It appears that left-hander Tom Gorzelanny‘s future might be with another team, due to the Cubs’ abundance of starting-pitching options and budgetary issues.
At Wednesday’s kick-off luncheon for the Cub Caravan at Harry Caray’s downtown, manager Mike Quade said the both right-hander Andrew Cashner and lefty James Russell will get opportunities to make the Cubs’ rotation this spring.
Russell had previously only pitched out of the bullpen in the major leagues. His move to the rotation has been kicked around due to the fact that Gorzelanny, in his second year of arbitration eligibility, will make upwards $2 million this coming season. Gorzelanny’s salary increase would put the Cubs over their payroll budget, which is somewhere between $135-138 million.
“It’s something that’s being discussed,” Quade said. “If you look at the makeup of the pitching staff right now, you have [John] Grabow healthy. You have Russell, who did a great job for us in his role. You’ve got [Sean] Marshall who was Marshall and you have [Scott] Maine who came on and did a nice job late. That’s a great luxury to have, four left-handers. Of those four guys we mentioned, [Russell] would be the only guy in my mind to stretch out [into a starting role].”
According to major league sources, numerous teams have contacted the Cubs about Gorzelanny’s availability. Gorzelanny pitched well for the Cubs in 2010, posting a 7-9 record and 4.09 ERA. He did fall victim to the offense’s lack of run production at times. With newly-acquired pitcher Matt Garza due to make between $5-6 million through the arbitration process, the Cubs need to trim some payroll to come in at their budgeted figure by 2011. Thus, Gorzelanny appears to be available.
Wells went ‘Wild Thing’
Right-handed pitcher Randy Wells, who will be among several players in the mix for the Cubs’ fourth and fifth rotation spots, admitted on Wednesday that he might have gotten a little bit of a big head in 2010.
“Last year I got caught up in a lot of stuff,” Wells said. “I maybe got too big for my britches.”
The Cubs’ righty won 12 games in 2009, but he went through a disappointing 2010 season during which he posted an 8-14 record with a 4.26 ERA.
Wells compared himself to fictional movie character Rick Vaughn from “Major League II.” A role played in that movie franchise by Charlie Sheen as the punk rock pitcher nicknamed “Wild Thing.”
“Ricky Vaughn turned himself into a business man [and] pretty boy,” Wells said.
At least five pitchers will vie for the four and five spots in the Cubs’ 2011 rotation.
“May the best man win,” Wells said. “Ultimately, that’s what’s going to be best for the ball club. If things don’t work out, there’s 29 other teams. That’s just the nature of the beast. I don’t want to pitch any place but here.”