Will the Cubs bring back Carlos Villanueva in 2015?


Veteran pitcher Carlos Villanueva started out the year in the starting rotation for the Chicago Cubs, but was later demoted and moved to the bullpen after struggling during his first couple outings of the season.

In just the month of April, Villanueva was hammered by opposing teams, giving up a total of 21 runs (20 earned) off 38 hits and two home runs. His shortest outing of the month came against the St. Louis Cardinals where the Red Birds would plate nine runs off 10 hits (one home run) in just three innings of work.

Villanueva’s (5-7, 4.64 era) next outing would come against the Cincinnati Reds on April 20. Cincinnati forced him out of the game in 4 2/3 innings, recording five runs off nine hits but managed to record his season in strikeouts with seven on the day.

Now there’s no question that the Cubs will be looking to improve both their starting rotation and bullpen in hopes of contending for the NL Central in 2015. They have the opportunity to pick up club options for Kyuji Fujikawa, Tsuyoshi Wada, and Jacob Turner during the off-season, but will more than likely cut ties with two of the three.

Villanueva, 30, who is a free agent this off-season, signed a two-year contract worth $10 million with the Cubs after the 2012 season. It was the biggest contract of his career ($5 mil per year) as he was picking up $2.27 and $1.415 million in Toronto between 2011-2012.

His slightly improve after the month of April while working out of the bullpen – finishing the year with a total of 19 runs (18 earned) off 46 hits (3 HRs), 16 walks, and 52 strikeouts across 53 1/3 innings of work.

Keeping Villanueva on board wouldn’t necessarily hurt the club in the long run – it would just have to come down to what he would be willing to take in order to return to the North Side of Chicago.