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Cubs leaning toward Brett Anderson for 5th spot

Cubs leaning toward Brett Anderson for 5th spot
Brett Anderson

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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  • As long as Montgomery is willing to embrace the bullpen role then this is the best setup for the club and offers the most depth heading into the season.

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    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I am impressed that he is embracing the role which I consider to be different than "accepting" the role. I am sure he would rather just be a starter but that the "swing-man" role has a certain appeal to him.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I'm sure recording the final out in the WS to break the Cubs drought can put a shine on a bullpen job with this club :)

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    Where does Eddie Butler fit in to their plans now?

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I think he's AAA starting depth going into the season, and possibly the first man called to fill in for injury, depending on how he's pitching. His last outing was pretty impressive. I'm really hoping Bosio can bring out the best of his talents. If so, we've got potentially a really good pitcher on our hands.

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    In reply to copinblue:

    I think so too. Thanks Chet.

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    In reply to copinblue:

    I think you are right. I think the acquisition of Butler has as much to do with 2018 and beyond as it had to do with 2017.

  • I've seen Montgomery several times this spring and he hasn't been all that impressive.

  • O/T! I am so sorry, I hope that I am ok here with this reminder:. Quick! Change your tv to TWC channel 13 ABC Dancing with the Stars. Chicago Cubs World Series Champion David​ Ross is going to dance!

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    Ross is about to dance right now!!

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    He did very, very well. I don't think it's surprising, he's still in his 30's and he is an athlete. Forget all the "Gramps" stuff--this guy dances.

  • I'm rather missing Jason Hammel, these days.

  • I'm not sure if I like the idea of a 6 man rotation, as come playoff time, pitchers would have grown accustomed to more time off, but will have way less time off inbetween starts.

    I'm more in favor of a typical 5 man rotation, but each new time through the rotation, a 6th man piggybacks on a different SP.

    One time it's Lester throwing 2-3 innings and getting pulled, next time through its Jake with an early exit, etc.

    It keeps the innings lower for SP, but they may rain their routine for the season.

    Thoughts?

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    I'll reply here with your 8 posts. Haha.

    Saving a few innings in a couple of starts does nothing. Getting a full day off is much more of a healing/rest approach. Whether a pitcher cranks it up to start and throws 50-75 pitches he will feel the same the next morning. What wears guys down is not the innings, but the additional month to 6 weeks that the post-season can go.

    I'm more in favor of skipping a start and giving a pitcher more like a 10 day break. They would continue a couple of bullpens and workouts, but skip the one day where they go all out. Each guy would get one or two of these during the season. Two of those breaks would give a starter nearly 3 weeks of if starting.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Last sentence = "off of starting"

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    You may be correct about saving a few innings doesn't do that much compared to a full day rest, but I definitely think it helps. A pitcher stays with routine yet is not asked to leave in all on the field every start. I believe this preserves his peak conditioning further into the season.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I was trying to isolate what was the cause of my comment getting flagged.

    While I agree that getting skipped is ultimately better, I don't know if that will be doable given roster constraints. Because the normal starter is still giving a few innings, that does help relieve some stress on the bullpen.

    Having shortened starts would save starters about 20-25 innings (assuming 32 starts, each start about 6 innings, and every 5th start is shortened).

    I think that is a significant amount of saved innings. 180 innings vs 200 innings is a big difference.

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    I think it is a good idea, except that I would let the starting pitcher go 5 innings, and the piggy back try to go the last nine. Especially if the Cubs are up by two or three runs, I would like to see the piggyback complete the game, to keep him stretched out in case he is needed for double headers, injuries, etc.

    I would like to keep the starter stretched out for at least 5 innings if he is pitching well, but in my opinion, the dangerous pitches for a starting pitcher is anything over 90 - 95. PItching hard with a tired arm probably causes more injuries than pitching too many innings over a season.

  • I'm not sure if I like the idea of a 6 man rotation, as come playoff time, pitchers would have grown accustomed to more time off, but will have way less time off inbetween starts.

    I'm more in favor of a typical 5 man rotation, but each new time through the rotation, a 6th man piggybacks on a different SP.

    One time it's Lester throwing 2-3 innings and getting pulled, next time through its Jake with an early exit, etc.

    It keeps the innings lower for SP, but they maintain their routine for the season.

  • I've tried posting my thoughts on the drawbacks of a 6man rotation on 3 separate occasions (weeks inbetween) and it keeps needing administrator approval.

    What causes something to get flagged?

  • I'm not sure if I like the idea of a 6 man rotation, as come playoff time, pitchers would have grown accustomed to more time off, but will have way less time off inbetween starts.

    I'm more in favor of a typical 5 man rotation, but each new time through the rotation, a 6th man piggybacks on a different SP.

  • I'm not sure if I like the idea of a 6 man rotation, as come playoff time, pitchers would have grown accustomed to more time off, but will have way less time off inbetween starts.

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    I'm more in favor of a typical 5 man rotation, but each new time through the rotation, a 6th man piggybacks on a different SP.

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    I'm more in favor of a typical 5 man rotation, but each new time through the rotation, a 6th man piggybacks on a different starting pitcher.

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    Actually with the Cubs high powered offense their should be occasions with big leads when Joe can shorten a starting pitchers innings without effecting the outcome. I've often wondered if the Cubs would have won game6 in 03 if Dusty had pulled Prior with the 10run lead down the stretch run instead of letting him throw 120 pitches in a blow out.

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    Instead, have a 6th man who never starts, but comes in during the 3rd or 4th inning for a starter.

    It would be for a different starter each time through the rotation.

    One time for Jake, then the next time for Lester, etc.

    That way, each starter keeps their routine, but keeps their innings down.

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    If it weren't for archaic stats, such as the pitcher Win, I think that's not a bad idea. But for whatever reason, even though the stat is meaningless, I don't think a starter would agree to do it. I know a starter isn't in charge, but it may be something like, "hell hath no fury...".

  • In reply to copinblue:

    Jake would be deathly opposed, as he is in a contract year, but it would greatly help him.

    The difference in his performance of getting normal rest vs an extra day is crazy.

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    What Jake would be opposed to in a contract year is irrelevant. W in game 7 is relevant.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    I don't know that he would be that opposed to it. Most FO in baseball have moved past "W-L" record in their evaluations of talent. If he is better on a little more rest if it costs him some "W" but gives him a lower ERA, a lower FIP, a lower HR/FB, better K% or K/9IP, better BB%... I think he would be better compensated than getting 3 more starts of possibly lesser quality.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    FWIW I could live with a clinching Game 4-6 as well.

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    In reply to 2Toes:

    I've kicked around the idea of doing a 4+1 or a 5+1 rotation. If there is an off-day then the +1 swing man would simply be skipped and he would be available in the bullpen once he had recovered from is previous start. But if there are no off-days then all the starters would get an additional day.

    Or it could dove-tail with rbrucatos comments about giving a starter the day off and skipping him in the rotation.

  • I'm loving Monty's attitude. I truly think he well be the better #5 option by years end, but sure. Let's ride Anderson as long as possible. Something tells me Lackey is the wild card here...

  • In reply to TheCHISportsFan:

    I think they keep Lackey to 6 innings and he gets through the season fine.

  • Turn your TV to Puerto Rico game now
    Javi with unbelievable slide running the bases. And then a relay throw Smoltz said is best he's ever seen!! Dude is Amazing

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Javy being Javy:

    http://m.mlb.com/cutfour/2017/03/21/220198808/javy-baez-used-a-magical-slide-tactic-to-avoid-a-tag-at-third-base

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    More:

    http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/31426364/v1243996583/baez-brings-plenty-of-flair-to-2017-classic-for-pr

  • The top 4 starters are going to be yapping at the end of the season, because they had an innings pitched clause in their contract, and got taken out of the game early.

  • Those Puerto Ricans are festive bunch.

  • Hope PR keeps winning and Yadi keeps catching the entire game. Baez will recover a lot quicker because of his age but Yadi is catching a lot of innings right now and it will hurt him later in the year.

  • In reply to veteran:

    Yadi is so much more fun to watch when he is not playing for the Cardinals.

  • We were spoiled last year when the Cubs 5th starter turned out to be a Cy young finalist. And by the way, Hendricks has looked very good this spring. I'm excited to see how he pitches throughout the season. I'm concerned about the health of the rotation. Lackey had issues last year and isn't getting younger. Anderson's injury history is well documented. I'm afraid that they're going to have to make a move mid season to bring in another starter.

  • The bottom line is that this team has a question mark in the starting rotation, something that they did not have to start the year last year. In 2016 there 4 guys with serious track records and a 5th, in Hendricks, that had been a solid starter for a year and a half. Anderson's track record is one of injury and inconsistency and Montgomery, while effective in the bullpen, cannot really be counted on as a solid rotation piece if Anderson is bad or injured. If Butler gets on a nice roll in AAA he could be an answer at some point but I think that we're all kidding ourselves if we don't think in our heart of hearts that this team will be trading for a starting pitcher in July.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I don't worry about the 5th starter spot. The Cubs offense is going to bludgeon teams often enough that even if they get a 5.00 ERA from that rotation slot they might still win half the games. The club needs 3 good starters for the playoffs. As long as they have that they will be fine.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I had a post that got eaten that basically said the same thing. While I really hope that it doesn't come to it, I'm afraid they'll be buyers in July because of pitcher injury. This team is very well built to withstand a position player or two (or even 3 or 4) going down, but not a pitcher or two. Of course, most teams aren't.

  • In reply to TC154:

    IMO we will not have to trade for a pitcher in July. We have Anderson and Montgomery to fill the 5th SP spot. And if both get hurt we have 4 more starters in AAA that are good enough to be fifth starters. You don't need 5 top notch pitchers for a rotation, 3 or 4 is enough and good enough pitchers to fill in the BOR.

  • I agree. It will take a lot of injuries to keep the Cubs out of the playoffs, and once there, the fifth starter is pretty well meaningless.

  • I figured this would be the best, most recent thread to post this in...

    Ken Rosenthal‏Verified account @Ken_Rosenthal 32m32 minutes ago
    More
    Sources: #Cubs’ Matt Szczur among trade candidates #Braves considering for extra OFer. Szczur out of options; Cubs expected to keep him.

    I posted this a few weeks ago that I expect them to keep Szczur and send LaStella down because they care more about asset management at this point. And then LaStella will come up any time there is a DL stint.

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