It’s not that the Cubs think no pitcher in baseball is better than James Russell. They just think that it’s better to have no one as their fifth starter than to have James Russell occupy the position.
Bruce Miles has the story. It’s not a particularly huge revelation by Mike Quade, since he’s only committing to this four-man rotation until May 14, a span that includes two off days and will put little to no additional burden on the pitching supergroup of Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza, and Casey Coleman. I don’t know that either Randy Wells or Andrew Cashner will be anywhere close to ready to start by then. I doubt it. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see another bullpen-led effort the next time the 5th slot rolls around.
My only real reaction to this news is that it would take a significant amount of luck for the Cubs to climb any closer to contention by the end of May. And I’m actually fine with that, because it’s rather entertaining to watch some of their young players develop. Seeing this year’s hopes end soon could bring even more exciting (yet still unreliable) young talent up from the minors, and I’d welcome that with open arms.