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Lukewarm Stove: A Couple Bullpen Bits

Chicago Cubs Rumors

Chicago Cubs beat writer Carrie Muskat took to her mailbox recently, and offered up, among other things, a couple interesting pieces of information regarding the 2011 Cubs’ bullpen. Specifically, she addressed the possible return of Kerry Wood, and the role of Andrew Cashner.


Of seeing Wood as a Cub in 2011, Muskat was dismissive.

Wood’s contract includes a club option of $11 million. That’s not cheap. As much as the Cubs would like another veteran pitcher in the bullpen, he’s not on their radar.

It’s surprising to hear, a season after the Cubs struggled mightily to bridge the gap in the late innings to Carlos Marmol, that the Cubs aren’t interested in Wood. Despite a rocky start to the season in Cleveland, Wood was brilliant after a mid-season trade to the Yankees – his ERA+? A hilarious 625.


Of course, when taken together with his seasons in Cleveland, it’s hard to imagine Wood getting a huge contract. You’d have to believe he’d see something like two years, and $10 million as his ceiling. Then again, the Cubs extended John Grabow for two years, and $7.5 million, so I guess you never know.

As for Andrew Cashner – who will almost certainly be the subject of a great deal of debate this Winter – Muskat sees him remaining in the bullpen, rather than returning to a starting role.

Cashner was used as a starter in the Minor Leagues, but I think he’s staying in the bullpen for now, using his 99 mph fastball and improving offspeed stuff to set up Carlos Marmol.


While the move would be understandable – in a late inning role in September, his ERA was 1.80, and his K/9 was over 10 (though the WHIP was 1.40, we’ll try to keep it positive) – it is natural to question whether Cashner would be of more value to the Cubs as a starter.

In general, a good starter is worth quite a bit more than a good reliever. But perhaps Cashner simply pitches better out of the pen, when he can let it all fly. We may never know.



Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.