Chicago Cubs: Two arms turn the corner in 2019
Chatwood and Darvish, on the other hand, have bounced back in a big way in 2019. Chatwood has become a reliable reliever capable of pitching in any role, while Darvish has become the team’s ace in the rotation behind a dominant second half this season.
The problem here, though, is that Chatwood is making $12.5 million, a hefty price for a non-closer or setup man reliever. He could return to the rotation in 2020, though that’s a long way down the road.
Darvish is living up to his contract, but there was uncertainty surrounding him entering 2019 after last season. As a result, the Cubs picked up Cole Hamels’ $20 million team option for 2019. This, combined with the aforementioned three pitchers, put a strain on the Cubs’ payroll in 2019.
The Cubs’ inability to develop a homegrown starting pitcher under Epstein is also an issue for another day. If the Cubs had such a pitcher, though, perhaps they don’t sign one of Chatwood or Darvish, if not both.
Essentially, having no homegrown starting pitchers created the need to sign Chatwood and Darvish. Signing those two strained the Cubs’ payroll, which has been a huge narrative around the 2019 team.