Chicago Cubs should turn to Tyler Chatwood in the starting rotation

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Tyler Chatwood had a terrific 2019 as a bullpen arm. Will it be enough to rejoin the rotation and convince the Chicago Cubs to let Cole Hamels walk?

When Tyler Chatwood signed with the Chicago Cubs before the 2018 season many people looked at the move and liked it. The right-hander was going to be the fifth starter and had some really good numbers for a pitcher who called Coors Field in Denver home.

Then as we all know Chatwood’s 2018 was very disappointing as he leads all of Major League Baseball in walks (95). This was not the guy at all the Cubs thought they were getting with their fifth starter.

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Chatwood’s struggles in 2018 were the main reason for the Cub’s front office making a move at the trade deadline line to go and get Cole Hamels from the Texas Rangers. The move dramatically improved the ball club as Hamels posted a 2.36 ERA in 12 starts with the Cubs. That was enough to prompt the club to pick up his option for the 2019 season.

Coming into the 2019 campaign, Chatwood was going to be coming out of the bullpen as a long reliever and a guy who could make spot starts when needed. His season turned out well given he didn’t ever really know what he would be doing – start or come out of the pen and eat some innings.

In 2019 Chatwood started five games and appeared in 38 games total. He posted a 3.76 ERA in 76 2/3 innings pitched and only issuing 37 walks – a noted improvement over the year prior.

Cole Hamels is set to be a free agent this offseason and the question is will the Cubs resign him or let Chatwood take over as the team’s the fifth starter. Hamels was fantastic this season before he left in late June with a left oblique injury.

Before the injury, he had a 2.92 ERA and was getting talks about being invited to the All-Star Game. After the injury, the left-hander never seemed like himself the rest of the year. After coming back from the IL his ERA was 6.39 to close out the year. Everyone assumes that has to factor in the decision of bringing him back next season.

Cubs President of baseball operations, Theo Epstein and company will have a tough decision to make come this winter. To either bring back Hamels and continue to let Chatwood come out of the bullpen or to let Hamels walk and let Chatwood return to the starting rotation.

In my opinion, the Cubs let Hamels walk because of his age and the performance after the injury. It just never seemed like he got back to the pitcher that we all knew he could be. In doing so, I would make Chatwood that fifth starter of the team. I believe that he has earned that chance after doing what he did in 2019.

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Now if the Cubs go out and sign a big-time free agent pitcher like Gerrit Cole, then I think that Chatwood would still excel in the spot starter/long relive role. We’ll see how it shakes out.

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