Chicago Cubs: Looking at the Cubs fifth starter — right now

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Put up or shut up?

Back in December, Montgomery expressed his desire to start. It’s understandable that he might prefer to start, rather than appear out of the bullpen, filling out that important and underrated swing-man, sixth starter role. As it pertains to providing reliable innings in relief, and spot starting when the need arises, he’s among the best you can think of.

If Montgomery is in the rotation, the Cubs would have to reconsider who can adequately fill that sixth-man role. Maybe Jen-Ho Tseng gets that opportunity.

If there’s one word you can think of to describe the Cubs and their roster, it’s that they are flexible. Multiple players can play multiple positions — a manager’s dream — and though some players might enjoy it, it’s likely each player really, really likes one position. Their comfort spot.

Imagine a full season?

As a starting pitcher, in scratching the surface, Montgomery was about what you would hope for from a fill-in:

5-5, 4.15 ERA, 1.14 WHIP over 14 starts, 69 1/3 innings in 2017

As a starter for his career:

10-12, 4.20 ERA, 1.28 WHIP over 37 starts, 195 innings

His longest start of 2017 was also one of his best starts. In seven innings against the Pirates, he allowed just one run on six hits. If Montgomery knew he was going to be a starter, only, and could stretch his arm out well in advance like during spring training, that would only help him for the role.


If Montgomery did crack the rotation to start the season, I would consider it a still temporary move. Unless he just takes off. But might the Cubs then have to reconsider a trade for someone such as Chris Archer?

Next: It’s time to take a look at Lance Lynn

The inevitable — or so we may have thought before now — trading of a player off the ML roster might have to be the price to acquire a proven starter.

But that’s a different predicament for another day.

According to Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales not long ago, Joe Maddon said, “(Montgomery) is in the mix for one of the five (spots). If we acquire another (starter), he’ll be one of the six.”

Interesting, isn’t it?