Left-handed pitchers are the Holy Grail in baseball and, unfortunately, the Chicago Cubs lack them. Right now, their projected starting lineup includes no southpaws, but the starting rotation is nonetheless deep.
Jeff Samardzija went 9-13 with a 3.81 ERA last season, but he improved throughout the season. It was announced earlier Matt Garza would start the season on the DL and is not expected to play until May. This caused the Cubs to choose Samardzija as their opening day starter.
Without Garza and Scott Baker, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery and not expected back until mid-April, who will take up those two spots in the rotation? More than likely it will be Travis Wood, which will give the Cubs a starting LHP, but only for a few weeks. The other one will more than likely be Carlos Villanueva. Neither one is expected to shine, and it should not be hard for Garza and Baker to take back their starting positions.
The Cubs signed Edwin Jackson to a four-year, $52 million deal. He will be their second starter until Garza returns in May. Jackson brings consistency to the lineup. He has a 70-71 career record, averaging 11 wins per season.
Another great signing was Kyuji Fujikawa, the stellar closer from Japan. Chicago signed him to a two-year, $9.5 million deal. Carlos Marmol has been hot and cold lately and signing Fujikawa means the Cubs do not have to fully rely on Marmol. If Marmol has a strong first half the Cubs could find value in a trade for him, thus leaving Fujikawa with closing duties. Until then, Fujikawa will be an excellent man to bring in the 7th and 8th innings to lock it down for Marmol.
Despite the depth, there is a major need for at least one left-handed starter. Maybe the Cubs can acquire one before the trade deadline. It will be interesting to see how they do without a proven southpaw starter. Perhaps Wood will shine and earn a spot in the starting rotation.
Follow Mary Chastain on Twitter.