Theo Epstein has been around for a long time, he knows better than anyone how cruel a 162 game baseball season can be. There’s a reason that on-paper favorites falter every single year, injuries and unexpected regression occur and leave teams scrambling to fix problems they didn’t anticipate happening.
Well, after signing Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood to lucrative contracts this past winter, one can assume that the Cubs weren’t planning on having to add starting pitching from outside the organization during the 2018 season.
A 3-month month absence due to a triceps injury for Darvish and strike-throwing disease for Chatwood have changed things. In response to these issues, Epstein struck a deal for the accomplished Cole Hamels last month, and the early returns have been excellent.
Hamels can only fill one spot, though, and today the Cubs found out that Darvish’s rotation replacement Mike Montgomery felt some shoulder discomfort in his bullpen session yesterday, forcing him to go on the disabled list.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 17, 2018
Montgomery is optimistic but also uncertain about his recovery timeline.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) August 17, 2018
With Montgomery sidelined and Darvish one setback away from being shut down for the season, the Cubs rotation is one injury away from being in serious trouble.
With two weeks left before the waiver trade deadline, the Cubs should look into adding another starter.
The Cubs could add from the Southside of town for the second straight year as James Shields should be available. Former Cub Clayton Richard could probably give them more competitive innings than Tyler Chatwood can. There’s not going to be a Justin Verlander type on the market, which is why Darvish returning to the rotation is so important, but they have to prepare for a scenario in which he doesn’t.
If the Cubs are confident that Montgomery can return in a week or two, then so be it. If they aren’t, then Theo should get on the phone.