The Cubs have four pitchers competing for the final two bullpen spots.
- Chad Gaudin
- Jeff Samardzija
- Angel Guzman
- Rule 5 Draft pick David Patton
Here’s how I see it going down:
Gaudin, despite a shaky spring, has the positive track record to make the Opening Day roster. Guzman, for experience reasons only, takes the last spot.
Samardzija heads to Triple-A to begin stretching his arm out as a starter and Patton, due to his Rule 5 status, is returned to Colorado.
However, here’s what I would do:
I stick with Gaudin too. Spring numbers mean very little to me and Gaudin may be the savior for Heilman, who I’ve never been high on.
Secondly, give Patton a chance. He’s shown enough this spring to earn a spot in the pen, and what’s the use of taking him in the Rule 5 Draft if he’s returned to Colorado before April 6th?
Guzman is just 26-years-old, of course, but in 33 MLB appearances he’s (0-7) with a 6.00 ERA–not exactly your reliable type.
And although I’d have Samardzija in the rotation from day one, he’s probably best served returning to Iowa as a starter vs. coming out of the bullpen.
Still, no matter how you cut it, this final roster competition highlights the Cubs weakest link to winning a third straight division title.
Marmol-to-Gregg is a wash…the question is how are the Cubs going to get there?
This pen doesn’t last through July and Hendry will eventually need to make a move for improvements.
Believe me; this middle relief conversation is far from over.