Of all the storylines that have followed the 2014 Chicago Cubs, the one that we will remember when we look back on the season is the incredible performance by the team’s rookie pitchers. 2014 was supposed to be the year of the hitter, between Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo entering their primes and the promotions of the organizations best hitting prospects, and on that front, all has played out as advertised, but no one could have predicted the success that the Cubs’ rookie arms have had.
(Stats per cubs.com)
The biggest victory in all of this is that, not have the Cubs’ struck gold with these rookies, but all four of them, combined, are making roughly $2 million and are under team control until 2020. Additionally, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are doing cartwheels through the halls because the success of Hendricks, Wada, Ramirez and Schlitter drastically changes the Cubs’ free-agency plans this off-season. The team will still, likely, pursue a frontline starter (and will probably end up overpaying), but this foursome’s success and contract status’ will allow the front office to spend a little more to land the right arm and it will allow them to be more selective in who they pursue. Additionally, the success of these rookies boosts each of their trade values, should the Cubs choose to go down that path.
The bottom line is this: Hendricks, Wada, Ramirez and Schlitter came out of nowhere and, as a result, have helped the Cubs succeed right now (11-9 in their last 20 games) and have given the team options for the future that they didn’t have before. Additionally, it gives hope that the Cubs have more arms down on the farm that could succeed at the big league level. Jump on the bandwagon now because the Cubs’ pitchers are about to take the league by storm!
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