It looks like the Chicago Cubs are one step closer to finalizing their starting rotation for Opening Day 2013. Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson were locks to make that rotation. Unsurprisingly, manager Dale Sveum has confirmed that Scott Feldman will enter spring training as one of the last two starting pitchers.
Before Feldman signed with the Cubs, general manager Jed Hoyer promised him a chance to become a starting pitcher. When Feldman pitched for the Texas Rangers, he was often switched from the rotation to the bullpen. The Cubs want to give him every opportunity to succeed. They don’t want him to look over his shoulder after every start.
This news may surprise some fans when they look at his 2012 stat line. In 29 appearances (21 starts), Feldman had a 6-11 record with a 5.09 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. His career numbers include a 4.81 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. The Cubs are hoping that he’ll return to his 2009 form, a season where he won 17 games and posted a 4.08 ERA.
That leaves one job for a group of three pitchers that includes Scott Baker, Travis Wood and Carlos Villanueva. Sveum hinted that Baker may need more time to recover from Tommy John surgery. Wood should have the advantage at the No. 5 spot because he has more upside and he’s a left-handed pitcher. With Villanueva, the Cubs would have five right-handed pitchers.
Two pitchers won’t make the rotation. How will they respond? Will they remain professional or will they let it affect their performance out of the bullpen? With a depleted core of middle relievers, the Cubs could use one of those pitchers to step up behind Shawn Camp, Kyuji Fujikawa and Carlos Marmol.
Projected 2013 Starting Rotation