Since we’ve yet to get an announcement on who has made this pitching staff heading into opening day, I thought I’d share my opinion just in case Jim Hendry is looking for some advice.

Starting Rotation

1. Ryan Dempster – I don’t consider him the best pitcher on the staff, but he’s earned the spot more than any other choice over the last few years. He gets the top spot just due to consistency, not due to his ceiling.

2. Matt Garza – This guy has the best stuff on the staff and will be the best pitcher this season. Don’t worry about what we’ve seen this spring. He was throwing fastballs the majority of the time.

3. Carlos Zambrano – I want to believe he’ll be better this year. I really do. Deep down inside, I want to like Zambrano. Please, Z, just show me something this year.

4. Randy Wells – Came ready to pitch this spring and earned his spot. He’s got to rebound from last year’s sophomore slump.

5. Carlos Silva – This one will probably spark some disagreement from you guys, but I believe in Silva. Let’s not forget that from opening day through July 6 of last year, Silva posted an 11-5 record with an ERA of 2.96. That would be outstanding for a # 5 starter.

Bullpen

This is where things get shaky. I’d feel a little more comfortable with some baseball favorites courtesy of BetUS. Instead, here is how I’d arrange my pen.

1. Jeff Samardzija – He’s out of minor league options so he has to make this team or be placed on waivers.

2. John Grabow – I think 2010 was a fluke for him. He’s been a good reliever in his career. If he really is healthy, you have to give him the first shot over James Russell.

3. Marcos Mateo – This guy is not getting any talk and I can’t figure out why. He’s had a good, albiet limited, spring training and I think he deserves a spot.

4. Sean Marshall – He’s the number one lefty in this pen and I wish he’d get a chance to start. Sadly, I think those chances have come and gone for Sean.

5. Andrew Cashner – I believe in his stuff, but not his endurance. Because of that, I groom him to be a closer and hope I can one day trade Marmol in his prime.

6. Kerry Wood – Primary setup man for Marmol.

7. Carlos Marmol – Closer and owner of the best stuff in the pen. Because we have guys like Cashner and Wood in the pen as well, I’d like to see Marmol used in non end of the game situations as well if the situation warrants.

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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