The Cubs have announced that Alec Mills will get the first start of the Cactus League season on Saturday, followed by Tyler Chatwood on Sunday and Adbert Alzolay on Monday. The three righties are all in contention for spots on the staff, but Chatwood is the early favorite to land the fifth rotation spot when the regular season starts.
Tyler Chatwood broke Javy Baez’s bat in live BP. Javy yells, “Owww!” and shakes hand, with a playful grin. Tossed the lumber away, got a new one and continued. pic.twitter.com/0pTqzbASuN
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) February 20, 2020
That would likely leave Mills and Alzolay in the bullpen, though both are expected to pick up a few spot starts along the way. A lot can change over the course of the season, which is where the Cubs’ depth could pay dividends. They spent the winter making a bunch of low-cost moves to bolster their bullpen depth, but many of those pitchers could end up performing well above their pay grade.
And while Chatwood doesn’t fall into the value category, his return to viability as a starter would bolster an aging rotation that isn’t nearly as dynamic as you’d like to see across the board. Even if he performs well, though, Chatwood isn’t the most efficient pitcher on the planet. That’s where we get back to Mills and Alzolay, both of whom may be counted on to eat a lot of innings as swingmen.
Saturday’s spring opener against the A’s from Sloan Park is set for 2:05pm CT and will represent Marquee Sports Network’s maiden voyage.