The addition of Scott Feldman on Tuesday shores up the Cubs’ minimal starting pitching needs this offseason and actually gives Chicago a respectable rotation behind Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood and Scott Baker.
“We’d have liked him back, but he got a better opportunity, I won’t be surprised to see him have a big year.” -Rangers GM Jon Daniels on Feldman.
It’s another step forward to increasing the odds the Cubs avoid another 100-loss season, but re-tooling the rotation is far from over.
There’s still the possibility Garza is dealt during the Winter Meetings next week in Nashville, and the jury’s still out on Shark and Wood improving on last season.
There’s also no telling how long it will take Baker to bounce back from Tommy John surgery, if at all, and can Feldman sustain an entire season as a starter?
Per the usual, lots of question remain.
Arodys Vizcaino (acquired from Atlanta for Reed Johnson & Paul Maholm) is recovering from TJS in March and is another potential starting option, especially if Garza is dealt.
In theory it appears the Cubs finally have some decent rotation depth, but that’s assuming the progression of the arms-in-waiting go as planned; and precisely why Team Theo will try to fetch more starting pitching during the Winter Meetings next week.
Even if the Cubs come up empty in Nashville we at least know the rotation is better heading into 2013 than it finished in 2012, at least on paper.
Ultimately the Cubs’ starting rotation still poses more questions than answers, and will remain as such while trade opportunities, injuries and slumps continually shape the starting five through next season.
But that’s life for a rebuilding team. Every question can’t be answered immediately.