Looking onto the 2021 season, the Chicago Cubs starting rotation is anything but certain and will change.
The 2020 season surely did not go as planned for the Chicago Cubs. After clinching the National Leauge Central Divison for the first time in three years with a record of 34-26, the North Siders advanced to the postseason as the third seed in the National Leauge.
As a result, the Cubs began, and soon ended their October run by facing off against the Miami Marlins. The first time the two teams have played each other since the disastrous 2003 National Leauge Division Series, and unfortunately, the Cubs were unable to avenge themselves.
The Cubs lost that wildcard series and the Miami Marlins advanced and are now playing the Atlanta Braves in the 2020 National Leauge Divison Series. As for the Cubs, the offseason has begun, and all that is left to do is to look towards 2021.
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In the past couple of years, it seemed like the team’s roster, lineup, and rotation would stay the same for the most part. However, in his post-2020 season press conference on Monday, Director of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein implied that change is coming in Chicago. Considering there are plenty of players who are being granted free-agency and the Cubs’ budget’s current state, it is not surprising that this is the case.
Regarding the pitching rotation, Yu Darvish has proven himself to be the best of the best. The 34-year old right-hander has proven himself to be an ace and is worthy of the first rotation spot. Kyle Hendricks has had a successful 2020 season and will undoubtedly prosper in the second spot.
Now, here is where the uncertainty comes in, Southpaw Jose Quintana, and veterans Jon Lester and Tyler Chatwood are all going to hit free agency. That begs the question, what happens to the last three slots of the rotation? I think it’s safe to say that Alec Mills earned a spot in the 2021 rotation based on his 2020 performance.
Besides Mills, 25-year-old Adbert Alzolay has the next best chance at a spot for someone on the inside but this might not be enough. The team’s front office will probably look outside the organization for pitching help as well. Based on the team’s budget uncertainty, there is no telling if they will make high-priced additions. Still, there is no denying that the Cubs will be eyeing starting pitchers and other position players up for grabs on the free-agent market.
It appears that the Cubs 40-man roster is unpredictable heading into 2021 as the team is in transition, but one thing will stay the same; the ultimate goal of bringing another World Series win to the north side.