Cubs right-hander Tyler Chatwood suffered a setback Tuesday in his recovery from a forearm strain, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune was among those to report. Manager David Ross said Chatwood’s “elbow wasn’t feeling good.” The issue sent Chatwood to the 10-day injured list Sept. 1.
With the clock ticking on the season, it’s up in the air whether Chatwood will pitch for the NL Central-leading Cubs again this year. For that matter, it’s unknown whether the pending free agent will take the ball for the Cubs ever again.
Previously with the Rockies, Chatwood was a popular breakout candidate when he reached free agency after 2017 and signed a three-year, $38MM contract with the Cubs. However, the 30-year-old has largely fallen flat since then, evidenced by his 4.70 ERA/4.88 FIP over 199 innings (67 appearances, 30 starts) with Chicago. Chatwood began this year in Cy Young-level fashion with 12 2/3 innings of one-run, six-hit ball and 19 strikeouts against four walks in his first two starts, but thanks in part to injuries, his numbers have declined precipitously since then. He owns a 5.30 ERA through 18 2/3 frames this season.
In the event Chatwood doesn’t return this season, it would dent the Cubs’ pitching depth to some extent. Statistically, their rotation has been better than most teams’ this season, but there are concerns after Cy Young contender Yu Darvish, the perennially strong Kyle Hendricks and the no-hitter-throwing Alec Mills. Jon Lester has gotten smacked around in four of his most recent starts, Jose Quintana has been on the IL with left lat inflammation since Sept. 2, and Adbert Alzolay hasn’t given the Cubs much length in any of his outings.