Theodore Roosevelt Lilly Was Worth Every Penny
Back in the winter of 2006/2007, the Cubs went out and signed Lilly to a 4 year $40 million dollar contract. Most Cubs fans and sports media in Chicago felt the organization was overpaying for an underachieving, oft-injured lefty. Can we finally put that misconception about Lilly to rest? Not to say that the concerns were unwarranted, but Lilly has proven everyone wrong. On top of that he has been an unsung hero regardless of his excellent pitching.
Looking at the numbers, Lilly has been exceptional. In 2007 he posted a 15-8 record in 207 innings. He also managed a 3.83 ERA and 174 strikeouts. In the NL, those numbers were good enough for 8th in wins, 10th in strikeouts, and 6th in strikeout to walk ratio (3.16-1).
He followed that campaign up with a great year in 2008. Although he finished the month of April with a 6.43 ERA, that number dropped to 3.72 for the rest of the season. He had 17 wins, good for 3rd in the NL and 184 strikeouts which was 10th.
On a Cubs team with such a star-studded starting rotation, Lilly gets lost in the shuffle at times. Zambrano, Dempster and even Harden have much more forceful personalities and face recognition, but Theodore has consistently given the Cubs great pitching performances the past two seasons. Is he the ace on this staff? No, but let’s not overlook the contributions Ted has made to the team.