Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Season Recap: Chad Gaudin/Neal Cotts

Cotts Gaudin

We're still waiting on Byron to provide us with a season recap for Kerry Wood, but I thought I'd just keep the train moving and write up about legendary relievers Chad Gaudin and Neal Cotts.

Actually, while neither is about to become a Hero of the Revolution or anything, the Cubs have certainly had worse relievers in the past.  (Talk about your lukewarm endorsement, eh?)  Let's break it down lefty-righty:

Lefty: Neal Cotts

Take a look at these lines - 13.1 IP 8.10 ERA, 65.1 IP 5.65 ERA, 60.1 IP 1.94 ERA, 54 IP 5.17 ERA, 16.2 IP 4.86 ERA, 35.2 IP 4.29 ERA.

I emboldened the proverbial red-headed step child of Neal's career - That One Year What He Was Good.  It was also the year that the White Sox won the Series, coincidentally or not.  One thing is for certain - that year coupled with the hand he picks his nose with are the only two reasons why he has a job.  Cotts admittedly strikes out a lot of guys, but he isn't particularly effective, and while Lou tried to use him as the Lefty Specialist this past season, Cotts actually did worse against his bretheren than he did against righties.  In fact, they batted .269 against him with an .851 OPS.  Ugly.

Unfortunately, Cotts is the defacto lefty specialist for '09, unless Jim Hendry grabs one of the free agents out there or pulls off a great trade.  But on the bright side, just how much damage can one player do in 35-50 innings of work?

Righty: Chad Gaudin

When Gaudin was the throw-in player of the Rich Harden trade, Cub fans rejoiced.  After all, at the age of 25 and with a track record as a starting pitcher, Gaudin is the insurance policy for Harden's explosive shoulder and elbow.  We also believed - and perhaps still believe - that Gaudin made Jason Marquis minimally the 7th best starting pitcher on the team.

Then, Gaudin lost effectiveness.  No, I mean he seriously started to suck.  But up until August 22nd, Gaudin's ERA as a Cub was 2.75 in about 20 innings of work.  Then, he gave up a very, very ugly 6 earned runs to the Nationals, pitched twice, and spent a long amount of time on the bench waiting for his back to get healthy enough to allow him to pitch again.  He managed to make 5 appearances in September, 4 of which were during Chicago losses, and he accumulated an ERA of 15.75 for the month.

In other words, he's a bit of a dark horse.  Gaudin just might be a talented middle reliever who will eat innings and get outs, he may even be a starter next season, or he might be little more than an insurance policy that never delivers, even when called upon.

Later today, in theory, will be Kerry Wood.  Tomorrow will be Bob Howry.

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