Chicago Cubs Sign Nate Robertson
In 2006, starting pitcher Nate Robertson started 32 games for the Detroit Tigers posting a record of 13-13 to go along with an ERA of 3.84 while pitching in 208.2 innings that season. It is not a good sign for Robertson that in 2012, I started this article with his 2006 statistics. Reason being, if I used any season after 2006; most of our readers would instantly leave the site rather than reading on a pitcher who has yet to post an ERA below 4.50 since 2006. The reason Robertson is relevant again, or at least to the Cubs’ fans, is because the pitcher has signed with the Chicago Cubs.
According to a report from a Kansas news station, Robertson will be joining the Cubs’ organization. The report did not release the terms of the agreement between Robertson and the Cubs. Though, common sense would suggest that Robertson’s deal with the Cubs is nothing more than a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training.
Robertson’s signings falls under the same category as the signings of Rodrigo Lopez, Andy Sonnanstine, and Ryan Rowland-Smith. President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer have been stockpiling arms in order to prevent what happened to the Cubs during the 2011 season to occur during the 2012 season. We all know that for the most part, the Cubs’ 2011 rotation was the year of the has-beens. Whether it was Doug Davis, Ramon Ortiz, or Lopez; the Cubs put out all kinds of bad via there fourth and fifth starters spot in their rotation. The reason the light was shining on the Cubs’ lack of pitching depth in 2011 was because of early-season injuries to Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner. But with the additions of Travis Wood, Chris Volstad, and the aforementioned insurance policies; the Cubs’ pitching is greatly improved from the 2011 season. Nonetheless, it seems highly unlikely that Robertson, Lopez, Sonnanstine, and Rowland-Smith will remain with the Cubs’ organization past Spring Training.
With that being the case, it is likely that Spring Training will feature a competition between Robertson, Lopez, Sonnanstine, and Rowland-Smith will all compete for rotation spots with the Iowa Cubs. Though if one pitcher in particular shines during the month of March, it is possible that pitcher could make the starting rotation for the Chicago Cubs. Manager Dale Sveum told reporters that there are two opens spots in the Cubs’ rotation. Meaning the four pitchers mentioned above will also competed with Wells, Wood, Volstad, and Jeff Samardzija for a spot in the Cubs’ major league rotation.
It will be interesting to see how the competition plays out. I wouldn’t expect Lopez, Rowland-Smith, Robertson, or Sonnanstine to win either of the two open spots. Rather it is likely that those two spots will be filled by Vosltad, Wood, and/or Wells. Meaning one of those three pitchers in addition to the four pitchers who are in camp on a minor league contract will struggle to find an open spot on the Cubs’ roster. With all this in mind, it would seem that the Cubs’ recent addition of Robertson is nothing more than signing a pitcher to be a camp body. After all, a team can never have enough pitching during Spring Training.