Joe Maddon doesn’t know yet who’s going to be slotted into the last four spots in the rotation, but the honor of taking the bump on Opening Day in Texas will go to Jon Lester. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, since Lester has been the leader of the staff since arriving in 2015. Even though he’s no longer the most skilled pitcher among the starting five, he’s earned this.
The way things are looking early in spring, it would make sense for Yu Darvish to go second, followed by Cole Hamels, Kyle Hendricks, and Jose Quintana. That gives the Cubs a lefty/righty split until it cycles back around to the front, at least early on. But as with even the best laid plans, things will come up to derail the initial configuration.
For now, though, Lester is the No. 1 and everything else will fall in line behind him.