Why the Chicago Cubs last two seasons make them dangerous

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: Tyler Chatwood, RHP

The Cubs made two big signings last season. They picked up Tyler Chatwood out of Colorado–who had great numbers at Wrigley Field. (Had, mind you. Not anymore) And the “biggest” catch of the offseason, Yu Darvish. First, Chatwood. His numbers weren’t necessarily indicative of the contract that he got (three-years, $38 million). But the raw stuff was there, and when a guy pitches in Colorado? Most teams will give him a little slack.

Well, if he had been walking batters at the pace he was last season when he was at Coors Field? The Cubs would have never considered such a deal, no matter the raw talent. Chatwood has a devastating curveball. But when you can’t throw a fastball for strikes, you’re going to be in trouble. And while he was able to weasel out of many of his starts with little to moderate damage, his pitch count would be maxed by the third or fourth inning. This isn’t a good formula, especially when Joe Maddon likes to matchup out of the pen. That’s almost impossible to do for six innings.

After Chatwood was pulled from the rotation, he slowly joined the witness protection program. A pitcher looking like him made a few appearances (no confirmation it was him), and his season floated silently into the night–high and away, of course.

But Chatwood has been a different pitcher this spring. There’s no opening for him in the rotation–for now–but his control has greatly improved. My fear was if he wasn’t starting, coming out of the bullpen was a horrendous idea. But as of right now? I’d give him a go. Plus having an extra starter–two if you count Mike Montgomery–can’t hurt.