What are those crazy Cubs up to now? They’ve got some surprising plans regarding their pitching staff. Here’s the rundown:
- Ryan Dempster may switch back to starting, after he mentors the future closer. Dempster made six starts for the Cubs to begin 2005, four of which were quality efforts. Apparently the Cubs think his repertoire is better suited as a starter. He’s due $10.5MM for 2007-08, and if he can emerge as a quality #4 type starter the contract won’t look so bad. Dempster’s best season came in 2000 with the Marlins, when he made the All-Star team and won 14 games. His success will depend on his control. It doesn’t appear that the Cubs are shopping him, though Paul Sullivan speculated that the Yankees could be interested.
- Angel Guzman will be groomed as the next Cubs closer. This is an interesting and unexpected idea. He’s looked sharp in relief this year, but it’s only been seven innings. He does have good stuff and decent control. Phil Rogers offers a little Chad Cordero speculation. It seems the Cubs will try internal options first, with the knowledge that most great closers were once starters.
- Rogers seems to think the Cubs should let the inconsistent Carlos Zambrano walk after this season, and focus that money towards a big name hitter. He names Andruw Jones, Torii Hunter, and Kosuke Fukudome as options. I like the Fukudome idea. According to Mike Plugh, Fukudome is best served as a right fielder. A Cubs outfield of Soriano, Pie, and Fukudome could be a nice core. Not sure where that would leave Matt Murton, however.
- Rogers also reminds us that the Cubs nearly signed Japanese ace starter Hiroki Kuroda last winter, and could try again after the season. Kuroda has great command, and won’t require a posting fee. Kuroda chose to re-sign with the Hiroshima Carps last winter. He’ll turn 33 before the 2008 season.