andrew carpenterChicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum said something interesting earlier this week when asked about the depth of his rotation in light of the delayed start to the season for Matt Garza and Scott Baker.

Essentially, Sveum was asked, if Garza and Baker are out, and if Travis Wood and Carlos Villanueva are his fourth and fifth starters, who would his sixth starter be. Instead of going with guys like Brooks Raley, Chris Rusin, or Alberto Cabrera, Sveum offered non-roster invitee, Drew Carpenter.

“Carpenter would be first in line, really,” Sveum said of the rotational pecking order after the obvious seven starters, per the Tribune.

It’s interesting not only that Carpenter is next in line, but also that he’s being considered as a starter at all. Here were my initial thoughts back when he signed with the Cubs on a minor league deal in December:

Carpenter, 27, is a big reliever who broke into the bigs with the Phillies as a 23-year-old back in 2008. From there, he never really got a chance to stick in the bigs before doing the wavier wire shuffle for the last couple years. In that regard, he is the consummate Spring Training invite, where he’ll compete for a bullpen spot.

Carpenter, a second round pick back in 2006, was a starter for most of his career in the minors. In that role, he was just OK, but in the last couple years, he has seemed to flourish in the bullpen (including a 2011 stint with Ryne Sandberg’s Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, in which he threw 60.1 innings with a 1.79 ERA, 0.978 WHIP, a 9.7 K/9 and a 1.6 BB/9. He was silly good. But, of course, he was a 26-year-old in AAA).

Carpenter hasn’t been a full-time starter since 2010, although he has made some starts in the minors in the last couple years (without a great deal of success). Perhaps the Cubs think they see something in Carpenter’s approach that they can utilize to help him succeed as a starter this year. He’s not likely to make the Cubs out of Spring Training, so it’s a fair assumption that they’re penciling him into the Iowa rotation, which already has the potential to be quite crowded. In other words, I don’t see the Cubs sending Carpenter down to start at Iowa unless they believe he can actually be a better emergency starter guy than the Justin Germano/Jason Berken types they picked up late last year (and better than whomever he would displace in the Iowa rotation). Otherwise, they’d just let him focus on being a quality reliever in Iowa.

Let’s hope the Cubs suffer no additional injuries in the rotation, and this remains a completely academic discussion.

  • JR

    The Cubs go from having the deepest starting pitching staff to having Drew Carpenter as their 6th starter before the season even starts. Wow…

    • ETS

      hyperbole much?

    • JR

      I don’t see much “hyperbole”. They may not have been the deepest rotation, but they had to be close. Now we got this dude, Carpenter in the mix if someone goes down. Just saying…

      • DarthHater

        The appearance depends entirely on how one frames the situation. It was entirely obvious that the Cubs had respectable 7 starting options and then a huge drop-off. Two guys are injured. That means the current number 6 option has to come from the huge drop-off category. Nothing to “wow” about, if you ask me.

        • DarthHater

          *7 respectable starting options*

  • Peter

    So much for a deep rotation, jeez, can this fucking team stop being so pathetic?

    • tim815

      It’s better than last year, which was better than the year before.

    • RoughRider

      Go home and wash your mouth out with soap.

  • cubchymyst

    Canidates for Iowa starting rotation that I can come up with are Cabrera, Raley, Rusin, Vizciano (the inning limit might keep him from being a large part of the rotation) Loux, and Struck. I know I am missing other but who are they.

    • Brett

      Jokisch, Beeler, McNutt (though I think he’s going to stay in the pen), Rhee, and Negrin are all possibilities.

      • cubchymyst

        Thanks for the response. So 11 players, include Vizciano and McNutt. Would they consider piggy backing starts or use a 6 man rotation in the minors?

        • tim815

          Vizcaino will be on the 60 Day DL. He will start in Mesa at extended spring training. He will stay there for, presumably, a few months. In June or early July, he will begin rehab, visiting sites in the talent pipeline. By late-July/early August, he will reach Wrigley, and be a ‘controlled-innings’ style pitcher, readying for 2014.

  • #23

    Not sure why people can’t make comments without using the strong language. Teens and kids follow this site too. Just something to keep in mind.

    • dash

      I’m not a teen or a kid, but I don’t like the profanity, either. Thanks, #23.

    • DarthHater


    • Carne Harris

      I think profanity on the site is something for you to keep in mind while you’re monitoring your child’s internet usage. Expecting posters on a predominantly adult sports site to censor themselves because of your kid is unrealistic at best. If it somehow works, though, I take it all back and ask everyone not to mention sports bras or sexually aggressive mailmen as my Aunt Mary reads the site. We’ll start a list.

      • King Jeff

        I’m going to have to ask Brett to reconsider using “cat’s pajama’s” as a comical reference. My cat reads this site, and doesn’t find anything funny at all about a cat being forced by some overbearing owner to wear some crappy little pair of pajamas. My cat is highly offended by your usage of this phrase, Just something to keep in mind.

        • Carne Harris

          Thinking about forcing a cat to wear pajamas somehow brought to mind that Goodbye Horses song from Silence of the Lambs. Not sure I’m proud of that.

  • #23

    Brett, is Bowden still considered a possibility for the bullpen? Why would he not have the edge as a possible 6th starter?

  • dan

    Thanks 23 well said my kid does read this daily

    • Morken

      Why would you allow your child to read this site, if you oppose the language being expressed on it?