Inbox: What's the outlook for Chatwood?

Beat reporter Carrie Muskat answers questions from Cubs fans

April 4th, 2018

CHICAGO -- 's potential, 's leadoff skills and 's lessons are among the topics in the latest Cubs Inbox.

When it comes to the Cubs' rotation, I think a lot of people overlook Chatwood's abilities to be amazing on the mound. Despite his fluctuating numbers at Coors Field with the Rockies, do you think Chatwood has the potential to become an elite member of the Cubs' starting rotation?

-- Aaron B., Fairport, N.Y.

Both Chatwood and should thrive with the Cubs. Both are getting a full season of the game planning and strategy devised by the team, and Chatwood will benefit by leaving Coors Field. For those who don't know, the right-hander posted a 3-8 record with a 6.01 ERA in 17 games in Denver last year, and he was 5-7 with a 3.49 ERA in 16 games on the road. As long as the wind doesn't blow out every time he pitches at Wrigley Field, Chatwood will do fine in Chicago. In case you missed it, he's scheduled to start the home opener Monday against the Pirates.

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Ask manager Joe Maddon to move Baez to the leadoff slot. Then Baez would have to learn some plate discipline. Batting eighth is like permission for him to flail away. Aside from no plate discipline, Baez has everything you would want in a leadoff hitter -- smart, fast and aggressive.

-- Doug G., New Orleans

Well, the problem with having Baez lead off is that he has to get on base to take advantage of his smarts, speed and aggressiveness. Last season, he batted .299 in the No. 8 spot in the lineup and .252 when he led off an inning. Let's leave Baez down there for now.

Who will lead the Cubs in saves by the end of the season? Will be consistent and effective enough to remain our closer? Will someone step up from the organization to take that role? Or will it be someone from outside the organization?

-- Rololfo G., Chicago

The reason the Cubs signed Morrow is to be the closer, so he should be the team's saves leader at season's end. The last time he was a closer was 10 years ago with the Mariners, and he bounced back and forth from the rotation to the bullpen. Now, Morrow's role is clearly defined.

Can you offer any insight as to why the Cubs kept Caratini as the backup catcher? It seems he would get far more playing time at Triple-A Iowa, which would provide a much greater opportunity to develop. There will be far fewer opportunities backing up in the bigs.

-- Dave P., Portland, Ore.

It was the hot topic this spring -- Maddon said it was the toughest decision they had to make -- and something that will be re-evaluated constantly. The biggest plus for Caratini is that he's catching a lot of the pitchers' side sessions and working with the coaches, which will help his development. A good student, he'll benefit from that experience.

Have the Cubs ever considered as a third baseman and as an outfielder? With Bryant's seemingly above-average defense in the outfield and Schwarber's great catching arm, it makes sense in my head.

-- Mark S., Wauseon, Ohio

Bryant could easily make the move to the outfield, but I haven't heard any talk of moving Schwarber to third. I think if he had his pick, Schwarber would be catching.

Which Cubs pitcher is most likely to play in the outfield ths season?

-- Joel S., Colorado Springs, Colo.

Chatwood is a possibility. He played shortstop, and he's a good athlete. I could see Chatwood in left field, if necesssary.

Will there be an Episode 3 of the Bryzzo Souvenir Co.?

-- Melissa T., Mesa, Ariz.

In Spring Training, and Bryant both said there were no plans for an update. They're focused on providing more "souvenirs."