Chicago Cubs: A Look At The Potential 2013 Starting Pitching Rotation
Major League Baseball kicked off Spring Training this weekend, and it's time for the Chicago Cubs to figure out which five pitchers will start for the team this season. While the Cubs are still in desperate need of a few good arms, there are a handful of hopeful pitchers that may take the mound for the Cubs every five days. With about five weeks left until Opening Day, it’s time for each pitcher to prove himself to manager Dale Sveum. Will the Cubs' pitchers have what it takes to become a winning team in 2013?
Probably not, but its pitching staff might see a slight improvement that could pave the way for future winning seasons down the road.
Baker will be the pitcher to worry about this season. The righty had Tommy John surgery in 2011, forcing him to miss the 2012 season, but Cubs' GM Theo Epstein is confident that the pitcher will be ready to go by Opening Day. “If things go perfectly, he’ll be stretched out to five or six innings for that first week of the season,” Epstein said of the pitcher. Baker last played for the Minnesota Twins in 2011, earning a record of 8-6 with an ERA of 3.14. He has produced some solid numbers in the past, but will he make a full recovery from elbow surgery?
It's unclear right now who will be the fourth man on the Cubs' rotation, but there's a good chance it could be Feldman, who was acquired in 2012 from the Texas Rangers. Feldman seems to be the weakest link of the starting five, jumping back and forth between a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher. The 30-year-old right-hander finished out his career in Texas last year with a shaky record of 6-11, and an ERA of 5.09. Feldman seems to be an inconsistent pitcher and the Cubs really can't afford that, given their painful 101-loss season in 2012. But with Matt Garza temporarily out with an injury, there may be no choice but to give Feldman a chance to prove himself to the Cubs.
The Cubs acquired Wood in 2011 from the Cincinnati Reds. The 26-year-old saw some time in 2012 as a starting pitcher for the Cubs, and seems to be a perfect fit in this year's starting rotation, given their lack of left-handed pitchers. Although he had a rocky season last year with the a record of of 6-13 and an ERA of 4.27, the Cubs are optimistic that he can help the team by covering for recently injured Matt Garza. This is Wood's time to prove to his team that his variety of pitching styles are exactly what the Cubs need to start winning games.
Jackson, who was acquired from the Washington Nationals during the off-season, has had a fairly successful pitching career, but his stats at Wrigley Field say otherwise. In three career starts at the Friendly Confines, Jackson has an ERA of 7.94, giving up 15 earned runs in 17 innings pitched. Not exactly the confidence boost Cubs’ fans are looking for when it comes to pitchers, but let’s give the guy a chance. Jackson signed a four-year contract with the Cubs in January, so he has plenty of time to prove to the team that he is the quality pitcher that they are looking for.
Samardzija is predicted to be the ace of the Cubs’ pitchers, after an outstanding 2012 season, ending his final start of the year with a complete game. The 28-year-old has certainly earned his spot as a starter after multiple successful years as a relief pitcher for the Cubs. Not only does Samardzija prove he has what it takes to be a star pitcher, but Sveum has said the right-hander has what it takes to be a leader on and off the field. Each time Samardzija steps on the mound this season, there is a good chance the Cubs could walk away with a win.