Chicago Cubs: How much longer do we let Tyler Chatwood start?

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /
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After another abysmal performance from Tyler Chatwood, the Chicago Cubs have to be strongly considering another option in the starting rotation.

Imagine that. Another day, another horrendous outing from Tyler Chatwood. Halfway through the first season of a three-year, $39 million deal, what was once considered a potential steal looks more like lighting a barrel of money on fire if you’re the Chicago Cubs.

Looking to give his team a chance to take two of three against Cincinnati Saturday, the right-hander’s afternoon started in inauspicious fashion. He uncorked a pair of wild pitches, allowing the Reds to take a 2-0 advantage before Chicago even got the bats in their hands.

It really didn’t get better from there. When the dust settled and the book closed on Chatwood, it read as follows: a career-high 120 pitches (I half-think Joe Maddon was hoping his arm would fall off), 5 2/3 innings pitched, seven earned runs on nine hits, four walks, four strikeouts and the two aforementioned wild pitches.

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Not exactly the stuff that leaves your teammates feeling like you’ll give them a chance to win. Thankfully, they ignored what he ‘contributed’ and made it happen regardless.

Cut your losses – sooner, not later

Let me make this perfectly clear: there is no way the Cubs should hand Chatwood the ball again before the All-Star Game. At least not as a starting pitcher. I don’t care about the contract. Winning trumps everything – and that’s something this front office understands.

Duane Underwood, Michael Roth, Rob Zastryzny – any of these guys pose a better option than Chatwood right now. After this latest train wreck of a start, there’s nothing left to gain by trotting him out every five days.

The worst part? Most of his struggles are self-inflicted. Wild pitches, walked batsmen – they all add up. Chatwood has taken the ball 16 times this year for the Cubs. His team somehow won half of those contests. He pitched six innings or more in just three of those starts and he’s walked five or more batters nine times.

This has to stop.

If Yu Darvish were healthy and doing what the Cubs signed him to do, this problem would be a lot easier to solve. Chatwood could head to the pen as a long man, Mike Montgomery steps in and, boom, you’re set. But with Darvish sidelined for God only knows how long and Monty already filling that void, a trade seems all but a foregone conclusion.

Next: What is it about the Reds the Cubs can't solve?

We looked at some options earlier this weekend – and touched on Theo’s comments about the team’s deadline strategy. With three weeks till the deadline, we don’t yet know how it will all shake out. But this latest clunker from Tyler Chatwood cements the Cubs’ need for a quality back-end starting pitcher before the end of the month.