After swirling and conflicting reports yesterday with respect to the final makeup of the Chicago Cubs’ pitching staff, the verdict is in: Andrew Cashner will open the season as the Cubs’ fifth starter, and Marcos Mateo – not Carlos Silva – will grab the final bullpen spot.
What this means for Silva remains to be seen, but, according to Carrie Muskat, the Cubs intend to trade Silva. If that’s not possible, they’ll ask Silva to accept an assignment to AAA Iowa where he will serve as insurance.
As for Cashner, the Cubs have wanted him to grab the fifth starter spot all Spring, and if he’s going to be the guy, I’m quite pleased they announced it before his start today, so he can work on whatever he deems most important (rather than try to perform his best).
Mateo, who turns 27 in a couple weeks, has been impressive this Spring (though mostly in late innings against minor leaguers), holding a 1.29 ERA over seven innings. He’s allowed just six baserunners and struck out nine.