As Joe Maddon’s Cubs near their opening night on Sunday against the Cardinals, the final pieces of the roster puzzle appear to be falling into place. While the top two starters of their rotation have been set in stone for some time now; Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta, there was some uncertainty towards the back of the rotation.
Kyle Hendricks, who had an impressive run in his brief time with the major league club last season, provided significant competition for Travis Wood, who regressed and struggled at times last year, but had a strong Spring.
Also competing for a rotation spot was Tsuyoshi Wada, who had a fine 2014, but has battled the injury bug at times. In addition to Wada, Dallas Beeler and Eric Jokisch competed for the final spot. However, the 13 million dollar question facing Joe Maddon was what to do with Edwin Jackson, who has struggled in his two years on the North Side. On Friday evening, Maddon answered those questions by releasing his rotation for the 2015 season.
2014 Stats: 16-11, 2.46 ERA, 5.6 WAR
2015 ZiPS: 15-10, 3.10 ERA, 4.3 WAR
2014 Stats: 10-5, 2.53 ERA, 5.1 WAR
2015 ZiPS: 9-8, 3.67 ERA, 1.9 WAR
2014 Stats: 10-11, 3.47 ERA, 1.8 WAR
2015 ZiPS: 8-8, 3.89 ERA, 1.4 WAR
2014 Stats: 8-13, 5.03 ERA, 1.3 WAR
2015 ZiPS: 9-11, 4.31 ERA, 1.2 WAR
2014 Stats: 7-2, 2.46 ERA, 1.6
2015 ZiPS: 11-9, 3.54 ERA, 2.8 WAR
The Cubs look quite different this year than last, and with Anthony Rizzo’s ascension, as well as their top farm system, the Cubs appear to be a team to watch out for in the coming years. The question becomes whether their offseason’s moves lead to a competitive battle in the NL Central this season.
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