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  1. #1
    Senior Member chibears55's Avatar
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    Default Cubs pitching 2017 and beyond

    We know their in a good place with position players as most are young and controlled for a few years and they still have a few developing well in minors.

    But

    Help me out here...

    Where is their depth in 2017 once we get pass
    Lester Arrieta Hendricks Lackey Montgomery

    If something happens to one of these guys in ST or April who next in line that ready and can be counted on for a couple starts if needed?

    Also

    I thought at the very least they would add a couple quality AA AAA type starters this off season via trades to have as depth but mostly to have ready for 2018 if/when they lose both Arrieta and Lackey and Montgomery still a question mark in rotation.

    As of now, I don't know if there anyone in their system that we can say he the guy capable of replacing Arrieta or Lackey in rotation..
    Do they have anyone that we can positively say would be better then just a capable 5th starter?

    I guess looking ahead to where they can still add capable arms..
    Hope they can land Tyson Ross
    Get lucky with their 2 early picks in draft
    Hope they can land a gem with their low allowable money in IFA

    Trade deadline or next off season to get a stud arm via trade going to cost them their top positional players depth..

    To add from FA next year most likely will cost big money that supposed to go towards their main young position players like Bryant Russell etc.


    So, I don't know but my concern right now that can cost them to make a playoff push in 2017 and 2018 is pitching and lack of depth for rotation.





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    Last edited by chibears55; 12-24-2016 at 11:46 AM. Reason: I

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  3. #2
    Senior Member CSF77's Avatar
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    I was looking at the minors some today.

    AAA: Williams, Johnson and Zantazny

    Johnson has the best potential with a mid 90 fastball with movement and a true hammer. Other 2 are fringe. Problem is Theo has been stocking up on career AAA SP for depth. Johnson would have to win a spot in their rotation. His injury track record is his drawback.

    AA: Tseng pitched 22 games here but put up a 4 ish ERA. With them adding depth at AAA you have to think they will hold him back here. He really didn't do much to prove he was deserving of a promote. Added to him will be Underwood who was injured and bounced around some. He needs to get back on track here. Clifton is due to hit here also. With most SP prospects hitting a wall at this level you have to cross your fingers one breaks through.

    MB should have De La Cruz, Paulino Sands and Steel. Keep a eye on Paulino. Has the make up that could excel in the bigs.

    SB Cease and Hudson. Not sure on Hatch as he didn't pitch.

    So over all it is not bad but we have seen Theo and Jed use Iowa for injury replacement for starters. Tenn is where the talent starts.

    The wild card is Johnson. They really don't need him to start as they have filled that need. It is up to him to bump guys out of his way.


    So as far as a inhouse answer. Unsure. The system has shifted to pitching talent taking over the top 30 list but the guys that look like they may impact as a distance away.

    So if I was Jed I would go after Ross pretty hard and let the system work it self out. I would guess if Williams rebounds from injury that he would get the first shot. He seems like a solid back of the rotation guy that can give quality innings. But nothing exciting. After that Underwood has #2 potential. He comes back strong we will be talking about him soon.

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    Senior Member SilenceS's Avatar
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    Its a big year for Cease. They think he is going to rise fast this year. He is TOR arm.
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    Johnson has a career 4.1 per 9 walk rate in the minors. Unless that drastically changes he wont be starting. Given they were already using him out of the bullpen in AAA I think that ship has already sailed. Overall, it's not really replacing Lackey that is a problem. Ross makes too much sense not to happen and he largely answers that question of Lackey after 2017. It's Arrieta that is the problem.

    I'd be surprised if the cubs aren't exploring 3 team trade options using Arrieta to parlay someone like Archer. I just can't really fathom a case where TB will be better off at the trade deadline because most of the teams with top 30 prospects aren't good trade partners. They are either in division(BOS/NYY), not competitive(CHW, PHI, MIL, SD) or are some what odd fits like Atlanta who's 2-3 years away probably or PIT who hasn't really shown the willingness to deal prospects for vets. That's not going to suddenly change either because I don't believe you can deal 1st round draft picks until the following offseason anyways. And that itself brings up issues because if you're drafting in the top 10 why are you trading for Archer to begin with?

    Realistically, Arrieta should return at least a top 50 prospect and a top 100 prospect. More likely you'd also probably see a 50 grade type tacked on the end. Assuming they can get that sort of return, you could realistically offer TB 2 top 50 prospects, 1-2 top 100 prospects and 1-2 50 grade prospects and the cubs would really only be footing about half that price. I don't see how TB turns down that sort of offer. And I think a team like Houston has the need/players to pay that for Arrieta. It certainly would thin out their depth a little but what's the point in signing Beltran/Reddick and trading for McCann if you are just going to wait on prospects?

    And from there you buy yourself the 2-3 years you need for the young pitching prospects to hopefully come through to replace Lester as he ages and Hendricks/Archer if they leave for FA.

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    Senior Member chibears55's Avatar
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    Thanks guys..
    Looks as bad as I thought

    20 YO Dylan Cease looks to be the most promising of the bunch but might be 2 or 3 yrs away..
    Hopefully he rises fast and can be ready for 2018.

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    Senior Member CSF77's Avatar
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    Cease is still young. I doubt they rush him. I would keep a eye on Underwood. He has high quality stuff also but needs to command his secondary pitches more.

    Signing Ross should be the main priority. Sign him and they could toss Williams as the 5 for a few years to let Cease develop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chibears55 View Post
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    Thanks guys..
    Looks as bad as I thought

    20 YO Dylan Cease looks to be the most promising of the bunch but might be 2 or 3 yrs away..
    Hopefully he rises fast and can be ready for 2018.

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    I wouldn't say it's "bad" it's just bad timing. The cubs have legit arms in their system. Cease and De La Cruz are legit guys. Albertos probably is as well. Underwood has the stuff of a TOR type but hasn't done yet on the field yet. Hudson could be quite good but he's ridiculously tall and it takes tall pitchers a long time to get their mechanics right. If we're having this conversation 3 years from now it will likely be about how much quality pitching the cubs have. The issue is more that there's a 2-3 year gap between what they need at the MLB level and what's ready. Realistically replacing Lackey even without Ross isn't *that* hard. You're probably not going to find anyone with the quality he gave the cubs last year in house right away but Ryan Williams if healthy can be a productive #4/5 type starter. Ditto for Tseng. Clifton and Hatch are both likely mid rotation starters. Long story short, there's depth in the system but it's mostly young and could go either way.

    As I said the issue is more about replacing Arrieta assuming they don't find common ground to re-sign him. There just aren't many pitchers who you can project to have 4 fWAR year to year. You're basically talking 15-20 guys a season tops. This is largely the reason the Chapman trade bothered me. I knew this day was coming and having a guy like Torres around would make acquiring someone like Archer easier. Obviously the trade happened and so did the Soler trade. Those pieces are gone. So, you're going to have to find other ways. If they can find a creative way to deal Arrieta and prospects in a 3 team deal for essentially Archer that solves a lot of their problems.

    IFA isn't going to solve their problems unless some how Otani works out. Most IFA's are 16-18 so you're talking 4-6 years after they sign. Cuban IFA's are slightly different but given the new changes there's relatively little reason for them to defect before they turn 25 unless they are also 16-18. Otani in theory could solve the issue but that's a bunch of if's right now. If he comes over and if he wants to play for the cubs and if he comes over after the cubs are out of IFA penalty... oh yeah and if he's actually as good as he seems. FA will always be an option as well but that probably means punting 2018 because the FA pool next offseason is going to be similarly bad. It's the 2019 offseason that will be good.

    Ultimately, that's why I feel like if you're not going to re-sign Arrieta you have to deal him. It's the simplest move. It may hurt the 2017 team depending on whether or not you're able to deal for Archer now/at the deadline but it ultimately leaves you far better positioned going forward. And there's going to be someone out there at the deadline. There always is so making sure you have the pieces in place for a trade is always going to be important. So, worst case you're buying Arrieta's 2018 replacement next July rather than next december but at least this way you have additional ammo to do so.

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    Senior Member SilenceS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CSF77 View Post
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    Cease is still young. I doubt they rush him. I would keep a eye on Underwood. He has high quality stuff also but needs to command his secondary pitches more.

    Signing Ross should be the main priority. Sign him and they could toss Williams as the 5 for a few years to let Cease develop.
    They wont rush him, but they are going to release the handcuffs barring injury.

    Article on how he could be the Cubs top prospect by the end of the year. Guy has some nasty stuff and if he continues to throw strikes has a high ceiling.

    http://www.cubsinsider.com/tis-cease...ct-lists-year/
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    Senior Member chibears55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beckdawg View Post
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    I wouldn't say it's "bad" it's just bad timing. The cubs have legit arms in their system. Cease and De La Cruz are legit guys. Albertos probably is as well. Underwood has the stuff of a TOR type but hasn't done yet on the field yet. Hudson could be quite good but he's ridiculously tall and it takes tall pitchers a long time to get their mechanics right. If we're having this conversation 3 years from now it will likely be about how much quality pitching the cubs have. The issue is more that there's a 2-3 year gap between what they need at the MLB level and what's ready. Realistically replacing Lackey even without Ross isn't *that* hard. You're probably not going to find anyone with the quality he gave the cubs last year in house right away but Ryan Williams if healthy can be a productive #4/5 type starter. Ditto for Tseng. Clifton and Hatch are both likely mid rotation starters. Long story short, there's depth in the system but it's mostly young and could go either way.

    As I said the issue is more about replacing Arrieta assuming they don't find common ground to re-sign him. There just aren't many pitchers who you can project to have 4 fWAR year to year. You're basically talking 15-20 guys a season tops. This is largely the reason the Chapman trade bothered me. I knew this day was coming and having a guy like Torres around would make acquiring someone like Archer easier. Obviously the trade happened and so did the Soler trade. Those pieces are gone. So, you're going to have to find other ways. If they can find a creative way to deal Arrieta and prospects in a 3 team deal for essentially Archer that solves a lot of their problems.

    IFA isn't going to solve their problems unless some how Otani works out. Most IFA's are 16-18 so you're talking 4-6 years after they sign. Cuban IFA's are slightly different but given the new changes there's relatively little reason for them to defect before they turn 25 unless they are also 16-18. Otani in theory could solve the issue but that's a bunch of if's right now. If he comes over and if he wants to play for the cubs and if he comes over after the cubs are out of IFA penalty... oh yeah and if he's actually as good as he seems. FA will always be an option as well but that probably means punting 2018 because the FA pool next offseason is going to be similarly bad. It's the 2019 offseason that will be good.

    Ultimately, that's why I feel like if you're not going to re-sign Arrieta you have to deal him. It's the simplest move. It may hurt the 2017 team depending on whether or not you're able to deal for Archer now/at the deadline but it ultimately leaves you far better positioned going forward. And there's going to be someone out there at the deadline. There always is so making sure you have the pieces in place for a trade is always going to be important. So, worst case you're buying Arrieta's 2018 replacement next July rather than next december but at least this way you have additional ammo to do so.
    I'm not saying the guys they have are bad , I'm saying the situation bad for 2017 and 2018 as far as not really having anyone in the system they can turn to if needed in 17 and as it looks now , maybe even 2018.

    My main concern is the depth for this year, do they have anyone who can step in if needed this year and will they have one or two guys ready for next year?
    Right now it doesn't look like they do

    I just hope they won't need to make a desperate trade and have to over spend on prospects via trade or money via FA to get a needed arm or two.


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    Reading over some reports on their pitching prospects looks like they have a nice group projected for 2019 ETA..

    I guess with the group they project for 2018 like Cease Johnson Underwood etc and with the 2019 group, if they can get 2 or 3 of them to develop on the plus side, they can be in pretty good shape with rotation come 2019 and 2020,with a nice young core.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chibears55 View Post
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    Reading over some reports on their pitching prospects looks like they have a nice group projected for 2019 ETA..

    I guess with the group they project for 2018 like Cease Johnson Underwood etc and with the 2019 group, if they can get 2 or 3 of them to develop on the plus side, they can be in pretty good shape with rotation come 2019 and 2020,with a nice young core.

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    I think you've identified both pitching issues pretty well, depth for 2017 and replacements for Arrieta and Lackey in 2018. So first the depth issue, bottom line is they need Tyson Ross. Basically you need to go into a season with 8 starting pitchers and the Cubs currently have 6, the top 4 plus Montgomery and Zastryzny. I'm not as worried about Montgomery as you are, as a 5th starter he should've adequate even if Ross, when he gets healthy could very well be better. Zastryzny is a just a guy really but he will be starting at AAA, Underwood is on the 40 man roster but health is a concern and he's going to start in AA. Right now I think they are 2 pitchers short. Signing Ross and a reclamation project or two for AAA depth would go a long way towards fixing the problem. I think they'll get that done.

    To me 2018 is a different story. In a perfect world Underwood is healthy and ready and Cease could see his first taste of the show by the end of the season. Also there are a ton of MOR/BOR types available in next years FA class, even some with upside like Alex Cobb, but it's awfully thin at TOR. Basically it will be Arrieta and Yu Darvish unless some guys opt out. Now I don't trust Jake's command or Darvish's health but if the latter is healthy for the entire 2017 season you consider him. Still looking at the situation this screams "a trade is comin'" but I'm not sure they have the assets to get an Archer or even a resurgent Sonny Gray. The wild cards in 2018 FA are Masahiro Tanaka and Madison Bumgarner both with opt outs. Tanaka is more of a health risk than Darvish though so I don't see a fit but I have no doubt in my mind the Cubs would be all in on Madbum. You wouldn't think SF would let Bumgarner go but reports are that they are very far apart on a renegotiated deal. I'll believe his FA when I see it. It comes down to this the Cubs have to trade for the likes of an Archer or sign Jake, Darvish or Bumgarner if he's available. Those are tall orders but I do trust these guys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TC in Mississippi View Post
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    I think you've identified both pitching issues pretty well, depth for 2017 and replacements for Arrieta and Lackey in 2018. So first the depth issue, bottom line is they need Tyson Ross. Basically you need to go into a season with 8 starting pitchers and the Cubs currently have 6, the top 4 plus Montgomery and Zastryzny. I'm not as worried about Montgomery as you are, as a 5th starter he should've adequate even if Ross, when he gets healthy could very well be better.
    I just View Montgomery as a question mark for the season. ..

    Looking over his career stats , he looks to fit better as a reliever then starter..

    23 career starts he Average just over 5 IP 4.23 ERA 1.326 WHIP 17 HR .249 AVG .754 OPS

    42 games Relieving 64 IP 2.10 ERA 1.166 WHIP 2 HR .220 AVG . 595 WHIP

    Granted im sure most his relief appearances were probably situational against Lefties, but he looks to be better suited for the pen IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SilenceS View Post
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    They wont rush him, but they are going to release the handcuffs barring injury.

    Article on how he could be the Cubs top prospect by the end of the year. Guy has some nasty stuff and if he continues to throw strikes has a high ceiling.

    http://www.cubsinsider.com/tis-cease...ct-lists-year/
    Think it will be Eloy Jimenez, Ian Happ then Dylan Cease in the rankings. The 120 innings is fair. Eloy is looking like a superstar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CSF77 View Post
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    Think it will be Eloy Jimenez, Ian Happ then Dylan Cease in the rankings. The 120 innings is fair. Eloy is looking like a superstar.
    He is Soler made over, but actually seems to want it way more. Kid is huge.


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    Quote Originally Posted by chibears55 View Post
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    My main concern is the depth for this year, do they have anyone who can step in if needed this year and will they have one or two guys ready for next year?
    And do what? Like Ryan Williams if healthy could probably be the cubs 5th starter and it wouldn't be that bad. But if you're looking for impact pitching were say Arrieta/Lester to go down then the answer is no. But that's the case for a lot of teams.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TC in Mississippi View Post
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    I think you've identified both pitching issues pretty well, depth for 2017 and replacements for Arrieta and Lackey in 2018. So first the depth issue, bottom line is they need Tyson Ross. Basically you need to go into a season with 8 starting pitchers and the Cubs currently have 6, the top 4 plus Montgomery and Zastryzny. I'm not as worried about Montgomery as you are, as a 5th starter he should've adequate even if Ross, when he gets healthy could very well be better. Zastryzny is a just a guy really but he will be starting at AAA, Underwood is on the 40 man roster but health is a concern and he's going to start in AA. Right now I think they are 2 pitchers short. Signing Ross and a reclamation project or two for AAA depth would go a long way towards fixing the problem. I think they'll get that done.

    To me 2018 is a different story. In a perfect world Underwood is healthy and ready and Cease could see his first taste of the show by the end of the season. Also there are a ton of MOR/BOR types available in next years FA class, even some with upside like Alex Cobb, but it's awfully thin at TOR. Basically it will be Arrieta and Yu Darvish unless some guys opt out. Now I don't trust Jake's command or Darvish's health but if the latter is healthy for the entire 2017 season you consider him. Still looking at the situation this screams "a trade is comin'" but I'm not sure they have the assets to get an Archer or even a resurgent Sonny Gray. The wild cards in 2018 FA are Masahiro Tanaka and Madison Bumgarner both with opt outs. Tanaka is more of a health risk than Darvish though so I don't see a fit but I have no doubt in my mind the Cubs would be all in on Madbum. You wouldn't think SF would let Bumgarner go but reports are that they are very far apart on a renegotiated deal. I'll believe his FA when I see it. It comes down to this the Cubs have to trade for the likes of an Archer or sign Jake, Darvish or Bumgarner if he's available. Those are tall orders but I do trust these guys.
    2017 the pitching staff's should be:

    Iowa:

    Seth Frankoff 6'5" 210 (28)
    Jordan Pires 6'0" 190 (26)
    Ryan Williams 6'4" 220 (25)
    Rob Zastryzny 6'2" 205 (24)
    Jake Buchanan 6'0" 233 (27)

    Guys fighting for a spot:

    Pierce Johnson 6'3" 200 (25)
    Jen-Ho Tseng 6'1" 195 (22)
    Duane Underwood 6'2" 210 (22)
    Tyler Skulina 6'5" 230 (25)
    Brad Markey 5'11" 185 (24)

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    Quote Originally Posted by beckdawg View Post
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    And do what? Like Ryan Williams if healthy could probably be the cubs 5th starter and it wouldn't be that bad. But if you're looking for impact pitching were say Arrieta/Lester to go down then the answer is no. But that's the case for a lot of teams.
    My issue is Williams is a 86 MPH fastball pitcher. That is slower than Hendricks. His chances are slim vs that level of talent.

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    I think people are also missing the magic of Bosio. The guy can polish a turd. I think his track record has shown this


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    Quote Originally Posted by beckdawg View Post
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    And do what? Like Ryan Williams if healthy could probably be the cubs 5th starter and it wouldn't be that bad. But if you're looking for impact pitching were say Arrieta/Lester to go down then the answer is no. But that's the case for a lot of teams.
    Do what for 2017?
    Hopefully if someone goes down for a couple starts, they can have someone to step in and just not suck for those games and at least give them an opportunity to win.

    You answered my concern with the first line..
    IF Williams healthy he won't be that bad as 5th starter..

    So if that all you can come up with as their depth for 17 if needed in case they lose guys for a couple starts during season , that not good..

    Seriously who is their legit 6th and 7th starter that they can count on to give them QS if needed during the year?

    Come mid May and Montgomery not cutting it, who steps in?

    Lackey pulls a groin and misses 4 starts, who fills the void?

    Unless I overlooked a depth signing of someone that fills that void, I'm not sure they have anyone now.

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    Also for those talking about Cease on the fast track... I'd slow that down a bit. He's thrown 69 innings as a pro. That's not a statement about his quality because he's obviously got a high upside but it takes a while to build up your arm in order to pitch 100-150 innings. Plus, he's going to probably start in A next season. I'd be surprised if he starts in A+ because unless they see something different with his command than the numbers suggest he could use the lower level work. Realistically a half season in A could go well and he could quickly be promoted to A+. And I could see him moving quickly though that but a month or two in A+ is basically going to kill the rest of 2017 without him having pitched much in AA. I don't see them rushing him through AA/AAA and given he hasn't yet had a history of throwing 150+ innings and does have a history of arm injury I'd be rather shocked if they were pushing him to throw September innings in 2018.

    If you're hoping on someone for 2018 at all I'd put he money on De La Cruz. He probably starts in A+ given he finished in A and pitched well with good command. Him carving up A+ wouldn't shock me given his k rate was absurd in A and all of last year. AA could be an actual test for him as he's not as comfortable with his third offering(change) yet but he could realistically see half a season there by the end of 2017.

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