Casey Coleman is what you'd call a prospect. He was drafted by the Cubs three years ago, just turned 24, and has shown flashes of talent in his nine starts this season. He may be a part of the Cubs' future.
Rodrigo Lopez is what you'd call a washed up placeholder. He's 35, has a lifetime 4.81 ERA and an equally uninspiring 1.31 WHIP this season. He will not help the Cubs in the future.
So why oh why did Lopez just make his fifth start as a Cub on Monday while Casey Coleman languishes in Iowa? (6 IP, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K this past Saturday, in case you're wondering.) We fans have precious little left to care about this season (my favorite is seeing whether Castro can keep his average above .300 all year--he's flirted with .299 over the last couple weeks). It's certainly not the standings, and it's definitely not whether Zambrano ends up with eight wins or 10.
It's the young guys that matter now, and their development as we look toward the future. Casey Coleman! He's one of the young guys! At 700 games out of first, the Cubs have a perfect chance to provide some of their prospects with valuable major league playing time without threatening to destroy a playoff run. Let's figure out who we want on the 2012 train; you know, separate the wheat from the chaff and whatnot. Send Lopez on his way and give Coleman the ball every fifth day. The Cubs have nothing to lose but another game, and, really, at this point, so what?