Chicago Cubs: A look at the projected 2016 starting lineup
Sep 15, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester (34) celebrates with pitcher Jake Arrieta (49) after a complete game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. The Cubs won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
And last but not least, you have the starting rotation which will feature N.L. Cy Young winner, Jake Arrieta. With the addition of Lackey, this rotation looks a lot stronger than it was in 2015.
Right-hander Jason Hammel wasn’t the same ever since he hurt his back early in the year which revealed consistency issues that leaked over into the playoffs. The bottom half of the rotation is currently up for grabs and could come down to Hammel, Kyle Hendricks, Clayton Richard, and possibly Travis Wood to fight it out for No. 4 and No. 5 during Cactus League play.
Japanese-born Tsuyoshi Wada was released as he made his return back to his homeland to pitch again.
Jon Lester still has some improvement to make beginning in training camp when it comes to pick-off moves and throwing to the bases after fielding a play. He did, however, have a hilarious play in which the ball was stuck in his glove, resulting in him removing it and tossing it over to Rizzo for an out.
Many are concerned that Arrieta could end up slipping following his strong Cy Young campaign. The 29-year-old ace finished the year with a 1.77 ERA, 22-6 record, 0.86 WHIP, and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings of work.
He’s still under team control, but could receive a long-term deal as soon as 2017. That may not sit well with his agent, Scott Boras, who is also representing Kris Bryant.
But for right now, Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs are focused on ending this infamous championship drought.