Where’s The Cubs Minor League Pitching Depth?

The addition of RHP Andy Sonnanstine shows us Theo Epstein has a complete lack of faith in the Cubs current pitching prospects or an unbelievable amount of faith in new Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio.

Outside a decent (13-9) season in 2008 for Sonnanstine, the 28-year-old Ohio native has struggled through most of his five year career with Tampa Bay, of which Epstein witnessed first hand in Boston.

Now he’s the latest project of Epstein’s methodical approach to piecing together the Cubs pitching staff with lower-risk offseason moves through trades and free agency.

As the Cubs discovered last year, you can never have enough pitching depth, which immediately hampered the team when both Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner suffered lengthy arm injuries during the season’s first week.

Jim Hendry’s decision last spring to part with Braden Looper and Carlos Silva left the Cubs with Casey Coleman and Rodrigo Lopez to fill the starting void; neither of whom could be considered any better than the newly signed Sonnanstine or Manny Corpas.

Although that’s not giving Bosio much to work with, it’s the game’s best pitching coaches who can rekindle the talents of has-been hurlers who’ve gone astray at the big league level–of which Corpas and Sonnanstine both qualify.

The silver lining, of course, is that both pitchers, at one point or another, have experienced big league success. Whether or not Bosio can bring either pitcher back to that same level is the great unknown, but certainly a standard he’ll be judged by as a coach.

It’s a bit discouraging knowing Epstein and Jed Hoyer fill the need gamble on pitchers outside the organization. But the truth of the matter is the Cubs lack of quality arms in the minor leagues leaves them no other choice.

The potential trade of Matt Garza, presumably for more pitching prospects, and the piece-meal approach of the pitching staff is yet another sobering reminder of just how far the Cubs have fallen out of contention.

Heaven help us if Bosio isn’t a miracle worker.


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