we’d like to add at least one quality starting pitcher this winter.

Epstein went on to call spending big on free agent pitching “a necessary evil at times” and noted that he’s “glad” they did so last offseason in signing left-hander Jon Lester to a six-year, $155 million deal.

Because the Cubs have as much young offensive talent stockpiled as any team in baseball and because the rotation behind Jake Arrieta and Lester was shaky at times this season it makes plenty of sense that Epstein would be targeting another front-of-the-rotation starter.

Of course, that could mean trying to sign, say, David Price to a massive contract or it could mean, say, pulling off a trade for a cost-controlled younger starter with upside. And there are also several not-quite-ace free agent starters available this winter. Epstein has plenty of payroll space and plenty of desirable trade chips, so the Cubs could easily go in any direction. Or as he put it: “We all have an aggressive mindset.”