Let me begin this by saying that I'm a long time reader, first time poster. I've only been bleedin blue for 20 years now, I know I'm a lot younger than a lot of you guys. But I've been around the game for a while, so I hope I can at least pretend to be knowledgeable.
Now, lets move on to the purpose of my post - Andrew Cashner becoming this years Angel (Guzman, that is).
For the first 6 weeks of this season, we've all watched a talented roster struggle to put together a string of victories, sans the last 4 days. A lot of writers and so-called baseball experts (Phil Rogers, I'm lookin at you...) in the Chicago area continue to point fingers at Lou, D-Lee, and A-Ram as reasons this team looks as bad as it does right now. My simple response to all the people calling for Lou's head or sitting Ramirez is this: Have these three men not had LONG track records of success. Lee and Aramis have been two of the best Cubs I have had the pleasure of watching over the last decade and a half, and I can't remember a manager this team has had that gives me as much confidence as Lou Pinella. The man knows baseball and knows winning. Period. Would removing him from the dugout spark this team? Maybe, but it is VERY unlikely we find a better fit for this team mid season.
I feel this roster has pieces in place to be competitive all year in a weak division. The one position that needs the most work --- right-handed set-up. We've done the Zambrano thing, looked for trades, tried a few young arms from Iowa, but nothing has stuck. The team has definitely been stung by the loss of Angel Guzman, but it seems that we have a similar pitcher on a plane coming home from Nevada. Andrew Cashner was drafted out of college with big upside, great stuff, and a power fastball. Of course, we all hope one day he turns into an ace for this staff, but why on earth is this kid not in Philadelphia right now?
I've heard Lou and Jim being asked about Cashner a few times and they basically brushed it off with the ole "we're stretching him out to start". Thats all good and dandy, but this team has no need for a starter right now, what it needs is a power righty to get the ball to Marmol. This kid was drafted as one of the best closers in college ball, right? The cubs need a reliever, right? We use the draft to get players that can fill in weak spots on our roster, right?
Then why is this not getting pushed more? Are we worried about impeding the kids progress to become a starter (nevermind the fact that he was a closer in college, and will most likely be in a similar position later in his career)? Well I give you one name - Phil Hughes. His time in New York's pen seems to have actually helped him develop into a solid starter for that rotation. There are other players who have followed similar patterns in recent years - David Price comes to mind. It has proven to be an effective way to develop young arms, yet the Cubs continue to ignore it.
The season is young, and there is time to make a run at this division, but the bullpen needs help NOW. Please Jim, make that call to Iowa. Don't wait till late June to grab someone from a non-contender, when it might be too late to save this thing. Get Cashner up here to do what he has had success doing - getting hitters out at (or near) the end of ballgames. Those 50 K's and OBA under .200 would sure look good behind Marmol right now. Also, if we need him to start next year, then all you've done is get him acclimated to big league hitters, that can't be all bad. Go Cubs!