Chicago Cubs: Bringing in the big gun of Jose Quintana
The rest of the Cubs team wasn’t exactly off to a great first half last season. They hovered around .500. John Lackey was holding down a spot in the rotation, but he wasn’t pitching as well as he did in 2016.
That water treading – and the struggles of guys like Anderson, Montgomery, Butler and Lackey – ultimately culminated in the Jose Quintana trade. The White Sox southpaw was the young cost controlled starting pitcher the front office has been trying to trade for, for years. Theo and Jed finally got their white whale.
After the Quintana trade, the team played much better. The lefty signified an immediate upgrade in the rotation. But if the Cubs weren’t able to trade for Quintana, this story might not have a happy ending.
If Anderson and Hendricks didn’t get injured, 2017 could have been a missed opportunity for Montgomery and/or Butler to show if they should be in the starting rotation. Letting Hammel go might have accomplished nothing other than saving some money to have an inferior veteran try to eat up some innings.
Still talking about Mike Montgomery – the safety net
Montgomery is currently back in the rotation to fill in for an injured Yu Darvish. Butler beat out Justin Grimm to earn a roster spot during spring training. However, Butler has spent most of this season on the disabled list.
The Cubs probably don’t regret letting Jason Hammel go. If they didn’t let him go and find a replacement for him during the 2017 season, the front office would have been faced with trying to replace Hammel, Lackey and Jake Arrieta‘s spots in the rotation this offseason.
But it didn’t work out because of some simple math such as subtract Hammel and add his replacement. A winner didn’t earn Hammel’s spot in the rotation through an open competition. The Cubs were lucky enough that they were able to go outside of the organization to find, as Theo put it, a “…younger pitcher(s) under multiple years of club control – one who will help us not only in 2017 but also in 2018 and beyond.