CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs front office says new right-handed pitcher Adam Warren will “open some eyes” when he dons his new uniform this spring. Warren was acquired from the New York Yankees for three-time all-star Starlin Castro during the winter meetings last month, and is getting his first taste of being a Cub at the fan convention this weekend. Castro was a beloved figure but Warren has some upside to his game, which fans will get a chance to see often in 2016. He's going to be a big part of the pitching staff.
“They’re super loyal from what I hear,” Warren said of the fan base. “They’ll be with you through the good times and the bad.”
Warren joined fellow newcomers Ben Zobrist, Rex Brothers, Jason Heyward and John Lackey for a panel discussion with fans on Saturday, revealing afterwards that he always had the Cubs in the back of his mind if he ever left the Yankees.
"I was being honest,” he said. “Chicago was the top place on our list if we were going to be traded."
Finding out about the deal as he was vacationing in St. Lucia was quite the experience considering Warren saw it first on television as his phone was back in his hotel room. He eventually got all the details.
"It’s an exciting time to be a Cub,” Warren said. “You always picture yourself winning that elusive championship for the Cubs and hoisting that trophy.”
Warren came from a team that has won more titles than any other in baseball, though the Yankees bowed out earlier in the playoffs last season than the Cubs. In breaking in with New York he joined a veteran team, but the Cubs feel different to the 28-year-old.
“Sometimes with veteran guys, they’re set in their ways,” Warren said. “Whereas with younger guys it’s a lot easier to socialize and be a team with each other.”
If young and fun is what Warren wants, he’s found it in the Cubs. Add talent to the mix and a laid-back manager -- along with a rabid fan base -- and Warren may have found a home.
“From what I heard (it’s) a lot of fun,” Warren said of his new team.
Warren is the Cubs' sixth starter as spring training nears. He performed well both in the bullpen and in 17 starts last season, becoming the quintessential swing man. His career 3.39 ERA and 1.24 WHIP achieved in the hitter-friendly American League East should play well in the National League. His strength? He keeps the ball in the park, having given up just 26 career home runs in 147 appearances including 20 starts. The Cubs will be much more confident in their staff if a starter goes down this season, and Warren is one reason why.
“I want to start but I’ve pitched successfully out of the bullpen as well,” he stated.
The Cubs told Warren he was acquired to be a starter, but weren’t specific when he could break into the rotation. As always when there are more players than jobs, things simply work themselves out. The best five starters will emerge, but many more are needed to get through a season. The Cubs were pretty fortunate last year as their starting rotation missed minimal time due to injury. That may not be the case in 2016.
As for hoisting that trophy in Chicago, Warren said he “wouldn’t be human if I hadn’t thought about it."
“It would be a fun thing to imagine, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself at this point,” he said.