If the Cubs were going to go to a five-man rotation upon the arrival of Cole Hamels, this is unquestionably the “right” decision at this moment. I just gotta be honest, I wasn’t sure they were going to do it.
The Cubs have set up the rotation to be Kyle Hendricks tomorrow, Jon Lester on Tuesday, Cole Hamels on Wednesday, and Mike Montgomery on Thursday. Tyler Chatwood, then, heads to the bullpen.
Given Chatwood’s complete inability to throw strikes right now, the Cubs could not be justified in continuing to allow him to take starts in a five-man rotation while bumping Montgomery to the bullpen. In a few weeks, as Montgomery’s innings build? If they want to give him a break? Well, then maybe. For now, though, this is how things should have played out. (Well, unless you were going to do a six-man, which the Cubs still could in a few weeks.)
How will Chatwood fare in the bullpen? Well, I’m not so sure it matters. He’s pitched in relief before, but I think with the Cubs, he’ll mostly be working on his issues on the side, and used in very low-leverage, multi-inning spots. It’s kind of a placeholder position for him – and you see how he and the rotation sort themselves out. Maybe something just clicks in the process, or maybe it takes the offseason to get him back into the right mechanical setup and the right frame of mind.