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.

Comments

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... 
~zing~

As Chris Matthews would say,

HA!

:)


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.

http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/spor...

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.

No.

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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  • Tommy La Stellar

  • Scherzer is not a bad hitting pitcher, but really???

  • This game is already bumming me out. Hope the Cubs brought their bats.

  • Just read that when Hendricks starts the Cubs have won 33 times in his first 50 games which is the best for any Cubs starter since the 1940s. So he might not be getting a ton of wins but he's at least leaving the team in a winnable spot

    That and we've had a lot of terrible teams.

  • I agree, but just wanted to point out that Hendricks didn't really have a significant difference between his first and second half like Hammel did. Instead he had alternating good and below average months last year, without much fluctuation in his peripherals except a BB-heavy August and some up-and-down in opp avg. Mostly the team just couldn't win games for him in the months he pitched well. His 16 starts in May, July, and Sep/Oct (in which he limited opponents to OPS+ of 88, 75, and 44) resulted in a 4-2 record.

  • I think with Hammels and Hendricks struggles the 2nd half we forget how dominate of 1st halves they had and how many games they won us as the offense was struggling. We also forget they are back of the rotation guys and we can't be expecting ace quality there.

  • Maybe it's just Werth & Ross I'm noticing. Weird.

  • CRAIG: Jose Albertos is not chunky like Fernando. He's built more like Dylan Cease. Exact same body type. And his delivery is free & easy. He's definitely not a "max effort" guy.   

  • Hendricks after 50 MLB starts: 17-11, 3.45 ERA, 1.12 WHIP. Not bad for a #5 starter. He may be a 6-inning max guy, but, if he can keep those stats up, I will gladly take it.

    Speaking of WHIP -- last year, he was tied for 11th in the NL. Tied with Hammel.
    Last year's NL rank in WHIP: Arrietta 2nd, Lester 9th, Haren 10th, Hammel T11th, Hendricks T11th. Wow.

  • I went to a Nats game in DC two years ago while looking at colleges with my son -- it's a fun park, worth a visit if you are in the area.

    I also saw the "slowness" thing -- particularly Werth, who would mosey out of RF about 5 seconds before the inning started.

    Weird.

  • It's Dusty's fault. It'll be the end of them.

  • Speaking of how teams "look", my take on the Nats- It's really weird, but the pace of the entire team seems slow. Slow walking to the plate, slow on the mound, even on some routine groundouts, it looked as if there wasn't a ton of hustle. Don't get me wrong, when the ball is hit to their outfielders, they get after the ball, I'm really referring to non-critical action- they mosey around. It's kind of odd. Maybe that "calm power" is part of the Nats ethos, idk.

  • My favorite moment of Hendricks' performance last night was the last strikeout he rung up- the cajones it took to throw a high, 86MPH fastball to Zimmerman on a 0-2 count. And he swung the bat like it was a 96MPH heater. I literally laughed out loud.

  • In listening to Maddon's post-game, he is interested in how these other teams "look" to him. He is assessing for today...and tomorrow. I love this guy.

    One observation from last night: Joe Ross is incredibly slow. 20-30 seconds between pitches at times. Hendrix had a nice, peppy rhythm which is great to see.

    I know there are plenty of purists here which I applaud, but the game just will not sustain itself unless change of pace rules come into play. Pitch clock, improve the shit-ass reviews, mound visits (there is a clock for this), batter time outs, etc.

  • Thanks, Phil. Albertos at 17, and having gotten a good signing bonus ($1.5, even though as Mexican prospect I think his team gets half of that?), throwing in the 90's and showing some command of a curveball sounds pretty interesting, even if that control is only for a dozen-pitch sample.

    What kind of a frame does he have? Is he on the stocky and short-ish side (I'm recalling Fernando Valenzuela!), or somewhat taller? A lot of 17-year olds have projection, "when he fills out" projection. Would that apply at all for Albertos?