Position Battles: 5th Starters Spot


Today is the start of a week long series at Cubbies Crib, in which I will examine all the position battles that will be going on in spring training. First up, is the fifth starters spot.

The Candidates

Jeff Samardzija

-25 years old, right handed pitcher

– Career record of 2-3, with a 5.20 ERA

Sean Marshall

27 years old, left handed pitcher

– Career record of 19-29, with a 4.55 ERA

Carlos Silva

– 30 years old, right handed pitcher

– Career record of 60-64, with a 4.72 ERA

Tom Gorzelanny

– 27 years old, left handed pitcher

– Career record of 29-28, with a 4.87 ERA

So, there you have it, one of those four pitchers will be the Cubs fifth starter. Lou Piniella has not hinted at who the favorite is, but I would have to say that the leaders maybe Jeff Samardzija or Carlos Silva.

Samardzija, worked this off-season on developing an off speed pitch, so that is going to be something to watch in spring training. Because if he can utilize an off speed pitch he probably will be the fifth starter coming out of camp.

Silva on the other hand, is still trying to return to the form he was in when he was with the Twins in 2007. Since then, Silva has been considered by many to be the worst pitcher in the majors as he went a combined 5-18 with a 7.53 ERA over the past two year with the Mariners. But the Cubs believe that by fixing a flaw they saw in his delivery, he will once again command a good sinker, which would benefit him in Wrigley. It should be noted that Silva has shown an improvement in velocity this off-season.

As for Marshall and Gorzelanny, I expect that Marshall will be used in the bullpen, and Gorzelanny will probably start the year in Iowa.