Mar. 14, 2012; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Randy Wells (36) throws during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at HoHoKam Park. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE
Randy Wells has been a rotation mainstay for the Cubs for the last three seasons, but he'll begin 2012 at Triple-A Iowa.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum was dead serious when he said the Cubs' 2012 roster choices wouldn't be based on sentiment:
"We're just going to make our decisions tonight and see where we go with it," Sveum said. "We've got to make a decision on the long man as well and that's as much of a priority. We have 22 or 21 guys who are pretty much decided and we'll spend hopefully not more than four hours on the other four guys.
"Some people are attached to somebody and that means a lot, but sometimes you have to put your feelings aside when it comes to these decisions and what's best for the 25 guys in the organization."
He didn't mention Randy Wells' name in particular, but he might as well have; Wells was among several roster cuts made by the Cubs Thursday morning:
Wells takes demotion well but obviously disappointed and surprised. Still makes around $2.6 million. Not too shabby.— Paul Sullivan (@PWSullivan) March 29, 2012
Wells has made 82 starts for the Cubs over the last three seasons and posted a 4.05 ERA, 104 ERA+ and 1.35 WHIP, numbers that most teams would take for their fourth or fifth starter. The Cubs, though, got very good performances this spring out of Jeff Samardzija, and have named him their No. 3 starter. With Chris Volstad, acquired in the Carlos Zambrano deal, given the No. 4 slot and free-agent signee Paul Maholm as the No. 5 starter, the Cubs have enough depth that they didn't need Wells.
There have also been persistent rumors that Wells is a bit too fond of the Chicago nightlife; his lifetime day/night splits (3.38 ERA in night games, 4.57 in day games) could be a hint.
In any case, Wells will have to be satisfied, for a time, anyway, with life in Des Moines. In 2011, the Cubs gave 33 combined starts (about the equivalent of one full-time starter) to Doug Davis, Casey Coleman, James Russell and Ramon Ortiz. In those 33 games, those five produced an ERA of 6.71 in 157 innings -- averaging fewer than five innings per start -- and the Cubs went 5-28. Russell is now a lefty setup man (and a pretty good one) and the other three are gone (Coleman joins Wells at Triple-A).
They'll do better than that in the fifth-starter spot in 2012, and they'll have Wells available as an injury replacement.