As expected, the addition of Matt Garza has thrown the expected Chicago Cubs’ rotation into a bit of a tizzy. We know that the front three will be some combination of Garza, Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster, but after that, all bets are off. Tom Gorzelanny, Randy Wells, Carlos Silva, Andrew Cashner, Jeff Samardzija, and Casey Coleman (at least – there are a couple youngsters you could arguably throw in) are six guys for two spots. That means that some will end up in the bullpen, some will end up in the minors, and some will end up on other teams.
To that end, Bruce Levine offered a number of rumors and thoughts on the rotation in his weekly chat:
- The consensus is that Cashner will be a starter in Spring Training, with a very real shot of earning one of the back two rotation spots.
- The Cubs are still hearing from teams on Gorzelanny, as many as five, including the Orioles and Tigers. I also have it on good authority that the Rangers are still interested in Gorzelanny. My thought? Don’t expect to see Gorzelanny with the Cubs in 2011.
- Levine guesses that the fourth and fifth starters will be Cashner and Samardzija, but he bases this conclusion primarily on the fact that Samardzija is out of options, and Randy Wells – the 22nd most valuable starting pitcher in the NL last year – is not. Can you really see Wells being sent down to AAA next year? I can’t, and the Cubs would be very, very mistaken to do so. At worst, Wells should be in the bullpen. At worst.
- Carlos Silva will get a shot to remain in the rotation, but only if he shows up to Spring Training in good shape (which was a problem last year; though, he pitched so well to start the year, I’d have to openly wonder: maybe he pitches better when he’s out of shape…).