Chicago Cubs: Is it too early to worry about the 2020 bullpen?

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Chatwood has electric stuff, but is that enough?

Tyler Chatwood signed a three-year contract worth $38 million early last offseason. At the time there was a lot to like about the righty. He had significantly better numbers on the road than at his home ballpark of Coors Field.

But his 2018 season was a disaster. He couldn’t find the strike zone enough (8.2 walks per nine innings). When he did manage to throw strikes, however, his stuff was electric. Right-handed batters only had a batting average of  .150 against him and slugged just .219. But even with a .150 batting average, right-handed hitters still had a .359 on-base percentage against Chatwood.

Early in spring training, Chatwood seemed to have put his control problems behind him. He had only walked one out of the first 34 batters he faced this spring. But on March 12, he walked three batters in one inning. Of the 47 pitches he threw that day, only 20 of them were strikes.

The Cubs still owe Chatwood $25.5 million over the next two years. This offseason the front office didn’t trust him enough to even allow him to fight for a spot in the starting rotation, exercising Cole Hamels‘ $20 million option.

The Cubs are hoping they don’t waste that $25.5 million. It’s possible the team will be able to trade him away, but to do so they will almost certainly have to pay part of his salary.

Its also possible the right-hander could become an effective reliever for the Cubs. Before he walked three batters in one inning I had more hope for that. Now I’m afraid that he is just going to be the 2019 version of Edwin Jackson.