Let me first start off by saying, I’m man enough to admit when I’m wrong. Last week, in my Cubs Roster Prediction, I confidently listed Mike Montgomery as the heir to the final rotation spot. But as of last night, Brett Anderson was awarded the fourth and final spot.
The move, from a strictly baseball standpoint, makes a lot of sense. With Anderson as the fourth starter the rotation now looks like this:
The motive behind the move is actually pretty understandable. Maddon wants to avoid having two lefties pitch back-to-back games. And if Anderson was in the fifth spot, that scenario would be inevitable. Hendricks, who won 16 games last season and finished third in the Cy Young Award voting, is comfortable in the fifth spot and knows how to handle the back of the rotation pressure.
Regarding the rotation, Maddon said, “Everybody’s always concerned about pecking order regarding who you perceive to be best or least best. It’s just more or less balancing it out. I don’t even know how important that is either. Some teams only have righties — you see righty, righty. Is that a benefit to the other side? I don’t know. We’re just going to do that to break it up a little bit.”
Mike Montgomery, my pick to click for the last rotation spot, will return to the bullpen come opening day. Arguably, the bullpen is where Montgomery does his best work. After his playoff performance last season, it’s hard to be upset by the move whatsoever. “He totally understood and has a great attitude toward all of this,” Maddon said, referencing the Montgomery move.
With the rotation finally solidified and set in stone, it’s hard not to start to get excited for Opening Day. T-minus 9 days until Cubs baseball returns.