Nicholas Castellanos spoke eloquently about his experience dealing with the Cubs this offseason – which is to say, he experience not dealing with them. And yet, the Cincinnati Red appears to harbor no ill will towards the Cubs. Instead, he offered nuanced insight and thoughtful considerations about the challenges facing ownership, per The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma. Said Castellanos, “I don’t know the intricacies of owning a team. The only thing I can speak on when it comes to the Cubs is what a tremendous and incredible soul that organization has when it has life. The only thing I would care about if I owned the Cubs would be to give it as much life as possible. It’s hard, I don’t know what it’s like to own a business.” Polite and diplomatic as he may be, Castellanos does offer an implicit criticism of a Cubs organization that has exhibited, shall we say, less “life” than in years past. Though Castellanos seems to understand and accept why the Cubs made no contact with him after his exit interview, he did wonder broadly about the lack of interest from teams league-wide. Let’s check in on some fifth starter races..
- Cubs’ manager David Ross gives Tyler Chatwood the lead in the race for the Cubs’ fifth starter role, tweets MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. Alec Mills is also a contender for the role, though whoever wins the spot on opening day is likely to keep it until performance dictates otherwise. Ross has no interest in modernizing his approach to the fifth starter role, preferring to let players earn a role in spring training and enter the season thusly, per Bastian. Mills is out of options, but he’s a heavy favorite to land a bullpen spot if he can’t unseat Chatwood for the rotation.
- Joe Ross has pole position to break camp as the fifth starter for the World Champion Washington Nationals, per MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. Austin Voth has pitched well enough to provide a legitimate challenge, but given that both players are likely to make the team, Ross has the track record to give him an edge. He also has the gaudy bullpen ERA to suggest he’s best utilized in the rotation. It’s fair to question the significance of rotation/bullpen splits, but few can boast a Jekyll-and-Hyde routine like Ross’ 2019. The 26-year-old put up an 11.17 ERA over 19 1/3 innings as a reliever, only to counter with a 3.02 ERA in 44 2/3 innings as a starter during the second half. Voth, meanwhile, is more of a late-bloomer at age-27, and he has yet to be tested in a relief capacity. Since making his professional debut in 2013, he has just 3 minor league relief appearances to go with 3 major league appearances out of the pen. Since the right-hander is out of options (as is Ross), Voth is likely to get his first real taste of bullpen life in 2020.