Chicago Cubs need bullpen help, but boast several bounceback candidates

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Will the real Tyler Chatwood please stand up?

Looking at Yu Darvish, it stands to reason that, when healthy, he’ll be the guy he’s been his entire career. (In other words, a front-end starter with swing-and-miss stuff capable of anchoring a big league staff). When it comes to Tyler Chatwood, however, the same cannot be said.

Last winter, Epstein got the ball rolling with a three-year, $39 million signing of the former Colorado Rockies hurler. Most saw his numbers outside of Coors Field, an impressive spin rate and figured he’d slot in nicely as a replacement for John Lackey at the back of the rotation.

Well, we figured wrong.

Chatwood turned in one of the worst seasons in recent memory, leading the league in walks and ultimately losing his spot in the starting rotation. At least on paper, he won’t start for the Cubs again next season and appears destined to join Montgomery in the pen.

But here’s the kicker. If he can’t find the strike zone, Chicago may be forced to eat the final two years of his deal just to get him off the roster. He’s got good stuff – but when you turn in a 1.804 WHIP (driven largely by his 8.2 BB/9 – nearly twice his career average) you have little value.

On the flip side, if Chatwood somehow gets his head on straight and irons out his delivery, the Cubs may be able to utilize him in some sort of hybrid role out of the pen. At this point, though, it’s anybody’s guess.