Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Cubs' 2010 rotation?

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Consider Randy Wells for a minute. And then consider the Cubs' rotation for 2010.

``I don't know where we'd be without him,'' teammate Milton Bradley said after Wells beat Houston tonight to become the franchise's first rookie since Kerry Wood in '98 to win 10 games.

Wells (10-7, 2.90) is a converted catcher who languished in the minors until the Toronto Blue Jays made him a Rule 5 pick before last season - then returned him to the Cubs when they didn't think he was worth keeping on their 25-man roster.

He eventually made his Cubs debut last September, pitching 4 1/3 hitless innings until a stress fracture was discovered in his pitching arm and he was shut down.

Talk about tough.

Here, by the way, are the other pitchers who have won 10 games for the Cubs as rookies over the past 40 seasons:

Burt Hooton, 1972 (11 wins)
Rick Reuschel, 1972 (10)
Mike Harkey, 1990 (12)
Geremi Gonzalez, 1997 (11)
And Wood, 1998 (13)

With six more starts projected, Wells has a chance to surpass all of them.

He doesn't try to do anything fancy, doesn't have Wood fastball or a Marmol slider, says he understands how to be successful pitching in part because he knows how hard it is to hit from his catching days, and has three more wins in one fewer start than your Opening Day starter, the Z man.

``We've been impressed with him,'' said Lou after the game. ``He's a serious-minded kid that goes about his business and competes really well.''

And you can lock him into next April's rotation, along with the toughest competitor on the team, Ted Lilly, and the guy who's leadership and $52 million contract aren't going anywhere, Ryan Dempster.

That leaves free agent Rich Harden, enigmatic, $91.5 million, no-trade-owning Carlos Zambrano and depth lefties Sean Marshall and Tom Gorzelanny to fill the rotation.

How should Ricketts and Hendry proceed with that crew? Should they implore Zambrano to waive his no trade and try to trade him? Should they bring Harden back or let him walk? Should they give the ball back to Marshall every fifth day? Or Gorzelanny?

Or is this pool still a starter short of a championship-contender rotation?

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I think Angel Guzman should have a chance to earn a starting spot next spring. He still uses all of his pitches and right now I would definitely take him over Samardzija.

Well, considering the down year that Dempster is having (and he is still above .500) I think that he, along with Wells and Lilly are 3 good reasons to be optimistic about next year. As for Zambrano, someone needs to pull him to the side and let him know that unless he is able to demonstrate some composure and some discipline, both on and off the field (i.e., lose some weight and regain focus on PITCHING) he will no longer be considered the ace and will start the season as the team's #5 starter. The fourth spot in the rotation should go to Harden unless he is asking over $10 million per year...then let him go and find someone better for the same price. Hell, if the Cubs were smart this year they would have let Dempster go, kept Marquis, and signed Sabathia (hell, he is well paid, but not too much more than Dempster is per year). That would have been a good rotation. But, what do I or any of you all know? We are only fans that live and die (emphasis on die) with this Cubby team year after year.

Since trading Dempster would be impossible as well, thanks to Hendry overpaying once again, i'd definitely push Zambrano to waive the no-trade, and see if some team might bite. He'd probably only consider waiving the clause for a N.L. team, so i'm sure that would make it harder, but i'd try. I try to resign Harden also, but i explain these ridiculous contracts of the past are over. My idea would be, to overpay in dollars if i had to, but only for short term contracts. To Harden for example, perhaps 25 mil. for 2 seasons. If 52 mil. and 4 years to a 35 yr. old Dempster didn't teach Hendry anything, then nothing can. That was an outrageous amount for basically a one yr. wonder, who's nearing the end of his playing years.

If i'm Rickett in fact, i have no qualms at all about getting rid of Hendry. The guy just doesn't know how to negotiate at all. I'm sure these player agents love dealing with the guy, as he overpays worse than anyone there is. If the contract i offer a player, is one in which i think would be untradable, i don't sign the guy, period. Perhaps an exception could be made for an Albert Pujois, but that would be the only one.

ROD... Dempster just turned 32 in May. I hardly think that is old for a pitcher and in no way is he nearing the end of his playing career. Provided that he doesn't have major arm problems in the near future.

This is a perfect example of why most fans are loud mouthed morons. They can't even bother to get some basic facts straight before the they bash the players and the team that they as suppose to be rooting for.


If you can actually get good value without eating his contract you should move Z. I just don't think anybody will give you enough in return and take on his contract.

I also would make D-Lee available.

I wish people would stop commenting on how Angel Guzman should be a starter. Angel Guzman, if you have followed his career, suffers from cramps to muscles in his arms the longer he pitches in a game. He was a starter almost all of his minor league career and every year would be disabled due to the same injury every year. He cannot pitch more than 2-3 innings a game and often needs rest between appearances. The Cubs know this, it has been documented in the papers many times, but so called fans continue to say, "Let's start Guzman". The bullpen is where he will remain.

The whole dempster signing was a disaster if i was the only one who believed that last year was a fluke and that a 35yr old man was worth 52 million for his once in a lifetime career year then wow. for the money we spent on him we couldve got jake peavy. Zambrano is a cancer always will be if we could get anything for him great addition by subtraction get rid of thats ridiculous contract and go after a brandon webb if available and if healthy or y not give the mariners a call and be bold and get a felix hernandez or call the royals and inquire bout greinke both on bad teams time to be bold were the chicago cubs for god sakes we scalp are own tickets dont tell me we cant afford these guys u trade what ever u got to 2 get these guys. its time chicago produced a championship and with dempster and the almighty cancer big z will never lead us to a championship NEVER.

The rotation should be:


With Samard/Marshall/Gorzelany as fill-ins. Marshall has been excellent out of the pen, but would compete for the fifth spot if Harden is not resigned. Signing Harden would be nice, but also wouldn't mind seeing the Cubs in getting a descent SS or 2nd, moving Theriot to the open position. Marmol is the closure and no need to spend money there.

Lilly is definately the ace of this club. He is the only guy, from what I saw in 2009, that could even be considered an ace. Sure, Big Z had a two hit shut-out against the Giants, but the first part of the season wasn't his best. He's better than that. He has had control and ANGER problems all season. With Lilly being the ace of the club, you put our best right hander, Ryan Dempster on the hill. He has had some fantastic outings this year. Then you make Zambrano the third spot. He will cool down and come out stronger next year, and I see him throwning some more relaxed games. You have to put Wells in the fourth spot. This kid is unbelievable. Throught the first half of the regular season, Randy should have only had one loss. He has great pitches and he is under control. When he is on the mound, the ball game is going at his pace. Now the fifth spot. Well there are three guys in my mind that could fill those spots (or at least compete for them). If Rich Harden does resign, then please put him in. He throws strikes and throws them hard. Tom Gorzelany will help the ball club as a middle reliever more than anything. As for Sean Marshall, he should be in contention for the fifth spot if Harden does walk. Same thing for Angel Guzman. I liked what I saw from these guys. Good stuff. Marmol will maintain his closer role, because I don't care what critics say, this guy is good. If he goes out there, and has his control and is on top of his pitches, he is unstoppable. He doesn't give up hits, it's as simple as that. So for those of you who don't want to read this, here it is in short..

1) Ted Lilly
2) Ryan Dempster
3) Carlos Zambrano
4) Randy Wells
5) Rich Harden/ Sean Marshall/ Angel Guzman

Closer- Carlos Marmol

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on September 1, 2009 11:36 PM.

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