We ran a poll on the site over the past week or so. It simply asked who the readers would like the fourth and fifth starters to be. Here are the results of your voting.

Sean Marshall seems to be the starter the fans most want to see in that rotation, with the lowest average rating of all the choices. Angel Guzman seems to be a guy most want nothing to do with. Curious to me was the interest in Mark Prior. I know people understand the risk involved with him, but despite that, 23 people ranked him # 1 in their minds.

Here’s a look at some of the comments left in the survey to explain the thought behind the vote:

  • Guzman – Electric stuff, but can he stay healthy? Marquis – What were they thinking when they signed him? 5th starter, at best… for a bad team. Hart – Like him, but he looked good out of the pen. I’d leave him in that role for that reason only because you need guys like that. Prior – I am afraid the Cubs will trade him for a mid-level prospect, and he’ll flourish elsewhere. Just the same, he is not mentally tough and seems to have burnt his bridges with the organization. Dempster – Cut bait! Makes Marquis look like an All Star. Gallagher – I like his makeup best of all from this group. He also does not walk hitters, something the rest of this bunch seems to do. Marshall – Inconsistent. He is projects, at best, as a 4th starter. In my opinion, the candidates are awful, and I hope (but doubt) they will acquire another arm. Some options to consider for #4: 1. Livan Hernandez – He’s older, but still an innings eater; 2. Tony Armas, Jr.- Still young enough, and has not yet realized his potential (closer?). Oft-injured; 3. Bartolo Colon – Perpetually injured and fat, but could be a good buy-low candidate. On an unrelated note, why has no one on your site brought up Joe Nathan’s name with regard to the Cubs. They need a closer (Wood will not be the answer), and he is available. He is an elite closer, and I would love to see the Cubs make that acquisition.
  • In a perfect world, we’d see a rotation of Zambrano, Lilly, Kuroda, Hill, and one of Marshall/Marquis/Hart. OK, actually, in a perfect world, we’d see a rotation of Sabathia, Peavy, Santana, Webb, and Zambrano, but I’m trying to be at least somewhat realistic here.
  • If Prior is still on the team and is healthy enough to actually compete, I think he’s going to be good. I don’t know why, but it seems that Marshall is overlooked as a part of the Cubs long term future. Hasn’t he proved himself to be a legitimate starter? I like to see the younger guys compete. I’m still waiting on Guzman and I’m not sure about Hart or Gallagher. I like to see Marquis and Dempster traded. Marquis is good enough, but teams that expect to be World Champs don’t settle for good enough. We’ve experimented with Dempster in the rotation already, I’m not sure he’s going to put up better numbers than any of the other guys. I think Dempster is a good guy-I like him, but, we don’t need him as a starter. He’s moderately successful as a closer and teams need closers, so why don’t we trade him to a team who needs one? I wouldn’t trade them without something good in return, but I think we’d be able to get something good for either one.
  • I suppose I didn’t realize how much I was going to dislike the choices until they were all presented to me… eek!
  • They all suck.
  • Marquis got us double digit wins last year. You have give him the first shot. Hart was hot, but hopefully he can continue this. Marshall has the most experience considering Gallagher and Guzman. IF Prior is healthy, which I am not sold on would be my 4th. I don’t think Dempster is my choice to start any ballgames , either he should be a reliever or trade him.
  • I think Marquis would be a good 5th starter. Eats innings. Half the time is going to give a good start and maybe a win. Probably would be better then most teams 5th starter. One of the young guys has to step up and be better and more consistent and take the 4th spot.
  • I think Marquis will be traded, but given his ability to eat innings, I put him 3rd. Not sure Demp or Hart can handle the load, and Prior and Guzman are both out with injuries. I really like Marshall and wish he could stay healthy, and Gallagher seems closest to reaching his ceiling, which is about a low 4 or 5 in the rotation.
  • Sadly, Marquis and Dempster are shoo-ins.
  • Marquis = league avg innings eater 4 spot, Prior can hopefully pitch and get days off as the 5, or let kids battle it out.
  • Rooting for Prior to pitch a full year!
  • Marquis is a proven innings eater which is essential to any ballpark. I think Prior has the type of style that will be conducive to switching to finesse pitching from being a flame thrower. I definitely think that Dempster can be a solid four or five, though nothing spectacular.
  • Marquis was respectable in 07. Gallagher deserves a chance to be the number 5 guy. Guzman could also use another chance if he got some more control.
  • I’ll start from the bottom up… Guzman is supposed to miss most of ’08 according to the Tribune back in October. Dempster stinks as a starter. ‘Nuff said. Hart was a stud in the bullpen, let’s keep him there. Marquis…not much to say. Average at best, no upside. Prior I believe is out until the season starts, so he would have to earn it. Gallagher and Marshall are interchangeable. I think Gallagher has more upside, but Marshall has been there already. Marshall #4, Gallagher #5.
  • Marshall for sure, then Marquis unless we can trade him. Gallagher is the wild card in this mix. Prior and Guzman just can’t stay healthy.
  • Does “Assuming nothing in terms of health,” mean that we should assume that everyone is healthy (the way I took it,) or that we should assume that health concerns continue as they have in the past?
  • Let’s get rid of Marquis while he still has anything approaching value. It’s only a matter of time before he implodes!
  • I like Prior, and Marquis is still great before the ASB.

    Thanks to everyone who took the survey. The winner of the book is Thomas Checkosky. His survey number was randomly drawn using the random integer generator at random.org. Congrats Thomas. I’ll send you an e-mail to get your shipping information.
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    Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail