I have to admit, it’s going to be an awfully long winter. Sure, El Nino predicts it’s going to be an unusually warm off season and that will help with the baseball starved fans around North America but for Chicago Cubs fans it’s going to be long. The World Series has barely thrown out the first pitch and suddenly there’s rumblings of David Price heading to the North Side. Whether or not that happens, the bottom line is the Cubs need one more pitcher for 2016. In a three game series during the year, every team needs three “Lights Out” starters in their rotation. The Cubs have two.
“I would love to have our entire position group back,” Theo Epstein said the day after the season ended. “I think the competition is good, the depth is great, the redundancy is important, and it’s a significant competitive advantage to have a solution at the ready if something goes wrong. It’s a competitive advantage to make out a lineup tailored for that night’s opposing pitcher. It’s a huge advantage.”
In today’s baseball, that rarely happens. Suddenly, Kyle Schwarber’s name has been tossed around as potential trade bait in order to land that big pitching acquisition. What? Trade the guy who brought you to the post season? He practically carried the team on his back until the New York Mets showed up.
No, the one player that should and will likely be missing in 2016 is Starlin Castro. Sure, he put on the afterburners in the final months but the Cubs have Javier Baez and Addison Russell in the mix. For every good month Starlin has, there’s four months of futility for the veteran shortstop.
The Cubs need that third pitcher to bolster the rotation. Whether that’s David Price, Jordan Zimmermann or James Shields, it’s that one last piece to the championship.
“The lesson to be learned here now is that they’ve learned how to win this season,” Joe Maddon said. “They’ve learned how to win at the Major League level. They were participating in the playoffs, with only four teams left, which is pretty impressive at their point of development. For me, at this point, it’s been one big positive.”
We couldn’t wait for the 2015 season to get here, well now that we know what these Chicago Cubs can do, maybe El Nino should be their third pitcher.