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Sam Is A Starter

By bullpenbrian at 02.26.2009 2 comments.

I’ve been in favor of making Samardzija the No. 5 ever since Jason Marquis was part of the Cubs’ rotation.

However, the last thing I want to see is Samardzija transitioning from the bullpen to the rotation mid-season: think Joba Chamberlain.

There’s simply no need to delay big Sam from the inevitable: the guy is going to be a starting pitcher.

If anything, the right-hander’s large frame (6’5) and power-arm makes him an ideal candidate for the job.

And starting isn’t unfamiliar territory for Samardzija either, he developed through the minors making 54 starts.

Moreover, the kid’s promotion to the big club last July was due in large part to his (4-1) record in six starts with Triple-A Iowa (3.13 ERA).

Add Jeff to the five-hole and it goes a long way in strengthening an already unpredictable rotation.

Ted Lilly is coming off back-to-back seasons of 200+ IP, then there’s Zambrano’s bum shoulder and the enigma that is ‘Hard Knocks’ Harden.

Of course, Chad Gaudin is a likely candidate for the rotation as well – (24-20) in 68 career starts – but I like him better as the pen’s long-man in front of Marmol and Gregg.

Sean Marshall will get a look too, but he’s never impressed me much as a starter and I’d rather prefer his left-handedness during the late innings.

Throw in the off season addition of bullpen arm Luis Vizcaino and it’s another reason Jeff is rotation bound.

Again, the way I see it it’s only a matter of time before Samardzija is a top-of-the-rotation starter, Marquis is long gone, make Samardzija the No. 5.

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  1. bettino says:

    I appreciate your comment about Marshall being more important in a late-inning role. Right now, this team has 3 lefties on their 40-man roster, and Lilly and Marshall could both be starters. If the Cubs have more close contests this year, they’ll need a more sophisticated bullpen. With the exception of Marmol’s slider, it’s basically a pen of hard-throwing right-handers. The NL Central is overrated; Cincinnati is probably the only team with significant left-handed power, excluding one Milwaukee bat. If the Cubs hope to go further in the postseason, they need a dependable situational lefty. I’m not convinced Marshall is that, but neither is Cotts. I don’t think either pitcher has the type of breaking stuff that poses a specific challenge for left-handed hitters. But, if Marshall becomes part of the pen, at least there will be another option to having Marmol face evereybody, regardless of which side of the plate they hit from. Lack of dependable left-handed arms in this bullpen has been the cause of Marmol being used erratically — pitching five straight appearances and then resting four days, etc.

  2. bullpenbrian says:

    Bettino, you’ve offered some solid points here. And I most certainly agree the bullpen situation is largely important for the Cubs to make a long run through the post season; just look at the Phils’ strong pen from a year ago.

    Plus, I’m intrigued by the Curt Schilling news…I’d take Curt over Marshall in the rotation anyday, not to mention, the addition of Schil would also eliminates a solid bullpen arm from bouncing up and down from Triple-A to accommodate the rotation when Harden, or whoever else, encounters a set-back. Thanks for checking out the blog and commenting, my man!

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