Cubs Plan to Keep Caleb Kilian in Rotation for Now

Caleb Kilian‘s second start didn’t go quite as well as the first, with a lack of control causing problems over the course of four innings. The rookie walked five Padres and wasn’t able to record a single strikeout while giving up five earned runs on five hits. Scattered between what some may have found to be an alarming number of uncompetitive pitches, however, were flashes of potential excellence similar to what he showed against the Cardinals.

Killian clearly didn’t have a feel for his breaking stuff Wednesday and ended up throwing either sinker or four-seam 80% of the time. Unless you’re Clay Holmes or Lance Lynn, that’s really not going to work very well. Rough starts like this are inevitable, now it’s a matter of taking time to break things down and plan for the next one.

“With Caleb, the stuff is obviously there, and being able to get to see him in person and seeing the way he works and the way he goes about his business, you can tell why people have been high on him for as long as they have,” pitching coach Tommy Hottovy told 670 The Score’s Mully & Haugh Thursday morning. “And, look, guys are gonna have bumps in the road, guys are gonna have hiccups in starts, but it’s about how you bounce back and about how you bounce back.

“And to be honest with you, I’m really looking forward to getting an opportunity to work with him between starts to try to continue to get to know him and figure out what makes him tick.”

Hottovy is going to have some more time to get to know his young righty because Kilian is going to remain with the Cubs for at least one more turn through the rotation.

“I think for right now for Caleb, the plan is to be in the rotation right now with us,” Hottovy revealed. “Obviously things can change in the next few days depending on how we use pitchers and things like that, but we’re still working through some IL stuff with Stroman and Miley and obviously Smyly. So I just look forward to getting to follow up with Kilian.”

This really shouldn’t be much of a revelation because the Cubs are going nowhere fast and really need to use the remainder of a lost season to see what they’ve got in Kilian and other prospects. That said, they were reluctant to bring him up in the first place, only doing so for each of his starts when injuries necessitated it, and Hottovy made it sound like this might not be permanent.

While I may not like the way the Cubs have chosen to do things with this latest rebuild, I can understand some of the big-picture moves like trading for young prospects and angling for better draft picks. What is absolutely mind-numbing to me, though, is the way the organization has managed the MLB roster. From the choice to DFA Clint Frazier to refusing to place injured players on the IL to this business with Kilian, it’s just not indicative of a team that is truly trying to maximize either the present or future.

Look, I am very well aware that the Cubs possess a great deal more information than I do and I understand that there are reasons for them not to make most of that information public. At the same time, they continue to anger and alienate fans at a rate that would be impressive if it weren’t so disappointing. There will be a point very soon — if it hasn’t already come — where they’ll have crossed the rubicon when it comes to reversing trends in season ticket sales and attendance at Wrigley.

But enough of my doom and gloom, I want to close by saying that keeping Kilian in Chicago is the right decision even if it already should have been made weeks ago. I’m very excited to see what he can do when he’s able to establish a routine and work with the big league coaching staff regularly. Now they just need to keep him there the rest of the season while making other moves aimed at 2023 and beyond.

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