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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  • 8 in a row to end the year...let's do this playoffs thing.

  • shelby miller (ATL) finishes the season with a win, snapping his 24-game winless streak...because ATL bats are non-existent.

    3.02 era, 1.25 whip, 205.1ip, 171K

    6-17 w/l...ugg.

  • Totally independent of the Cubs winning or losing today, Dan Haren came into today's game having earned $2M of his potential $3M in performance bonuses for 2015. 

    By making the start (his 32nd start of the season) he picked up $500K, and he'll get the remaining $500K if he can throw at least 8.2 IP in the game (he was at 181.1 IP coming into the game, and he needs to reach 190 IP to get the remaining $500K), 

    It's a bit like the old "Bowling for Dollars" TV show, but of course Haren is actually "Pitching for Dollars."

  • holy crap, MIL is just...awful.

  • i think he's currently playing for the Santo Domingo Meths. he's an Adderall-Star player there.

  • I'm longing for a Neifi sighting.

  • if you have stable/fast internet you can stream with and you don't mind giving up $20 a month check out "sling tv".

    TBS, TNT, ESPN 1+2, etc...100% legal.


  • 68 pitches (50 strikes)

    love seeing that...especially with the batters doing very little with it.

  • Yeah, keep him off the playoff roster.

  • Or, he's looked exactly like Ted Williams.

  • Lately he hasn't looked like Ted Williams...

  • Reading between the lines on some of his comments he seems to know his longish swing doesn't play well with a man on third and two outs, and two strikes on him. I doubt a playoff adjustment is happening, just something he'll need to figure out next year. I have this odd feeling he will.

  • Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 4m4 minutes ago
    Bryant leads NL rookies in HRs (26), RBIs (99), 2B (31) and runs (86). Last rookie to reach 26 HR, 99 RBI, 31 2bs, 86 runs and 74 BBs?

    Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 4m4 minutes ago
    Boston’s Ted Williams in 1939

  • Surprised and bummed that Mark Buehrle is retiring. One of my all-time favorite pitchers. I think he could pitch for 5 more years.

  • Probably going to a bar/restaurant with TBS. Cord-cutting is so over-rated.