Chicago Cubs: What if the team really does nothing this winter
Chicago Cubs: A look at the pitching
Right now, the Chicago Cubs are looking at Jon Lester, Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks, and Jose Quintana in the first four spots in their rotation. There has been a little speculation that the team may try to trade Quintana after picking up his 2020 option, but that seems unlikely at this point. Hendricks seems like a good bet to have another solid season, while we’re all hoping that Darvish turned a corner in the second half last year and can pitch like that over an entire season.
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Lester and Quintana come with plenty of question marks. Lester has been the leader of this staff for several years, but he showed many signs of decline last year, and it’s unclear what they’ll get from him in the sixth and final year of his contract. Quintana has shown signs of pitching well over the past couple of seasons, but he was awful at the end of 2019. Will he be able to bounce back and give them a decent showing in 2020?
As for the fifth spot, Tyler Chatwood, Alec Mills, Adbert Alzolay, and Colin Rea are among those who would get a look. Chatwood appears to be the most likely right now, although we’d hate to lose him from the bullpen, where he was effective in 2019. At least it’s good that they have some competition.
While the rotation appears to at least be serviceable, the bullpen features a lot more questions. Four key figures from 2019 – Brandon Kintzler, Steve Cishek, Pedro Strop, and David Phelps – are all gone and appear unlikely to return.
Replacing all those innings will be a challenge, to say the least. With no additions, the team would be relying heavily on 2019 surprises Rowan Wick and Kyle Ryan to get to closer Craig Kimbrel, who has plenty of question marks of his own. After that, well, there’s not much to get excited about.