As teams progress through the off-season and towards the Rule V draft later in the winter, they generally begin to clear space on their rosters by outrighting players off of the 40 man roster. The Chicago Cubs are no stranger to this process. In fact, this is the type of process that Cubs’ President Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer can use to their advantage. Often times there are talented players being passed through the waiver wire that teams can put a claim on.
Another advantage to the waiver wire is that it provides a potential out for teams looking to rid themselves of disappointing players. This was on display this past week. As the Chicago Cubs were clearing space off the 40 man roster, one of the players that they outrighted was starting pitcher Chris Volstad. Volstad being the pitcher that the Cubs acquired from the Miami Marlins last winter in a trade that sent Carlos Zambrano to South Beach.
Volstad, along with starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija, was one of the most effective pitchers that the Cubs had in Spring Training last season. Volstad’s effort in Spring Training was enough to earn him a spot in the starting rotation to start the 2012 season. Volstad struggled in every opportunity given to him during the 2012 season. Volstad’s struggles reached a point to where he was demoted to Iowa and Travis Wood replace him in the starting rotation. Volstad returned to the Major League rotations towards the concluding months of the 2012 season but was still plagued with struggles. Volstad finished the season with a record of 3 and 12 to go along with an ERA of 6.31.
Volstad, after one season with the Cubs, was on the outside looking in in regards to being a potential candidate for the Cubs’ starting rotation in 2013. In fact, one would have to wonder if Volstad would have even been considered for the Cubs’ starting rotation next season once you consider the idea that he has fallen out of favor with manager Dale Sveum. That is why the Kansas City Royals did the Cubs a favor by claiming Volstad off waivers.
Volstad will now look to rebound with the Royals next season, while the Cubs continue with their rebuild project. One could expect the Cubs to fill Volstad’s spot in the rotation with a veteran free agent starting pitcher.