Chicago Cubs 2012 Pitching Staff Preview

The Chicago Cubs will kick off their 2012 season Thursday, April 5,  at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field vs. the Washington Nationals. We discussed the probable batting order and lineup, and now it’s time get a preview of the Cubs pitching staff for this season.

With the loss of Carlos Zambrano and his 24 sometimes-volatile starts traded to Ozzie Gullen’s Miami Marlins and with Casey Coleman (17 starts) and Rodrigo Lopez (16 starts) doubtful to crack the rotation, the Cubs will trot out at least two and perhaps three new starters to the bump. Here is a look at how the starting rotation may look in 2012 and a peek in to the Cubs bullpen.


Matt Garza will most likely be the Cubs No. 1 starter. Photo by dbking via Creative Commons 2.0.

Projected 2012 Chicago Cubs Starting Pitching Rotation

Matt Garza – Will be the No. 1 starter and looks to improve on his 10-10 record despite a meager 3.32 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. Started 31 games last season and struck out 197 batters in 198 innings. Big question for the Cubs brass is whether to sign Garza to an extended deal or trade him if a worthy offer comes in at the trade deadline. Will definitely be the anchor of the rotation.

Ryan Dempster – Turns 35 May 3 and is beginning to slow down. A 10-14 record with a 4.80 ERA in the National League is not the stuff of a No. 2 or No. 3 starter. Having exercised his lofty $14 million salary in 2012, Demster may also be a trade option around the trade deadline. Don’t look for big things from him.

Paul Maholm – A free agent pickup, the 29-year-old southpaw worked 162 innings last year with the Pirates while compiling a 6-14 record but with an ERA of only 3.66. Should be a solid addition for the rotation but keep in mind his 2010 season was 9-15 with a 5.10 ERA. Look for a season of 8-10 wins with an ERA in the 4.20-4.40 range.

Competition for the No. 4 and No. 5 starters will be fierce, with Randy Wells, Travis Wood, Chris Volstad, Casey Coleman, Rodrigo Lopez, and Jeff Samardzija all in the mix. A strong spring training may earn the spot for at least one of these potential starters. Based on past history and potential, the final two spots will those of:

Randy Wells – Cubs will be looking for the promise Wells showed as a starter in 2009 with a 12-10 record and 3.05 ERA. Last year’s 7-6 record in 23 starts was dampened by an ERA of 4.99. Wells could be a key for the rotation with a bounce-back year or replaced mid-season if his struggles continue.

Travis Wood – Picked up in the Sean Marshall trade with the Reds. Early indications suggest that Wood has a spot in the rotation based on his 2010 rookie season of 17 starts with a 5-4 record and an ERA of 3.51/1.08 WHIP. 2011 numbers saw a spike up to an ERA of 4.84 with a 1.49 WHIP in 22 starts, but Theo Epstein likes the potential of the 2005 second round pick. Would also give the Cubs a second lefty in the rotation.

Projected 2012 Chicago Cubs Bullpen

Closer: Carlos Marmol – 10 blown saves in 2011 cannot happen again. At times looks like the most dominant pitcher in baseball, while at others simply cannot throw a strike. His 2011 second-half record of 0-4 with an ERA of 5.91 was difficult for Cubs fans to watch. Manager Dale Sveum will push Marmol to use his slider more and drop his cut fastball experiment, while hoping a 15-lb weight loss in the off-season and better focus parlays the 29-year-old back to a top tier closer.

Set Up Man: Kerry Wood – The 34-year old veteran seems comfortable now in his eighth inning role and should be a solid anchor in the bullpen. The other setup option may be lefty James Russell, coming off a productive year in 2011 as a reliever. Throw out his five forgettable spot starts and Russell’s 2.19 ERA looks formidable.

The rest of the bullpen will include Samardzija and Volstad unless one or both are added to the starting rotation. From there, expect three of the following group to round out the bullpen: Marcus Mateo, John Gaub (L), Rafael Dolis, Scott Maine (L), Trever Miller (L), Andy Sonnanstine, and Casey Coleman.

2012 Chicago Cubs Pitching Outlook

With a 2011 team ERA of 4.33, ranking 25th out of all 30 teams in baseball, the Cubs need to make drastic improvement to compete in the NL Central and National League. 2012’s starting rotation and bullpen will be a work in progress, and the Cubs brass has accumulated young pitchers with the hope development will take hold for 2012 and beyond. Don’t expect any miracles overnight but look for a slow, steady progression that leads to a competitive pitching staff in 2013 and 2014.

About Jim McGrew

A lifelong Chicago sports fan, Jim enjoys playing, writing about and watching sports. He can be reached at or on twitter at @MySports1.
Jim lives in the Chicago area and is married with 2 children.


  1. Hello, you used to write great, but the last several posts have been kinda boring… I miss your super writings. Past few posts are just a little out of track! come on!

  2. I must declare that it will be a single wonderful awareness. This definitely gives a corporation the means to obtain within and incapacitated bottom and also genuinely experience generating one thing unique along with personalized to their requires.

  3. Fantastic blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any tips? Thanks!

  4. Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and all. But think about if you added some great graphics or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and video clips, this website could certainly be one of the greatest in its niche. Great blog!

  5. Hi there! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 4! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the excellent work!

  6. Hey there! I’ve been following your blog for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the good work!

  7. We absolutely love your blog and find the majority of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for. can you offer guest writers to write content in your case? I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on some of the subjects you write in relation to here. Again, awesome blog!

  8. Providing your pet dogs with proper nutrition can also help them fight against sickness and infection. For many, pets are an integral part of their life and so when they go on vacations they want to take their pets along with them. Insert wood stakes every few inches to make for a prickly terrain.

  9. I really appreciate this post. I have been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thank you again

  10. [url=][/url] [url=][/url] [url=][/url] [url=][/url]

  11. Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good results. If you know of any please share. Many thanks!

  12. Usually I don’t learn article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me to take a look at and do so! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, quite nice post.

  13. I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this website. I’m hoping the same high-grade web site post from you in the upcoming also. Actually your creative writing skills has encouraged me to get my own site now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a great example of it.

  14. Thanks for the marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you will be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and may come back from now on. I want to encourage that you continue your great job, have a nice weekend!

  15. You made a few fine points there. I did a search on the theme and found mainly folks will have the same opinion with your blog.

  16. I always spent my half an hour to read this website’s posts every day along with a mug of coffee.

  17. You might have not necessarily intended to do this, but I do think you’ve managed to communicate the particular perspective large amounts of individuals are throughout. The particular sense associated with needing to guide, but not focusing on how or even wherever, is anything a lot of us are getting via.

Speak Your Mind