Out of the Box: Who closes for the Cubs

By now surely you've heard all the rumors, all the chatter coming out of Chicago regarding Ryan Dempster's potential shift from closer to starting pitcher.

It'd be a curious move, and frankly, an ill-advised one, considering the time it takes for a short reliever to build up the stamina needed to make the transition to starter. In a way, it reminds me quite a bit of the Toronto Blue Jays' decision to convert then-closer Kelvim Escobar to starter in May 2003. He effectively wound up useless for about a month while ramping up his pitch counts, though his final 12-8 record, 3.92 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 26 starts from May 18 forward were at least respectable numbers.

Of course, those who have owned Escobar over the course of the past decade are well aware of his health issues in the years since. Dempster is hardly a more durable pitcher today than Escobar was back in 2003, so let that serve as an example of the best-case scenario if the rumors indeed prove to be true. Needless to say, keep tabs on Dempster's usage over the coming days and weeks, as that's the only way we'll be able to uncover the truth.