Mike Napoli lands a contract before Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb

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CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Mike Napoli #26 of the Cleveland Indians breaks his bat during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

As February winds down, a big-name free agent signed a contract Tuesday morning, but it wasn’t the name most were expecting.

Veteran slugger Mike Napoli signed a minor-league contract with the Cleveland Indians. Once he passes a physical, Napoli, 36, is expected to join the Indians’ major-league camp.

That leaves prized starting pitchers Arrieta, Cobb and Lance Lynn still seeking employment.

Cubs fans should keep a close eye on the Arrieta, Cobb and Lynn situations.

Two key National League Central rivals — the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers — are in need of starting pitching. Seeing Arrieta in either of those uniforms would be shocking to Cubs fans.

And the Washington Nationals — expected to be an NL playoff foe again for the Cubs — are still looking to bolster their rotation.

If Cubs fans want to root for a team in these pitching sweepstakes, keep an eye on the Baltimore Orioles. They are aggressively pursuing starting pitching and are said to have been in recent contact with reps of Arrieta, Cobb and Lynn.

Opening Day is less than a month away.


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