Dontrelle Willis explains why he thinks the Cubs rotation will turn heads this year

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Dontrelle Willis and Frank Thomas join Kevin Burkhardt to discuss the Chicago Cubs' rotation.

- That's it.

- So Kyle Hendricks pitched in tonight, and he was great when they won the World Series. A notch down last year. He had a great spring. Looks like he's back. They go out and get Darvish. Lester-- you kind of know he's going to be fine, right? They got your guy, Quintana, Frank. This Cubs rotation-- we talked about their hitting yesterday. You love Chili Davis. Is the rotation upgraded? Are they in the right place to bring this team--

FRANK THOMAS: I think so. They got six great starters. I think they got one number one and four number twos.


- I think that can go and compete with anyone on a night to night basis throughout this season. I'm looking for the Cubs to have a big year. I mean, I'm a Sox man in Chicago. I hate to say this, because they're going to take over again, but the bottom line is the Cubs is a dynamite team.

- I love this rotation. They all pitch to contact. They have great tempo, which plays right into that athletic defense. They're going to get a lot of contact, a lot of swing and misses, as well, as far as their stuff. But I like the Cubs, and I've got those guys representing the National League to go to the World Series, as long as they stay healthy, especially in that rotation.

KEVIN BURKHARDT: What do you think about the signing of Yu Darvish instead of keeping their own guy, Jake Arrieta, who they've been through the wars with, who was obviously excellent for them? They go and get Darvish, who has been a great pitcher. Last time we saw him, he gave it up twice in the World Series. What do you think about that move? And do you think it will work?

- I think they honestly saw some decline in Arrieta, and they didn't want to spend the money to keep a guy that was on his decline. They went and got another guy that has swing and miss stuff, like Arrieta did when he was healthy, and got him a little longer term. So I think they saw something in the decline of Arrieta and let him just part ways. Especially a guy that's that talented-- they must have saw something upstairs. But as far as getting Tyler Chatwood, a guy that pitches to contact and pitches better away from Coors Field, so it should work out-- so I like his rotation a lot. I think it'll be fine.

KEVIN BURKHARDT: You have Tyler Chatwood--

- I'm a fan. I'm a fan.

KEVIN BURKHARDT: He mentioned Tyler Chatwood five times last night.

- You just hating on him, that's all!

- I don't know him.

- You're hating on him. He had a 2.00 ERA away from Coors.

- He might be the nicest guy in the world, but you mentioned him six times in two days.

- You really like him.

- I like the rotation. I just do. I know. I get it.

- I didn't like it at first because I think Arrieta deserved his money in Chicago.

KEVIN BURKHARDT: Just because of what he's done.

- He has been the number one guy the last three years. He was dynamite, one a Cy Young, but they did offer him $92 million at four years a couple of years ago in Spring Training. He turned it down.

KEVIN BURKHARDT: You're right.

- I think that came back to haunt him, because he ended up signing for $75 million, with a chance of making $125 million if a number of things work out. But the guy is a dynamite pitcher. He'll do well. I'm not worried about it anymore because they brought in Yu Darvish and I love watching Yu Darvish pitch. The guy has six pitches. Not many guys ever do that, but this guy is a special pitcher. He's got to stay healthy to take up the slack.

KEVIN BURKHARDT: But your point-- I know I'm busting your chops with Chatwood.

- No, I like it, I like it.

- His road splits-- fantastic away from Coors. And think about it. They spent money. He's their fifth starter.

DONTRELLE WILLIS: That's another thing, too. The matchup, the matchup, the matchup. It takes a lot of pressure off him. Again, he's not the tipping scale of it. He's not going to be your big game starter, but again, I like that rotation, collectively, with Lester and company.

- Exactly.

- So against him-- he's going to win a lot of ball games because that offense is going to score a lot for him. And again, he's going to face guys like me, so he's definitely going to get some run support. So I just think he's going to do well.

KEVIN BURKHARDT: Tyler, listen--

- Sign me.

- 2%.

- I look good in suits and everything.

- You don't have to-- just 2% to Dontrelle of that $40 million. He'll be real happy. He's already got a place in Coronado. You don't have to worry about it.

-Oh, my good--