It's been a very busy offseason so far for the Cubs as they locked up their dream front office, a group that has stressed run prevention above all else.
To this point, however, that front office has yet to make any changes to the team's pitching staff.
In a conversation last week with my friend Cubs Enthusiast Billy, we were discussing the potential starting rotation for the Cubs next year and it gave me an idea: I wonder how all the fans think the rotation will shake out next season.
Theo Epstein has already said he wants to have as many as nine starting pitcher options, which makes the five-man rotation hard to predict. Throw in injuries and potential ineffectiveness and it's near impossible.
But we can have fun anyways and still throw out our projections.
We've already examined Cubs Enthusiast Billy's guess for the rotation. Now let's take a look at the first commenter's rotation.
Here is my cousin Matt's projected starting five:
1. Matt Garza
2. Ryan Dempster
3. Yu Darvish
4. Joe Saunders
5. Tim Wakefield
This is Matt's best-case scenario and if things shake out like this, he believes Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner will just miss out on the rotation.
It's a really interest starting five. Garza and Dempster are shoe-ins as long as they're healthy and still on the roster.
The Cubs definitely bid on Yu Darvish but their level of interest in, as Patrick Mooney called him, baseball's international man of mystery is still unknown.
Let's just pretend he comes to the Cubs. A four or five-year deal would be pretty likely. While Darvish may be projected more as a No. 2 (or No. 1 on some teams), he could slot in behind Garza and Dempster in the Cubs' rotation and could ease the transition into the American game. If Darvish is as successful as some people think, that'd be a heck of a No. 3.
Saunders would also be a very good No. 4. He's consistent and reliable and would provide the rotation with a left-handed arm.
Wakefield is old and at the end of a great career, but he's shown he could still be effective, even in the AL East. Imagine a move to the NL Central that just lost Albert Pujols and may be without Prince Fielder as well as Ryan Braun if he serves a 50-game suspension.
Old man Wakefield could also find himself in the bullpen and the Cubs could give Wells another chance or give Cashner a shot to strut his stuff after his attempt at the rotation was muffed last year with a bad shoulder injury.
The Cubs may still be far away from a playoff team, but a rotation like this would put them a lot closer. Adding Darvish, Saunders and Wakefield to the slew of starting options they already have would be a welcome addition, even if Wakefield made his professional debut before Matt was even born.
Do 'Yu' (sorry, had to be done) have a prediction for the Cubs' 2012 starting rotation? Comment in the section below with your projection of the five Opening Day predictions and I'll discuss each and every rotation comment here on CubsTalk.