Chicago Cubs: A shortened season could help some of the older players
With Major League Baseball shortening the season in response to COVID-19, several Chicago Cubs players could benefit from the reduced workload.
We are in uncharted territory as a country and within Major League Baseball due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As a country, we have never seen anything like this before. As for baseball, there have been shortened seasons in the past for various reasons.
In 1918-1919, 1972, 1981, 1985 (only two days), 1990 and 1994-1995 we saw shortened seasons. So baseball has seen this before but how will it all work out? Thats still a question that, at this time, no one knows.
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The Chicago Cubs had a very healthy spring training so the delay to the season won’t help them in that area as they had no glaring injuries to start the season. It will help division rival St. Louis though as they were expected to not have lefty Andrew Miller by Opening Day. With the delay, he may be ready to join the staff by the time the season opens.
The shortened season should help some of the Cubs in the long haul. Some of the older Cubs players should benefit from playing fewer games in 2020. The name that comes to my mind the most is big left-hander Jon Lester, who is heading into his age 36 campaign. He’s clearly in the final stages of his big league career, but has shown that when his back is against the wall, he’s more than capable of coming up big.
In 2019 Lester struggled, to say the least. He limped to a 4.46 ERA and was hit extraordinarily hard in his 31 outings. The southpaw got bit by the injury bug the last few seasons. In 2017 he missed some time with a left lat strain. Then last year we all remember Lester sliding awkwardly into home in the home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates, forcing him to miss some time.
Lester won’t be asked to be the ace of the rotation as he has been pretty much since he signed in 2015. He most likely will be the third or fourth starter in the rotation, which also could work in his favor in 2020.
The shortened season should benefit Lester the most as he is the oldest player on the Chicago Cubs roster as of now. The additional time off for the older starter can’t hurt and when it is time to go hopefully he will be ready to go and can stay healthy for the duration of the season, however long that is.