Spring Training Preview


The 2011 baseball season is quickly approaching, as we are only 41 days away from Pitchers and Catcher reporting to their respective spring training facilities. The Chicago Cubs are heading into spring training with much different expectations that they had in recent years. Since the Cubs won the division in 2007, the Cubs entered each season with the expectations of winning the National League Central crown. However, the expectation for the 2011 season is that the Chicago Cubs will be focused on rebuilding, and developing the young players that make their way to the Major League this year.

One of the biggest position battles to follow in spring training for the Chicago Cubs will be who is going to fill out the rest of their rotation. As of now, the Cubs only have three set pitchers – Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, and Randy Wells- in their starting rotation. Meaning they are going into spring training with the need of finding two more starting pitchers. Candidates for the rotation appear to be Casey Coleman, Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Silva, Tom Gorzelanny, Chris Carpenter, Jay Jackson, Andrew Cashner, and Chris Archer. But, by process of elimination you can get rid of Silva, as he figures to be moved at some point. It is also likely that Archer, Carpenter, and Jackson may all start the year in Iowa before coming to the Cubs. Leaving the Cubs with Coleman, Samardzija, Gorzelanny, and Cashner fighting for two spots. If the Cubs acquire Matt Garza, then you would take out Cashner from the mix as he will be moved back into the rotation. Also with the addition of Garza, the Cubs would then likely trade Tom Gorzelanny.  But for now, both Cashner and Gorzelanny remain two of the four likely candidates to fight for the two open spots in the Cubs rotation. Of the four, I would say that both Gorzelanny and Cashner have the best chances of winning a spot in the rotation. Meaning the Cubs rotation would look like this…

  1. Ryan Dempster
  2. Carlos Zambrano
  3. Randy Wells
  4. Tom Gorzelanny
  5. Andrew Cashner

However, that does not include if the Chicago Cubs were to acquire Garza from the Tampa Bay Rays. With Garza, their would only be one open spot in the Cubs rotation. While the Cubs may want Cashner in the rotation, they will not force him into it. And like I mentioned above, the Cubs would trade Gorzelanny if they acquired Garza. With the addition of Garza, the Cubs rotation may look like this…

  1. Ryan Dempster
  2. Carlos Zambrano
  3. Matt Garza
  4. Randy Wells
  5. Casey Coleman

Unlike the starting rotation, the position player picture is pretty clear. The Cubs essentially have starters at 7 of the 8 positions. The only position that is unclear is the second base position. Heading into the spring training, the belief is that the Cubs second base position is a three headed horse. Jeff Baker, Blake DeWitt, and Darwin Barney all figure to see some playing time at the second base position. However, I do not think Baker will see considerable time as a starter at second base, considering he is best used as a utility man coming off the bench. So essentially the Cubs second base duties will be a two man platoon between Blake DeWitt and Darwin Barney. If Barney hits like he did with the I-Cubs last season, then I would expect him to take over the position on a full time basis.

How are you feeling about the Cubs as spring training is approaching?