I’ve made no secret about my belief that the very notion that Randy Wells is “competing” for a rotation spot is beyond absurd. Even if basing the decision solely on his “bad” 2010 season, advanced metrics suggest Wells one of the top 30 starters in the NL last year, and was better even than new Cub Matt Garza.
But here we are, and Wells is battling to stay on the big club. And if he doesn’t make the rotation, Wells says he’s headed to AAA Iowa to start.
After starting the third game last year, Wells now finds himself competing for a spot in the rotation. Pitching in relief Saturday against the Padres, Wells threw three scoreless innings. He has not allowed a run in five innings.
Though he’s the favorite to win a spot, Wells acknowledges a worst-case scenario.
“The way I’m looking at it is, yeah, it’s tough to go to Triple-A, but there are worse things,” he said. “This is my job. After a down year, I have to fight for a spot, so it puts things in perspective.”
Wells believes it wasn’t so much a bad season as one poor month.
“It was a bad month,” he said. “I didn’t win in 11 starts, but I pitched some good games.”
Wells went 8-14 with a 4.26 ERA, and had the fourth-lowest run support in the National League. Chicago Tribune.
First things first: what a great freaking attitude. This is a guy who has had two consecutive successful Major League seasons, and he’s not just willing but CONTENT to head back to the minor leagues if that’s what his team deems best.
Second, and more important, is it the right decision to send wells to AAA to start if he doesn’t make the rotation? There are competing thoughts here. On the one hand, if he keeps starting, he’ll remain stretched out, and be ready to step in should another starter on the big club go down. He’s also got options left, so he can be sent to AAA, while trying to do so with a guy who doesn’t make the bullpen like Jeff Samardzija would subject Samardzija to waivers, and the possibility of losing him for nothing. Getting Wells regular work out of the bullpen could also be an issue.
Then again, don’t you do everything you can to ensure you have the organization’s best 25 players on the Major League roster? You cannot convince me that Randy Wells is not a better pitcher, even out of the bullpen, than Jeff Samardzija or James Russell, for example. Wells has been a reliever at times in his career, after all. And stretching him back out to start, should the need arise, would not be a tall task.
I can see both sides, so I probably wouldn’t bitch too hard about either move vis a vis the other move. I would, however, bitch considerably about the fact of the move at all. Randy Wells needs to be in the Cubs’ 2011 rotation.
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