Cubs Suffer Simultaneous Rotation Injuries

There is no use denying that as a Mariner fan I took great delight in the happenings surrounding Carlos Silva this spring. There are few players that I have rooted harder against than he, and to see his self-appraisal turn out to be delusional gave me joy at a time when Spring Training was wearing thin. With the season beginning, I was prepared to toss Silva out of mind and get on with following the many interesting stories cropping up from those that play Major League baseball.

That is, until this morning when I was greeted with the following two notices in rapid succession.

Yes, it appears that both Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells are headed to the disabled list in Chicago. Not one week into the season and the Cubs now need to replace two of their starting pitchers. If Carlos Silva had been just slightly less of a egotistical me-first prima donna, he would likely be filling one of those holes and have a chance to prove his worth to either the Cubs or other teams in the league. Instead, he is wherever he is. Enjoying his paid year probably, but a baseball leper nonetheless for the time being.

The question concerning Cubs fans is how serious these injuries are and who does enter the voids left by Cashner and Wells. The answer to the former appears to be not traumatic in the long run. Cashner has been diagnosed with a mild rotator cuff strain and will get two weeks of rest before a re-evaluation. The Cubs are likely to be overly cautious with Cashner and that could prolong his stay on the disabled list past what is normal for his injury.

Wells’ injury is reportedly a strain to his forearm which is much better news than it being in the elbow or shoulder. Nothing further is known at the moment, but forearm injuries are rarely season-threatening for pitchers. But they can linger and might take Wells off the team for a month or so.

Casey Coleman is almost surely getting one of the call ups, and the other might be a more fluctuating assignment given to whomever is best fit when the team has a need for a fifth starter. Chicago has the next three Thursdays off from baseball so some juggling of the rotation around those days can help lessen the burden on the newer new guy. Of course, with all the roster movement on going in the early weeks, the chances are also there for the Cubs to pick up someone off waivers or who was recently released. I heard Jarrod Washburn is still looking for a job. Either way, it’s a tough blow for Chicago especially so close together and so soon into the season.

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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

34 Responses to “Cubs Suffer Simultaneous Rotation Injuries”

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  1. Luke in MN says:

    I understand the Mariners hating on Silva, but I don’t get why the Cubs dropped him. He was a good starting pitcher by any measure in over 100 innings last year. I don’t think there are too many people who fit that description who can’t land an MLB job.

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    • ThundaPC says:

      The Cubs tried to stash Carlos Silva in the minors just in case of a situation exactly like this but of course Silva would have none of that.

      Here’s Silva’s words on going to the minors: “No chance,” Silva said. “That’s not on my mind right now, not at all. I’m not an insurance player. My guess is that’s what they want.”

      In that case, he might end up going the way of Jermaine Dye and eventually retire. No one is going to pick up Silva for anything other than insurance.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Given the performance last year, I can’t say I blame Silva for taking that position.

        After a good year at our work, how many of us would gladly accept a position that is widely viewed as “a bad demotion” so someone else can do the job that you did well last year?

        I’m guessing most of us would make some type of comments that’s involved kissing and something about private parts, or shoving a head somewhere, or something that wouldn’t come across as very friendly … perhaps even arrogant.

        Putting it another way, he was almost as valuable as Zambrano last year … and they want him to take a spot in the minors.

        [1] I don;t blame the Cubs, I’d want to have him in 3A as well.

        But …

        [2] I also don’t blame Silva for thinking that being in 3A would be a demotion, a bad career move, and all risk no reward, etc.

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      • Seattleite says:

        “After a good year at our work, how many of us would gladly accept a position that is widely viewed as “a bad demotion” so someone else can do the job that you did well last year?”

        If I had made tens of millions of dollars in my career and I was on a guaranteed contract and my boss was required to still pay me the same amount? Well, I for one would gladly take a demotion with less responsibility and less stress.

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    • Jamie says:

      I don’t think the issue is that Silva was good for 100 innings last year (with “good” meaning “average”). It’s that those 100 innings were the only time he has been good since 2007.

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      • Luke in MN says:

        Well, so what if he sucked in 2008 and 2009? If he was good enough to play in 2010, he’s a far better bet in 2011 after proving he can still be a good pitcher.

        And you’re right that his ERA was just average (4.22), but FIP and xFIP of 3.75.

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  2. cream says:

    Call the Braves.

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    • Worry says:

      Would they be willing to take on Kawakami’s salary?

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    • harpago17 says:

      I dunno….with Jurrjens on the DL, the Braves are down to only 2 major league starting pitchers on their AAA team. Gotta love depth.

      (Correction: Kawakami is on their AA team, not AAA).

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  3. Doug says:

    Injuries aren’t that serious. From what I’ve read they should be a month-ish. The Cubs can skip their 5th starter spot pretty much throughout all of April. They should only need to use someone in the 5th spot twice before Cashner and or Wells are back.

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  4. Daniel says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but actively rooting against someone seems kind of juvenile.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      You must have missed the Adcock thread.

      Wait, there’s fans that don’t/won’t actively root against a player because it’s juvenile?

      The whole aspect of being a sports fan is juvenile. If not we’d be sitting around talking about important and mature things, like … well, um, I’ll think of something.

      Either get in or get out. *grin* Heh Heh.

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    • Tasintango says:


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    • CheeseWhiz says:

      On the contrary, as a Mariner’s fan Carlos Silva gave us MANY reasons to actively dislike him as a person and a baseball player. I always thought that Alex Rodriguez was treated too harshly around here, but c’mon, if you can’t get emotionally involved in the game why follow it at all?

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  5. DonCoburleone says:

    Why not give Sean Marshall another crack at the rotation? He’s never been all that great there but maybe after a couple years of dominating out of the bullpen he’s gained some confidence and can handle starting now. It’s worth a shot at least…

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  6. Johnny Abrego says:

    Yeah, they could just send Marshall to AAA, so they can stretch his arm out to pitch more than 2 innings. Should only take a month or so. What’s that you say? Wells and/or Cashner will be back in that same month? Hmpf, nevermind then.

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  7. CircleChange11 says:

    A line that starts off with “If I had made tens of millions …”, could conclude any number of ways.

    Bottom line is that if someone is set on playing in the major leagues, then playing in AAA is not an acceptable option. He could have easily just taken the money and went through the motions. Most/Many would likely have done that.

    I was just responding to the idea that it would be arrogant of him to refuse the demotion.

    He’s in a situation where he can afford to say “ML or nothing” (or another team).

    My guess is that he and his agent think that another team will give him a shot at the ML level.

    While I am not a fan of the proposition, he does appear to be the kind of RH strike thrower that Duncan has success with.

    Yes, Silva has not been all that good since 07, and that’s all the more reason to view AAA as a career ending demotion.

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  8. CircleChange11 says:

    I’m trying to think of a player that I root against?

    I gave up on being anti-Jeter years ago.

    He always wins; I always lose. No fun.

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  9. Ryan S says:

    Hey Cubbies, Paul Maholm is for sale. We also have a couple of cost controlled former 1st rounders who might tickle your fancy. 3 for the price of Castro? Any takers?

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    • matt w says:

      Man, I am not sure which first rounders you mean, but I would throw in Ronny Cedeno and a blowjob to make that happen.

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    • mike says:

      sorry I think you’re confused in how Cubs – Pirates deals work. The Cubs are the ones robbing your team of its best players, not the other away around.

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  10. Eddie says:

    Well, we’re boned.

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  11. CubsFan says:

    If Cashner only requires one stint on the 15 day DL then there is nothing to panic about here. Casey Coleman can fill the #4 spot in the rotation until Cashner returns and then slide to the #5 spot, replacing Some Dude, who will take the place of the fifth starter as needed while Wells and Cashner are out.

    It doesn’t say good things about the team when 40% of our starting rotation gets hurt on the same day and I still consider difficulty in scoring runs to be our biggest problem.

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  12. Jack Weiland says:

    I don’t understand the Silva hate from Ms fans. He was a victim of bad luck and even worse defense. Why people almost universally bag on the guy without any regard to his extreme poor luck blows my mind.

    Take a second, actually look at his numbers, AND THEN judge him for yourself.

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    • Jack Weiland says:

      I was really hoping this article was going to have actual analysis of the Cubs situation. Wrong again!

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    • Hey, thanks for assuming that we “almost universally” dislike the guy for reasons 100% explained away by bad luck and defense. Nailed us to a T, there! And no use waiting to jump to conclusions when you can just skip the tedious step of asking if there are other reasons like Silva’s relation with the local media, other players, bad attitude, a general suckiness even after stripping away luck and defense and, yes, even more.

      As for analysis, until we have more details on the expected length of the stays on the disabled list and confirmation on who they are filling the spots with, there’s no analysis to be done only speculation. So, yeah, you were wrong to hope for that.

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      • Jack Weiland says:

        You ever actually met the guy? Seriously? I couldn’t care less that Ms fans dislike him for reasons beyond his play on the field. That’s even worse.

        As for your defense of this article … here are some ways in which this could have been analyzed in a worthwhile way:

        1. Deep digging on Cubs in-house options, including Casey Coleman, Sean Marshall, etc.
        2. Deep digging on FA targets who may have been overlooked.
        3. Thoughts on players other organizations may deem expendable who could help.

        Ways in which you posted a worthless article:

        1. Writing two paragraphs about your personal feelings regarding Carlos Silva.
        2. Following that by breaking old news and flinging a few half-assed ideas that you don’t develop in the slightest bit.

        Forgive me for hoping to find something worth reading here. I meant nothing by it.

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      • The Ancient Mariner says:

        So, Jack, you feel free to make grand sweeping pronouncements on a subject of which you are completely ignorant — in fact, you go beyond ignorance, you openly state that you “couldn’t care less” about understanding it — and out of that, you have the gall to criticize others for making uninformed judgments?

        That’s the glue calling the peanut butter sticky, and no mistake . . .

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  13. Buford says:

    Re: Wells
    This is the first paragraph from an article on the website “Health and Fitness Advice”.

    Major League Pitchers Should Fear Forearm Tightness and Tommy John Surgery
    May 24, 2007 by Sal Marinello

    If a pitcher on your favorite major league team suffers from “forearm tightness” you have a reason to worry, as over the past couple of seasons this innocuous sounding “boo-boo” has wound up being an indicator of a major injury that can necessitate Tommy John surgery.

    Re: Cashner
    A strain is a tear of a muscle or tendon to whatever degree which ranges from mild to a complete tear.

    I would think even a mild strain would be a cause of concern for a 22 year-old pitcher who has yet to establish his durability especially
    when it occurs in the rotator cuff which is more problematic than an elbow.

    Keeping pitchers’ arms and shoulders healthy is tough enough without the added baggage of problems in their early years.

    And while no one knows whether or not these injuries will turn traumatic, these red flags should not be taken lightly.

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    • The Ancient Mariner says:

      I think the point is that at the moment, they aren’t major; presuming the Cubs are careful with these guys, they should heal without long-term consequences. You’re right, though, these are reasons to keep a close eye on Cashner and Wells going forward.

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