Cubs News: Tyler Chatwood is unlikely to return this year

Tyler Chatwood (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Tyler Chatwood (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs righty Tyler Chatwood suffered a setback on Tuesday that could spell the end of his Cubs tenure.

The 2020 playoffs are approaching fast, and the Chicago Cubs are still waiting on a few key pieces to return to their pitching staff. Unfortunately, they received some bad news on Tuesday about Tyler Chatwood’s chances of returning before the season ends. While rehabbing his forearm strain, he experienced issues with his elbow, halting his comeback efforts.

The news is disappointing considering how the Cubs pitchers have been trending upward lately. Alec Mills had a career game on Sunday with his no-hitter, Jose Quintana is nearing a return to the rotation, and Yu Darvish, of course, is in contention for the Cy Young. The team’s pitching depth is thin, though, making the loss of Chatwood all the more devastating.

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To make matters worse, Major League Baseball just announced the playoff schedule, and it features no off days between each series. Since the playoffs will be conducted in a bubble, no days will be needed for travel, and thus the Cubs will need all hands on deck for every game. Chatwood’s setback only makes planning this more difficult as now the team will likely have to rely on someone like Adbert Alzolay to provide extra depth in a near nonstop schedule.

Perhaps most frustrating of all about the setback is that it could mean the end of Chatwood’s rocky tenure. He fell just short of 200 innings pitched in his three years on the North Side and recorded a 4.70 ERA with a 1.608 WHIP. These aren’t exactly the numbers expected from a guy who earned a $38 million contract before the 2018 season, and it easily made it one of Theo Epstein’s worst signings with the team.

Chatwood had no real chance to improve upon his numbers and, now, heading into free agency; he faces a bit of an uncertain future. Between injuries and struggles with command, he hasn’t exactly put his best self forward, but he always showed potential with both the Cubs and the Rockies. His first two starts of this year were masterful, and it seems that injuries had something to do with Chatwood’s later struggles.

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The best-case scenario for Chatwood, according to Ross, is a return for the World Series if they could make it there. Unfortunately, even if that happens, I’d much rather go with the teams’ current arms rather than trust a rusty pitcher with elbow concerns. If this is the end for him, it has certainly been a wild ride.