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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  • Beane cam at least point and laugh at Hammel.

  • The genius Angelo traded Olsen at Martzs request

  • Maybe Theo will sign Shark just so he can call Billy Beane and say: "Let's see...Russell? Check. McKinney? Check. Hammel? Check. Ninja? Check. Any other deals?"

  • To be fair to Emery and Trestman the foreshadowing of last year started happening well before them with the failure or mismanaging of multiple draft classes forcing the team to overspend in a free agency market that is even worse than baseball. Kyle Long seems like a good pick but they traded away another good one in Olson because of Martz's stupidity and inability to change his offense to fit the team talent.

  • HAGSAG: I think Domonic Brown does fit the criteria of a reclamation project, but unless he is willing to accept a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, I don't think the Cubs would be interested given where the Cubs are right now. A couple of years ago? Yes. But probably not now.

    Brown would be better-off going to a club that is rebuilding and re-establish his value there, like Chris Coghlan did with the Cubs. And if he can re-establish his value, he could get traded to a contender at the trade deadline and take it from there.  

  • "they just fade away"

    (Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)

  • Amazing to me how quickly it fell apart under Trestman. Year 1, they were a Chris Conte brain fart away from making the playoffs. Year 2 -- coach, staff and GM all fired.

  • I am sure Jonathon Mota will be signed next.

  • AZ Phil, what is your thoughts on Domonic Brown as a reclamation project?

  • He also played LF in deference to Curtis Granderson.

    Meh... other moves to make...hope to see a move or two soon.

  • I haven't seen much Bears football this year - difficult to watch the games out here, but the game I saw the week before I was watching in shock as I saw them actually make tackles. And Cutler has looked really good, too.

    I guess people can quibble about play calling, but the team I saw is way more than 50% better coached (my only very minor disagreement with your comment).

    Under Trestman, the team didn't do anything right. This team played like a well coached team when I saw them play the Rams.

  • "What is sometimes overlooked about Vogelbach because of his "bad body" and because he has struggled so much defensively is that he is a hard worker, has a great attitude, loves to play the game, and is very well-liked by his teammates, and while that may not seem important, teams do actually value stuff like that. "

    As well they should. Replace a word here and there and you are describing any worker someone would hire.

  • Hak-Ju Lee signs a minor league contract with SF Giants.

    Some closure on the 6 degrees of Separation for Matt Garza/Chris Archer

  • Hahahahaha

  • -0.3 WAR in 7.1ip last year...

    -3 WAR projected over the course of a season.

    the cubs just added an all-star reliever's worth of work by losing b.schlitter.


  • Rockies sign Brian Schlitter to a minor league contract. Good luck in Coors Field. Enough said.