GUEST POST | Josh Helms
How will the Cubs’ rotation shake out now that the team has seven serviceable starters?
Garza and Samardzija are the only pitchers from the 2012 staff who are assured spots in the starting rotation. And let’s assume newly signed Edwin Jackson (4-years, $52 milliom) will be in the rotation come opening day, as well.
This leaves two starting spots left with four pitchers in the mix: Scott Baker, Scott Feldman, Carlos Villanueva and Travis Wood.
Baker, recovering from TJS, is reportedly scheduled to be ready for full-time duty come spring training. But if we proceed with caution on Baker, that narrows the list down to three pitchers for the final two spots.
Wood holds a slight advantage over the field as the only left-hander, which could very well be enough to make him the No.4 starter. Behind Wood is either Feldman or Villanueva. Neither pitched as full-time starters last season, but both specifically signed with the Cubs in the hopes earning a full-time starting role.
So it’s likely Feldman and Villanueva battle it out this spring for the final rotation spot with the loser headed to a bullpen as a spot starter.
From this perspective the Cubs would break spring camp with the following rotation (not necessarily in this order): 1.Garza, 2.Samardzija, 3.Jackson, 4.Wood…5.Feldman/Villanueva, and 6.Baker as the wild card depending on his recovery.
Meanwhile, the speculation of the Cubs trading Garza is alive and well, but a trade is unlikely until Garza can prove he’s healthy after suffering the elbow injury that ended his season last July.
If that means the Cubs are stuck showcasing Garza for a few months, it’s all the better for the rotation. And as a nice change of pace the Cubs should actually have enough pitching depth to replace Garza with a quality arm (not an ace arm) if he’s dealt.
Potential trades and unforeseen injuries are certain to alter the pitching landscape as we get closer to the regular season. But it’s a reassuring sign the Cubs will be better this year knowing they have more good arms than available rotation spots.
- Josh Helms is a husband and father of two. He has served in the US Army since 2002 and is currently stationed at FT Carson, CO. Josh originally hails from Byron, IL. His favorite player as a child was Ryne Sandberg, and by default, he became a Cubs fan/sufferer.