It seemed there was always a little bit of confusion about this. Would the Cubs go with a 6 man rotation or stick with the standard 5? Or would they go somewhere in between with one regular 5th starter and one swingman that could start in a pinch?
It appears the Cubs will be going with a standard 5 man rotation but with a "hybrid" starter/reliever waiting in the wings. That hybrid is a job better suited for Montgomery, who pretty much filled that role last year with the both the Mariners and the Cubs.
On the other hand, Brett Anderson doesn't possess that kind of flexibility and given his injury history, a steady routine and pre-game preparation probably suits him best.
As such, the Cubs are leaning to Brett Anderson to be that 5th starter and Montgomery to be that lefty out of the pen in a move that strengthens both areas. Montgomery's ability to start under short notice also improves immediate rotation depth.
As much as we tried to paint this as a competition, this result has always seemed all but inevitable since the Cubs signed Anderson.
“It’d be more difficult, there’s no question. No question,” Maddon said. “I can’t deny that. You look at the makeup of the player, the pitchers themselves, it’s pretty obvious the one guy’s more suited to start and the other guy’s more of a hybrid, absolutely.
“We wanted to give it a fair look all camp, and we’ve been doing that I think. And we’re getting close to having to make that final decision.”
For his part, Montgomery is completely at peace with the decision.
“I’ll just be ready for anything,” he said, “because I actually like that role, which is starting, reliever, whatever. Try to embrace that.”
It seems like a decision that is the best fit for all involved right now, especially with Montgomery will to embrace that role. His move would give the Cubs a solid LH late inning reliever and allow the Cubs to use Brian Duensing in more of the kind of specialized role for which he is best suited. Koji Uehara, a right-handed RP, can also be a weapon against LH hitters.
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