What's there to say about the 2011 Cubs rotation that hasn't already been said about Charlie Sheen? Parts are old, broken down, past their prime and clinically insane. The last statement referring to a one Carlos Zambrano, although his recent thought on retirement might be the sanest thing he's pondered in quite a while.
As it stands, the rotation in 2012 should go in looking like this:
1. Matt Garza
2. Ryan Dempster
3. Andrew Cashner
4. Randy Wells
5. Casey Coleman / Jeff Samardizja / Prospect
The Zambrano omission is based on the very probable chance that he isn't a Cub in 2012, either released or traded in a bad contract swap deal.
Man, does that ever sting to look at. The World Series is won with pitching, yet the Cubs seem to be driving 100 MPH in the opposite direction.
Matt Garza is a borderline ace, and I didn't expect him to pitch like it this season. He's one of the few things this team can comfortably build around. One has to be happy with his acquisition the more you look at it. This team would be completely in the gutter without the little bit of optimism and consistency he's bringing.
Ryan Dempster set as the No. 2 guy? I know, it hurts me just as much to look at. His career decline over the past three years is marked and clear, and at this point he has turned into a bottom of the rotation kind of pitcher.
Andrew Casher is a complete unknown when it comes to his longevity, although his talent-level is quite high. Expecting him to get over 150 innings pitched would be a stretch. For a team needing a No. 3 starter and hoping for him to pitch above that rank, they will likely be sorely disappointed.
Randy Wells has seemed to prove that his first-half issues were linked to his injury as opposed to a drop in skill, as his production over the past month and beyond has been back to his quality career levels. As a No. 4 starter, it's hard to complain about a guy who should have a reasonable WHIP and an ERA in the low four.
The fifth spot is ugly, downright ugly. Yet it's a quick fix with just one young pitcher being able to produce to reasonable levels. Trying out Jeff Samardzjia after he's become an adequate reliever could seriously hurt his development and turn him into a useless starter.
In general, the fifth spot shouldn't be an issue to stress, although grabbing an innings-eating pitcher wouldn't be a mistake if the price is right.
Adding CJ Wilson seems impossible with the Yankees and other high spenders driving up his cost. The Cubs couldn't afford to pay him the cash, and outside of CJ and CC Sabathia, the pitching market looks quite barren.