The 2018 season was supposed to be a great one for pitcher , as he began a new era with a team that he had signed a lucrative three-year contract with.
Instead, it turned into a nightmare.
Chatwood ended up pitching in just 24 games, posting a 5.30 ERA and a 4-6 record while walking nearly a batter an inning in a season that could only be described as disastrous.
Now, Chatwood is back in Arizona for his second season with the Cubs, and he’s got a very simple goal as he strides into the team’s complex in Mesa.
“I feel like I’m a starting pitcher,” he said. “That’s my goal coming out of spring is to be a starting pitcher.”
Chatwood is going to have plenty of competition if he wants to crack the team’s rotation. The Cubs picked up the $20 million option on pitcher Cole Hamels during the offseason, and still have several high-priced arms in Jon Lester and Yu Darvish who are likely pencilled in for rotation spots.
Add in incumbent starters Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana, a competitor for rotation time in Mike Montgomery, and the odds seem long for Chatwood to get back into the team’s rotation when they break camp later this spring.
Despite those odds, Chatwood has been hard at work addressing mechanical changes with his delivery, and he admits that he was pressing down the stretch last season, and that he is in a much better frame of mind this time around.
“I was trying way too hard. You want to be free and easy out there,” he said. “When you know something’s going wrong out there and you try to fix it, you’re mentally grinding more on that. I feel really good, and I’m looking forward to this season.”
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Even with his struggles last season, Chatwood said that his teammates have stood behind him through the trials and tribulations that he experienced.
“It means a lot. These guys saw all the hard work I put in this offseason,” he said.
Chatwood and the Cubs will begin their spring training schedule next weekend when they take on the Milwaukee Brewers on Feb. 23.