Chicago Cubs: Once Darvish returns, Cubs have questions to answer
Right now, the Cubs have the following starting five: Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana, Tyler Chatwood and Mike Montgomery. The ace? Lester. Hendricks and Quintana are yet to pitch up to expectations, while Chatwood increasingly looks like the reincarnation of Edwin Jackson.
More from Cubbies Crib
- Cubs should keep close eye on non-tender candidate Cody Bellinger
- Cubs starting pitching has been thriving on the North Side
- Make no mistake: the Cubs are very much about power hitters
- Cubs are giving pitcher Javier Assad a deserved shot
- Cubs: It’s time to start thinking about potential September call-ups
The biggest question mark, though, is the team’s offseason prize, Yu Darvish. He hasn’t pitched in two months and nobody really seems to know what the issue is in his $126 million right arm. For all we know, he’ll be back a couple weeks after the All-Star Break. Or, he won’t throw another pitch this season.
Let’s play hypotheticals
So, for argument’s sake, let’s say the Cubs pulled off a deGrom trade in the next two weeks. Then, in a month, Darvish returns from the disabled list. At least at face value, I’d assume Chatwood and Montgomery head to the bullpen. But, then, you have to consider the financial implications.
The club inked Chatwood to a three-year, $39 million deal this offseason. That’s a lot of money to shell out to a fifth starter – let a lone a long man in the pen. Montgomery would be easier to solve. The Cubs may opt to stick with six starters – or shift him back to the pen, where he’s spent most of his time in Chicago.
All told, it’s a big question mark. No one knows how this would play out. For all we know, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer may line up a subsequent deal to make something with deGrom work. But they’d risk weakening the team’s pitching depth in doing so – and, in doing nothing, they have a logjam in the starting rotation.