Cubs Announce Rotation and Closer

As promised, Lou Piniella announced the rotation and closer duties today. After going on back-to-back days, Kerry Wood apparently woke up still able to move and will be the Cubs closer to start the year. When he eventually goes on the disabled list this season, Carlos Marmol or Bob Howry should be able to step right in.

The Cubs starting five will be Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster, Rich Hill and Jason Marquis. Jon Lieber will start the year in the bullpen in a long relief role, ready to step in when/if Rich Hill continues to struggle with the strike zone or when/if Ryan Dempster continues to be Ryan Dempster or when/if Jason Marquis continues to be Jason Marquis.

The Cubs bullpen will likely look like this to start the year:

Jon Lieber

Kevin Hart

Scott Eyre*

Michael Wuertz

Bob Howry

Carlos Marmol

Kerry Wood

* If Eyre's elbow tightness lands him on the disabled list to start the year, either Carmen Pignatiello or Sean Marshall will likely take his spot.


My guess is that keeping Marquis in the rotation is an effort to boost his perceived trade value. I can't imagine this is the long-term plan. Lou hasn't been shy about his problems with Marquis.

lieber is the good soldier puts team ahead of himself

Yes I fully expect one of the 2 between Marquis and Dempster to lose their rotation spots sometime in April, with Leiber filling in, Hill should get plenty of chances before he is taken out of the rotation. I'd say the most likely scenarios are a Marquis trade or a Dempster total breakdown.

Where is Marshall going, Iowa?

Too bad, I liked that kid.

Poll: How many starts are they going to have for the Cubs in 2008:

Zambrano __
Lilly __
Hill __
Marquis __
Dempster __
Leiber __
Marshall __
Other __

Zambrano 33, Lilly 18, Hill 32, Marquis 32, Dempster 12, Leiber 20, Marshall 12, Other 3 (Mateo)

18 for Lilly? Are you fearing an injury?

hey are we going to do a predictions game again this year like we did last year? guess this question is aimed at Rob and the staff...

Rob G. has a staff?!

*insert improper joke*

Rob G. has a staff?! 

biggest staff you've ever seen... 

As Chris Matthews would say,



Sean Marshall and Carmen Pignatiello will now compete for Scott Eyre's spot as late-inning left-hander, after Piniella confirmed that Eyre probably won't be ready to start the season due to tightness in his left elbow.

I'm not thrilled with Demp in the rotation, but okay, it's a decent plan other than that.

I'm thrilled about the rotation, but it's not terrible, assuming Hill gets his shit together. The most likely scenario, as I see it, is that Dempster eventually struggles and gets moved back to the pen in exchange for Lieber. Whether he'd move back to closer at that point seems unlikely.

I'm not too upset about it. I know Lieber's numbers are better than Dempster's this spring, but I'm taking that with a grain of salt since they aren't all facing major league hitters. What really concerns me about Jon Lieber is that his velocity is horrible. Just awful.

I'm sure Larry and Lou discussed that when they made their decision. I'd be really nervous about opening the season with a guy in my rotation throwing in the low 80s when he isn't supposed to be throwing in the low 80s.

he's an older sinker baller. his velocity is gonna drop with age. ala maddux,martinez,etc. It happens unless you are someone like nolan ryan or roger clemens. I've been a long time believer now that velocity means squat. keeping hitters fooled and location location location are what will ultimately win you the game.

it dont mean squat if you got movement...and he's got movement on his sinker...but its the fastball and cutting fastball i'm more concerned about since he's working the 80-85mph range.

all 3 options for the last 2 slots (throwing dumpster's slot in there, though it was more of a sure thing as of week+ ago) have their pros/cons.

Exactly. I was more specifically referring to the cutter, which don't cut so good anymore. And it's 83 mph. Which means he's probably our best candidate to be throwing live BP before games.

Any new news on the Roberts situation?

I understand the Dempster inclusion (he's pitched well and deserves a chance to show that he can't do it). I understand the Hill inclusion (bad Spring, but promising 2007).

Now, why the hell is Marquis in the rotation?

2 years 22 million dollars left on his contract. That is why he is in the rotation.


It is 2 years about 16 million dollars:

08:$6.375M, 09:$9.875M

Which is actually a very decent price for a #4 or #5 starter who will give you 180+ innings and a league average ERA.

I understand the Dempster inclusion (he's pitched well and deserves a chance to show that he can't do it

Pitched well?

You do realize that Marquis has pitched better than Dempster this spring, right?

Let me get this straight. Dempster deserves a spot in the rotation because he has "pitched well," but Marquis doesn't, even though he had pitched much better than Dempster this spring?

And oh yea... add to the equation the fact that Marquis is by far the best hitter of the three, Leiber can barely throw 85, both Leiber and Dempster have injury histories while Marquis has shown to be a durable and valuable #5 starter.

Recent comments

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  • Oh what do you know, Cubster? Go back to your day job.

    --- Ducks, puts on Cardinals cap, runs.

  • Russell had a severe hamstring last year while with the A's system, forcing him to miss the first half of 2014. I've even wondered if his injury last year was a component of Billy Beane putting him on the trade market. He was quoted saying that last year's injury was a 10 out of 10 when it happened. Last night he said his hamstring soreness was a 1/1.5 out of 10. Hamstring injuries are tricky though, so I'd expect the medical team to be overly cautious here.

  • ...I want to reinforce the observation that there was no sea of red in the crowd. The usual Cardinal fans roaming the stadium were few and far between.

    Also, almost every 2 strike pitch brought the fans to their feet. Good for those in knee rehab.

  • "1st team hit hit 6HR in a game in the postseason." rises above obvious...i checked it with the official fact-finding commission of Douche, Douche, and Douchestein. they agreed with you, but they're a bunch of f'n douches so who cares?

    btw, the cubs are 2-1 in the post-season series.

  • I should be able to watch the game on the NFL replay app, whatever that thing is called. I've got it on my iPad. This is the first year I haven't forced myself to somehow watch every game - no I take that back, last year was - in quite some time. Last year was so unbearable, no pun intended.

    You make some good points about Cutler, and I was a holdout defender of Cutler for a long time. I gave up on him a bit after one too many dumb interceptions, but last year doesn't count. Trestman was the worst coach in Bears history.

  • Nice little reportage there!. I think you're older than me. Considerably older. Maybe several generations. Working out is so essential, especially as age kicks in, isn't it? I still lift weights, and so I'm confident that when I get to be at the hip breaking age, mine won't be a statistic. But I have a ways to go for that to be a concern.

  • What was impressive to me is that the Cubs won despite poor base running, several defensive miscues, Russell leaving due to injury, Arrieta having an off game and getting knocked out early, and Rondon giving up 2 runs in the 9th. If they can win a game like that... 

  • I was there too. The crowd was absolutely electric. People were standing for every big and semi-big moment, from the first inning on. It felt incredibly strange and exhilarating to see the Cubs (the Chicago bleepin' Cubs!) score playoff insurance runs on the Cardinals. What a game. One to remember.

  • 14 in attendance. What's the record for attendance in the fall? I guess I should ask what the record attendance listed is in one of your recaps.

  • I was there too, with my grown son. This is my miracle year-- I rose to the top of the season ticket list after eight years, completely unexpectedly, and my wonderful wife agreed to put the ticket fee on the emergency credit card. The whole point of course was that the Cubs were going to be good this year, and then for a while, so to get season tickets with the guaranteed shot at the postseason was incredible timing. We got to the remote lot at 4:10 after stopping at Nhu Lan for our usual banh mi sandwiches, only to find the lot full, way earlier than normal.

  • Wrigley was electric tonite
    Not many card fans
    Video board was great, they played "there goes my hero" by foos over ryno highlights before he came out. Spectacular

    Good times hopefully they win tomorrow but think Lester will beat poopy pants on Wednesday.

    Happy 4th anniversary of Theo's signing

    Go Cubs !

  • Yeah. "Goodbye!" is a lame HR call.

    I miss Len and JD -- although, driving home from a friend's, WBBM played all 6 HR calls in a row -- and Len got to call the Bryant/Rizzo back-to-back. Very fun.

  • Lackey has been a beast against us. His stats on 3 days rest, however, not as nice. There is plenty of hope.

  • And, no dreadlocks grown yet.

  • Captain Obvious Strikes Again!!!

  • Amen, brother.