David Price and Zack Greinke might be too expensive for the Cubs' tastes, or budget, to sign as free agents this offseason.
Often mentioned as an alternative to those two free agents is Jordan Zimmermann, also a free agent, formerly of the Washington Nationals.
Zimmermann had three very-good-to-excellent years in 2012, 2013 and 2014. His 2015 season, while good, was a step down from those three years. His ERA and WHIP jumped, and his K/9 ratio dropped. It was still a 3.5 bWAR season for Zimmermann, which would have been second to Jake Arrieta among Cubs pitchers (slightly higher than Jon Lester's 3.1).
The thing that gives me pause about signing Zimmermann is the cost. He made $16.5 million in 2015 and is likely to want, at age 29 (he turns 30 in May) a deal similar to the one Lester got. Can the Cubs afford two $150 million deals at once?
Here's another thing about Zimmermann. Look at his baseball-reference page. Check out who his most-similar player is by similarity score.
Yes, that's right -- his Nationals teammate Doug Fister, who is also a free agent. Fister had a rough 2015. He had a forearm injury that took him out of the rotation for a month in May. When he returned he made eight starts and posted a 4.86 ERA, which got him relegated to bullpen duty the rest of the year. But Fister is just one year removed from a 4.5 bWAR year which saw him go 16-6 with a 2.41 ERA and 1.079 WHIP. Fister made $11.4 million in 2015, is two years older than Zimmermann, and might be a good bargain target for Theo & Co.
So... what say you? Zimmermann or Fister? Vote in the poll.