Chicago Cubs: Justin Grimm and obsolescence by design

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Failed starter? Take a shot as a reliever

This is partly why Mike Montgomery vented his desire to either start or be traded. It’s his last season before arbitration. He knows starters are rewarded better in arbitration than swingmen. Plus he’d love three years after that to reach free agency with a bankable arm in tack.

Ironically, the modern draft approach of most major league teams have mostly deepened the downward relief spiral. Drafting and developing players is a costly and risky business, and teams feel they can hedge these by drafting more max-throwing, high-K starting pitchers.

The thinking is, even if they fail as starters, the organization might reap some returns by converting them into shorter-lasting relief assets. Since the goal is getting players to the majors, organizations then feel they get two bites at the apple with a max-throwing prospects.

This, though, has devalued finding and signing the next generation of less injury-prone, innings-eating command pitchers like Mark Buehrle, Andy Pettitte and Greg Maddux. Thus All-Star-quality command pitchers like Kyle Hendricks and the Phillies’ Aaron Nola now seem as rare as knuckleballers.