Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cubs' Pitching Woes

The Cubs problems is 2011 has come from poor pitching. Now I'm not saying their pitchers are bad, just their seasons. So the Cubs have two choices. They either have to work internally or sign free agents.
Working internally will be difficult. We'll start with their best pitcher, Matt Garza. Garza didn't have a bad season, but the Cubs were hoping for better. He had a 3.66 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 198 innings, which is pretty good, but Matt Garza has the ability to drop his ERA under 3. If he continues to mix his pitches in later innings he'll have the ability to throw another no-hitter.
Ryan Dempster was the biggest disappointment for the Cubs. He had a high ERA of 4.88, but he still had a high strikeout rate. He wasn't consistant and needs to work hard this off season to get back to the way he was. Hopefully he picks up his option and prepares to win for the Cubs.
Next is Big Z Carlos Zambrano. I personally love Carlos Zambrano, but he's has faded in the past few years. His multple arm angles don't trick anyone anymore. I suggest they work him from the bullpen as a long reliever to let him get his stuff back. I also suggest he throw away the 4-seam fastball and splitter and add a circle change. Look at how successful Roy Halladay became when he threw away the 4-seamer. If Big Z works well as a long reliever then bring him back to the rotation.
Randy Wells, is a good back end pitcher. He just needs to be more consistant with his pitches. His 4.99 ERA is not showing his best stuff. He has trouble finding the strike zone and ends up walking people. If he regain the confidence in his stuff he be a solid 3, 4, or 5 starter.
Now The Cubs have to make some choices this offseason. First decide if they should trade Carlos Zambrano. If they trade him they will have more space for a young reliever, but I'd give him one more chance.
If they focus internally the rotation should look like this.
  1. Matt Garza
  2. Ryan Dempster
  3. Randy Wells
  4. Andrew Cashner
  5. Jeff Samadzija
Now Samardzija and Cashner will be converted relievers, but they've proven they have the ability to start. High velocity fastballs and good secondary pitches.
If the sign free agents they should go after two lefties.
  1. Matt Garza
  2. Mark Buehrle/Eric Bedard
  3. Ryan Dempster
  4. Paul Maholm/Bruce Chen
  5. Randy Wells
This rotation will give the Cubs two great long relievers in Andrew Cashner and Jeff Samardzija.
I suggest that Theo Epstein give an offer to C.C. Sabathia. It's not likely that Sabathia would sign but that would make their rotation top notch.
If they sign Sabathia and a couple of lefties their rotation should look like this
  1. C.C. Sabathia
  2. Matt Garza
  3. Mark Burhrle/Eric Bedard
  4. Ryan Dempster
  5. Paul Maholm/Bruce Chen
Now that would help the Cubs, but to be honest C.C. Sabathia is just wishful thinking.
The other problem they had with pitching was their closer Carlos Marmol. Marmol had a high strikeout rate but he had trouble findng the strike zone with his fastball. When he did find the strike zone he ended up giving up a hit. I suggest he spend his offseason working on control instead of velocity. Other than that their bullpen was solid. They just have to bring back Kerry Wood to have the veteran edge over some other clubs.

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