Cubs' Hottovy: Chatwood 'In A Great Place'

"Sometimes you just need time away to hit the reset button," Tommy Hottovy says.

Mully & Haugh Show
January 18, 2019 - 12:27 pm
Cubs right-hander Tyler Chatwood is removed by manager Joe Maddon.

Patrick Gorski/USA Today Sports

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(670 The Score) Arguably the biggest challenge that new Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy is facing is helping to orchestrate a turnaround for ineffective right-hander Tyler Chatwood after his disastrous 2018 season.

Signed to a three-year deal worth $38 million last offseason, Chatwood completely lost his command and eventually his spot in the rotation. Chatwood went 4-6 with a 5.30 ERA and 1.80 WHIP in 24 appearances, including 20 starts, across 103 2/3 innings. He walked an MLB-high 95 batters despite losing his rotation spot in late July.

With time to assess Chatwood's struggles, Hottovy believed there was a negative spiraling and cascading effect amid Chatwood's lost season.

"Anything that comes up during the course of the year, a lot of times you get a lot of stuff thrown at you," Hottovy said on the Mully & Haugh Show on Friday morning. "What's the cause and the effect? Is it because you mechanics are off and so you're doing this? And that's why you're not able to execute. Or are you mentally thinking about the wrong things? Which one leads to the other?

"I think with the case of Chat, there was just a lot thrown at him and mechanically he was trying to make a ton of adjustments. And then you kind of lose focus of what you're trying to do by executing your pitch and then you go back the other way and you worry about what the pitch is doing and you lose focus on the mechanics. The thing I think we've been trying to do the most with him is just simplifying everything, picking one or two things as the key focus. Let's reset our foundation, our base of what to work off of. And then kind of rebuild up."

Chatwood's role for the Cubs in 2019 remains unclear. He won't enter the season as a rotation member if the Cubs are healthy. If he displays better form in spring training, he could fill a long man role out of the bullpen. If he still lacks command in spring training, his time could soon come to an end with the Cubs.

"He had a trying year, and it's tough to go through that," Hottovy said. "And it was not for a lack of effort. It was not for a lack of caring. He busted his butt every single day, and he came to the park trying to get better and trying to improve. Sometimes you just need time away to hit the reset button, reset your foundation and kind of build up. And I think he's in a great place right now. He's worked a ton this winter. He's confident. He feels good about where he's at coming into camp, and I'm excited to see him when he gets rolling."