Chicago Cubs: Number 3 – Not drafting enough high quality pitching
Epstein and the front office, from 2012-2014, adopted a “draft the hitting, buy the pitching” approach. That works, but only for a while. Then baseball economics begins to bear down. Your hitters start getting paid, your MLB pitching is already expensive. By 2019 with both Lester and Darvish on the roster, the Cubs were paying for all of it.
Something had to give. It did and Darvish is in San Diego. Now we’re hoping that Adbert Alzolay and Zack Davies can hang on in the two and three spots while the Cubs lurch around to fill the four and five spots. That has taxed an outstanding bullpen to the point of exhaustion before we even reach the dog days of summer.
Since 2012, the only pitcher drafted by the Cubs that has broken into the rotation is Alzolay. Cease was sent crosstown for a now departed Quintana and Darvish netted Zach Davies. Now, consider a rotation with Darvish, Hendricks, Alzolay, and Cease and the consequences of those earlier moves bear down hard.