While Mike Quade told reporters after his meeting with general manager Jim Hendry that he would have sleep on the final decisions for the 25 man roster, it appears that the Cubs may already have a plan in place to fill out the rotation as well as a spot in the bullpen.
According to Dan Bernstein of 670 the Score, a Cubs source told him that right now the plan is to have Carlos Silva be the fifth starter despite his lackluster performance in Spring Training, and Andrew Cashner will move to the bullpen. Considering that Silva is essentially forced onto the Cubs 25 man roster because of his salary, the Cubs want to get the most production possible out of him. Silva brings more value to a team as a starting pitcher, thus the idea to have him be the fifth starter. Silva is not a permanent mainstay in the rotation, as the source indicated the Cubs will release him if he falters early on in the season.
However, the Cubs also have their reasons for putting Andrew Cashner back in the bullpen. According to the source, the Cubs feel that the back end of the bullpen which includes Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, and Sean Marshall should be able to carry the Cubs. But, they do realize that all three may have periods ineffectiveness whether because of injuries or other reasons. Which is why they want Andrew Cashner in the bullpen as another power arm to ease the pressure off of the other three.
If this is indeed what ends up happening, this would be a foolish move by the Cubs. To begin, Carlos Silva has already proven that he is incapable of being a successful starter for an entire season. It is only a matter of time in which he proves that he is ineffective as a starting pitcher. Meaning it is only a matter of time before the Cubs release him. If the Cubs have an intention of releasing him, why not just do it now instead of waiting till Carlos Silva falters during the regular season. They are almost immediately putting themselves at a disadvantage as they seem to know Silva will not be successful as a starter this season.
As for moving Cashner to the bullpen instead of to Triple A-Iowa where he could work on his skills as a starting pitcher, that is another move in which I do not understand. The Cubs clearly think that Cashner could one day be a top end starter for them. I’d imagine that day is not too far off, but yet the Cubs want him as a reliever this season. That would get rid of any chance of seeing Cashner as a starter this season. The Cubs are not willing to move Cashner back down to the minors, meaning he would not be given the chance to stretch out his arm if the opportunity arrived for him to be a starter this season. Thus putting his transition to starting pitcher back another year.
I thought it was pretty obvious that Andrew Cashner should be the fifth starter, but apparently the Cubs are thinking outside the box.