Craig Counsell sets a different tone for the Chicago Cubs roster construction

Craig Counsell brings refreshing honesty to roster decisions.

Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs
Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

In listening to local airwaves on Friday morning, Chicago Cubs fans may be surprised by the latest roster decision made by Craig Counsell.

Counsell revealed on Thursday that the Cubs' starting rotation to open the season will consist of Justin Steele, Kyle Hendricks, Shota Imanaga, Jordan Wicks, and Javier Assad. In making that decision, Counsell revealed that veteran pitcher Drew Smyly would open the season in the bullpen.

The decision was among the topics discussed during the pick-six segment on 670 The Score's morning show, "The Mully and Haugh Show". The question was framed in the sense that Counsell made an outside-the-box decision in terms of having Smyly open the season in the bullpen.

The issue with how the question was posed is the reason why Cubs fans are going to need to recalculate how they view the roster decisions that the Cubs make. Unlike Ross, Counsell will use data to make his decisions.

Counsell uses data to make the decisions he does and while former manager David Ross likely would have given the veteran, Smyly, the benefit of the doubt.

That would have been the wrong decision.

Craig Counsell is proving how wrong David Ross was with the Chicago Cubs' roster decisions.

As a starting pitcher last season, Smyly posted a 5.62 ERA in 113.2 innings pitched. As a relief pitcher last season, Smyly posted a 2.51 ERA in 28.2 innings pitched.

Smyly's true value to the Cubs last season was a left-handed swingman out of the bullpen. It's refreshing that Counsell uses that data to make the right decision instead of falling back on the dated narrative of giving the benefit of the doubt to veterans.

Another sign that Counsell will not construct the Cubs' roster in the same fashion that Ross did, the team will not be carrying three catchers to open the season.

Carrying three catchers had become the norm for the Cubs under Ross despite the limitations it led to on the bench. Counsell will be calculated with every decision that he makes and it's a much-needed direction for the Cubs moving forward.

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