Chicago Cubs: Why a six-man rotation makes perfect sense

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 19: Mike Montgomery
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 19: Mike Montgomery /
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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Insurance in case of injury

Simply put, having a six-man rotation builds in an insurance policy. It protects a team against a disruptive injury to the starting pitching unit. Should one of the six go down, the Cubs shift gears and revert to the traditional five-man set up. It reduces wear-and-tear on each pitcher, further reducing injury risk. It allows for flexibility through shuffling who starts when should such a need emerge.

Looking beyond 2018, employing a six-man rotation provides some flexibility to work a player like Drew Smyly – who should be fully recovered from 2017 Tommy John surgery – into the mix without having to jettison any of their five starters that will currently be under contract in 2019. Youngsters like Adbert Alzolay and Alex Lange – both looking more-and-more pro-ready – may get a turn without massive disruption to the rotation. It allows for spot starts for the likes of Eddie Butler, Jen-Ho Tseng and yes, even Montgomery.

In terms of insurance, a six-man rotation delivers a smorgasbord of value.