Chicago Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon has left things open as far as if he’ll go with another bat or another arm in the bullpen. While historically, Maddon likes to carry the extra pitcher there are plenty of guys making noise in camp.
When the Chicago Cubs and Joe Maddon talked about carrying an extra hitter or an extra pitcher, it wasn’t as cut and dry as we may have thought. While Maddon has always liked to have an extra pitcher in the bullpen, he didn’t discount keeping another position player.
While that seems a bit much for the number of innings the Cubs’ pitchers seem to need the beginning of the year, many things could come into play with why Maddon has this thought process. Pedro Strop‘s health is one of them. And if he’ll be able to go at the start of the season. But there are a couple of other factors to weigh.
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Who on fire?
The first is the hot spring several of the Cubs are having. Now, our Jacob Misener pointed out that the level of competition isn’t “major league” ready.
But it doesn’t take away from the fact that Mike Freeman and Ryan Court are tearing it up in the minors. Add those names to that of Peter Bourjos, and the Cubs have several qualified guys to choose from.
Another factor could be how good the pitching staff has been thus far this spring. The Cubs have a 3.46 ERA from the starters, and that includes the guys that might not still be up yet.
The “regular” starters are pitching to the tune of a 2.84 ERA. Maybe Maddon hopes to ride the starters early, giving them a break along the way?
"“Everybody is making it difficult,” Maddon said. “It’s a combination of skill, guys who have done it before and how they fit in. It’s really important to fit in here now, and they all fit.”"
Strop’s health heading into the season will be paramount to what the Cubs decide to do. If he isn’t ready, the Cubs will likely go with a pitcher (possibly Eddie Butler) and a position player. If Strop is good to go, it’ll be anyone’s guess as Maddon isn’t divulging any secrets to this point.
The Cubs are by all means in a good position as they look to break camp with so many players performing well. The downside of that is picking the ones that deserve to be on the team, and sending the other ones to camp–or worse–releasing them.