Monday, November 29, 2010

Who told the Cubs they need a starting pitcher?

All we have right now are rumors…and weak rumors. But for the most part, rumors involving the Cubs right now revolve around them adding a starting pitcher.


Starting pitching was not a problem area for the Cubs last year and on a team with such gaping holes at first base and in the lineup, it seems ridiculous for them to be focusing on a starting pitcher at this time. At least a couple of times now we’ve heard the Cubs connected to each of the following pitchers:
Jeremy Bonderman
Brandon Webb
Aaron Harang
Javier Vazquez
Vincente Padilla
Kevin Millwood

With all the financial restrictions that the Cubs have right now, and the fact that the minor leagues really have no potential fill-in at first base, it seems like a mistake that the Cubs would be looking for a player in a position where they potentially already have 5 players competing.

As it stands right now, the Cubs have locked in place the following starting pitchers:

Carlos Zambrano
Ryan Dempster
Randy Wells
Carlos Silva

The list, the potential 5th starters includes:
Tom Gorzelanny
Thomas Diamond
Casey Coleman
Sean Marshall
Jeff Samardzija
Heck, they’ve also continued to talk about trying to make Andrew Cashner a starter (which is what his primary role has been in the minor leagues).

While Randy Wells and Carlos Silva might not be the most ideal 3 and 4 pitchers in baseball, both of these guys have been very serviceable to this point. Between Diamond, Gorzelanny, Marshall and Coleman, the Cubs potentially have a 5th starter that would be above average.

Last year people kept talking about how badly the Cubs needed another starter. The Cubs didn’t listen, and rightfully so. Starting pitching wasn’t a problem for the Cubs in 2009…and it wasn’t again in 2010. Based on the personnel in place right now, this likely isn’t going to be an issue in 2011 either.

Hitting is the problem. Defense is the problem. The bullpen is the problem.

As much as I railed against Carlos Zambrano in 2010, he finished 11-6 with a 3.33 ERA.
Dempster was 15-12 with a 3.85 ERA.
Silva…10-6 with a 4.22 ERA.
And Wells, 8-14 with a 4.26 ERA.

My friends…this isn’t too bad. It’s not nearly as good as a team like St. Louis…but, believe it or not, it compares well with the Phillies or the Reds…two other teams that played very well in 2010. The Cubs had the most quality starts in the National League last year yet they only won 75 games. That tells me that they didn’t score enough runs and didn’t play well defensively.

Focus on fixing that, and maybe the starting pitching will appear to be as good as it actually is.