We’ve wondered for a few weeks now how the Chicago Cubs would accommodate the burgeoning volume of arms they’d like to see get innings before the end of the season. There is evaluation to be had and planning to do, and there’s no better place to do it than at the big league level.
Among the candidates for evaluation: Kyle Hendricks, Tsuyoshi Wada, Jacob Turner, Felix Doubront, Dan Straily, Dallas Beeler, and Eric Jokisch. That’s seven potential starters for the back-end in 2015, which would alone represent a difficult mix to sort out. But the Cubs also have Jake Arrieta, Travis Wood, and Edwin Jackson as starters at the big league level. Jackson’s lat injury took him out of things for now, but there are still more guys than spots.
How will the Cubs sort it out? Well, I’m not sure we know just yet, but today Jed Hoyer suggested on the Kap and Haugh Show on The Game that the Cubs will probably go with a six-man rotation down the stretch to get another guy in the mix.
For now, Hendricks, Wada, and Turner are already in the rotation, and Doubront is set to become the sixth starter (because of a doubleheader) this weekend. Perhaps that’s how the six will shake out for a little while, though Hendricks is getting up there in innings, and Wada is only a year and a half removed from Tommy John Surgery. Perhaps those two see their innings wind down, and there is an opportunity for Straily (he’s at about 150 innings on the year) or Jokisch (he’s at about 160 innings and is Rule 5 eligible this year) or Beeler (about 128 innings).
It’s going to be nearly impossible to accommodate them all without another injury or two, which you’re simply not going to root for. With a six-man rotation, though, the Cubs will be able to do more than they could with just five, especially if they have no plans on shutting anyone else down (for example, Jake Arrieta).
I’m glad to hear that, for now, going with six is the plan.