Silva & Gorzelanny Win Rotation Spots?
Please note the question mark in the headline, but that is what Paul Sullivan seems to insinuate in his latest article.
Carlos Silva and Tom Gorzelanny appear to have locked up starting spots, meaning Jeff Samardzija and Sean Marshall will be in the bullpen.
That seemed to be the most likely scenario before spring training started, made all the more likely when Angel Guzman went down and the bullpen being filled with inexperienced players like Caridad and Berg. Marshall had some moderate success out of the pen last year and if Samardzija doesn't get optioned, he did at least have one really good month in the pen in 2008. Silva just isn't suited for pen work in my opinion. He's a sinkerballer that's gonna let guys put the ball in play and sinkerballers seem to need a few innings to get into the groove, tire the arm out a little and get a little heavier drop on the ball. Gorzelanny didn't do anything to embarrass himself so far this spring, striking out 10 in 8.1 IP, although he did walk 8 as well. He probably won't make more than 3-4 starts anyway once Ted Lilly returns.
If Sullivan's info is accurate, that leaves the bench and bullpen as the last remaining battles. The Cubs will cut it down to 30 players by Friday. Chad Tracy seems to have locked down a spot with his ability to play third base and Ramirez's sore tricep preventing him from throwing. That seems to leave one spot left for Fuld, Colvin, Hoffpauir or Millar (Hill, Baker, Nady, Tracy seem to have jobs at the moment). The Cubs rightfully don't want to bring up Colvin if he can't get regular playing time (.442 batting average during spring training but no walks versus 8 K's in 43 AB's). Fuld is hitting just .154 in just 26 AB's, but is considered the far superior defender. Millar is hitting .300 while telling bad jokes, but putting him anywhere but first base is probably a huge liability. Hoffpauir still has options left and hasn't been wowing the crowds like he did last year. Andres Blanco is also in the mix if they want a capable back-up shortstop, plus he needs to be put on waivers if the Cubs want to send him to Iowa, although I have doubts anyone would put a claim in after missing most of spring training. Of course, they could just do some disabled list trickery and buy a little time if needed with the knee injury he suffered in early March.
I'm gonna assume Mike Parisi's bid for the bullpen ended yesterday and Marcus Mateo has given up 6 runs in 6.2 IP, on 6 K's, 6 BB's and 2 HR's. Why he was even mentioned is a bit perplexing. Marmol, Grabow, Caridad, Berg, Marshall and Samardzija seem to be the first six in the pen, leaving James Russell and John Gaub fighting for the last spot and honorary pink backpack carrier. Russell hasn't given up an earned run in 8 IP's while striking out 8 and allowing just 5 hits. Gaub has struck out 9 in 6.2 IP, but given up 5 earned runs and 2 home runs. I would think Russell is in the lead for the final spot barring a meltdown the last week and a half.
Neither Russell or Tracy are on the 40-man roster, which currently stands at 39. But if the Cubs return Parisi to the Cardinals or get him through waivers and/or put Angel Guzman on the 60-day disabled list, they'll have room for the two or possibly a third NRI player if they find some room for Kevin Millar.