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By Brian Bedo - Follow @miCubs and @BrianBedo on Twitter
With Ryan Dempster likely gone, Matt Garza possibly on the move and Paul Maholm maybe changing addresses soon, the Cubs will be in need of some hurlers to fill vacancies in the rotation. And while they may net potential MLB ready starters in deals for the aforementioned three (for example, Randall Delgado), here's a look at the internal options who could fill in.
Let's start with the usual suspects:
Casey Coleman: Coleman is 2-4 with with a 5.04 ERA in 10 games, including eight starts for the I-Cubs. He has done some long relief at the big league level. In his last start for Iowa on Saturday, he was shelled to the tune of nine runs in just 2.2 innings.
Rodrigo Lopez: Lopez has had a steadily mediocre 2012. In 16 games including 13 starts, Lopez has 4.73 ERA in 64.2 innings pitched and a 2-5 record.
Chris Volstad: Volstad's 2012 has been nothing short of abysmal. Outside of his struggles in Chicago, he hasn't been able to get anyone out in Iowa either, posting a 2-5 record with a 5.83 ERA in 11 starts. He has recorded an elevated 1.55 WHIP and has given up at least five runs in each of his last three starts.
Randy Wells: Wells is currently on the 7-day DL for Iowa but has been awful when he has taken the mound, carrying a 7.89 ERA in nine starts. In his last outing before the DL stint, he didn't make it out of the second inning and surrendered seven runs.
And the newbies:
Frankie De La Cruz: The right-hander who last appeared in the bigs with Milwaukee has been used as a spot starter and a long reliever for Iowa and could fulfill a similar role in Chicago. He has appeared in 23 games, starting 11 times and has a 3.43 ERA. In 78.2 innings pitches, he has allowed 77 hits with 46 walks and 42 strikeouts. We could see him in September when the cupboard is empty.
Chris Rusin: Rusin got off to a very start to the season, and there was talk his chance was imminent. However, he has tailed off lately (6.79 ERA over his last 10 starts) and now currently sits at 7-6 with a 4.85 ERA in 19 starts. The left-hander has given up 109 hits in 104 innings with 41 walks and 60 strikeouts. Depending on how many assets the Cubs trade off, we could see him at Wrigley before you know it.
Brooks Raley: Jed Hoyer in the past talked about prospects having to force the Cubs hand when talking about a potential callup. The left-handed Raley is trying to do just that. In a season where nearly no one has stood out as a pitcher to look out for in the Cubs system, Raley is trying to make a name for himself. After going 2-2 with a 3.51 ERA in eight starts for Double-A Tennessee, Raley was promoted to Iowa and has improved upon those numbers. In 12 starts, the 24 year-old Raley has posted a 3.21 ERA. In his last seven starts, he has gone seven innings three times and has not given up more than two earned runs in any of those outings. It'll be interesting to see if his stuff sticks at the ML level, but he definitely deserves a shot if it's there, relatively speaking to the rest of this group.
In any event, none of these options should really excite anyone. Let's hope for a good haul back in any potential trades!