After signing left-handed ace Jon Lester to a massive six-year, $155 million deal, the Chicago Cubs solidified and immediately upgraded their starting pitching rotation. However, one of the Cubs most underrated and overlooked aspects has to be the team’s back end of the rotation, compiled of versatility and depth.
Following Lester and right-handers Jake Arrieta and Jason Hammel, Chicago’s last few rotation spots are loaded with a multitude of options. Therefore, spring training should rapidly become intriguing because of the compelling competition.
Hendricks, 25, finished a notable season with a 2.46 ERA and 7-2 record. In 80.1 innings pitched, the right-hander posted a 1.08 WHIP and compiled 47 strikeouts.
Wood however maintained a 5.03 ERA and record of 8-13. In fact, he allowed 97 earned runs and 76 walks in 31 games pitched.
What the Cubs have is something a few other teams do not within their NL Central division, including the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers. Chicago has varying options at the starting pitching position that they may experiment with. And they are also armed with youth.
Turner pitched in just 34.2 innings last season and finished with an ERA of 6.13, therefore the 23-year-old must prove himself in every opportunity he may receive. Turner is one of many players to keep an eye on for improvement in the spring.
Jackson however is one of the most confusing pitchers in the entire league. The 31-year-old compiled a horrific 6.33 ERA and 6-15 record. His future and role with the Cubs is completely uncertain.
Doubront and Wada combined for just 17 games pitched last year. Doubront has shown potential though and is a strikeout machine. The left-hander struck out 51 in 20.1 innings. Doubront also has the edge when it comes to age, as Wada will turn 34 before the start of the season.
Be prepared for an action-packed spring training as the competition and potential intensifies.