Cubs: Crane Kenney says there’s money to add more pitching

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

I know Cubs fans have formed a pretty sour opinion of Tom Ricketts, but I’d suspect few hold the team’s president of business operations, Crane Kenney, is particularly high regard.

Remember, this is the man who swore up and down that Marquee would be akin to opening up the financial spigot for the organization and the 1060 Project would act in a similar fashion. After a completely bungled rollout of the team’s TV network and reports the Ricketts family is now holding hundreds of millions (potentially close to one billion) in debt, Cubs fans are fed up.

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If you, like me and millions of others, have cut the cable in recent years, you’re currently unable to watch Marquee Network. This has been the case for some time now – and we have no reason to suspect a change anytime soon (which sucks because Boog Sciambi is going to be amazing).

As Kenney took to the airwaves on Friday to announce a multi-year extension of the team’s radio deal with 670 WSCR AM, he actually made a baseball operations-related comment – one that is kind of a ‘no, duh’ type of remark given the roster construction, but it is what it is.

"“Yeah, there’s room to add some pitching. I know Jed’s been working pretty hard. We talk every day, and we understand that the pitching is a place we need to spend a little more time and a little more money, and he’s got some conversations ongoing. I’d be very surprised if we were done on the pitching side.”"

Well, you’d darn well better hope you’re not done adding arms. This rotation has more holes in it than Swiss cheese and more question marks than the Riddler’s bedroom wallpaper. Kyle Hendricks is the ace – assuming they don’t do something insane like trade him – and then it’s a whole lot of hoping and praying.

This Cubs staff doesn’t exactly scream ‘dominance’, does it?

Zach Davies, who came over in the Yu Darvish trade, is coming the best numbers of his career, albeit in a shortened season. He made a dozen starts, worked to a 2.73 ERA and 1.067 WHIP. Prior to 2020, he averaged a 3.91 ERA, 4.22 FIP and 1.299 WHIP. So we’ll see how that plays out this year.

Then it’s probably Alec Mills, Trevor Williams and Adbert Alzolay – at least as things currently stand. Mills was up and down last year – the climax coming in a no-hitter, Williams is a longtime Pirates hurler who has some promise and Alzolay has a ton of potential – but we need to see it over the long-term. Consistency is everything when it comes to his role in 2021.

We know teams are going to be giving starting pitchers extra days off and working hard to protect arms while re-transitioning from last year’s 60-game slate to the regularly scheduled 162 this time around. The depth the Cubs have right now – or, rather, the complete lack of it – won’t get the job done.

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So while it’s nice to hear this affirmation from Crane Kenney, it doesn’t change much as far as expectations. Get ready for either A) a ‘potential’ guy who hasn’t put it together yet at the big league level, B) a veteran whose name you knew a decade ago and you didn’t know was still playing or a C) back-end arm who takes the ball and that’s about it.