Commentary: Justin Steele should be untouchdable
Kamil Krzaczynski - USA Today Sports

Commentary: Justin Steele should be untouchdable


by - Staff Writer -

During the Cubs' long spell of losing over the last two months, many fans and media members have criticized the team for not having enough fire or fight.

In the middle of last Saturday’s game against Milwaukee, Justin Steele was on the mound and had enough of watching the Cubs’ sloppy defense and lifeless offense and let out a fiery outburst to the Cubs’ dugout. Any amateur lip reader could tell Steele said, “Wake the f*** up,” after the Cubs allowed two runs in a slapdash inning.

The Cubs responded with a win. Unfortunately, they lost the following three contests. After Steele’s outburst, it appeared that it could spark a Cubs’ run. But it was not to be.

Steele followed up on the start, which featured his effusion with his most effective start of the season. He answered his own call with his first complete game of his career, allowing just one run on two hits on Friday afternoon at Wrigley. Steele notched seven strikeouts and secured all 27 outs in a 5-1 Cubs win.

Plus, after pitching effectively and being unable to secure a W, Steele earned his first win on the season — and lowered his season ERA to a superb 2.95. It took only 95 pitches for Steele to go the distance and would have taken fewer bullets had it not been for a two-out error from Seiya Suzuki.

After a 10-2 win over the Phillies on the 4th of July, Steele’s complete game seemed to be a strong build of momentum for the Cubs as they attempt to avoid selling at the trade deadline. The Cubs responded on Saturday with a 7-0 shutout against the Los Angeles Angels — once again reminding those watching that the Cubs are likely destined to sell at the trade deadline at the end of July.

But, even as the Cubs begin the process of fielding offers for players, Justin Steele is once again proving to be one of the best pitchers in baseball. Throughout his last 50 starts, Steele has a 2.77 ERA and 300 strikeouts. He has proven that last year’s top-five Cy Young finish was not a fluke, as he has been a top pitcher in baseball for over two years.

Steele has developed an understandably unreasonable reputation as the only Cub who cares—from his attempt to hold his teammates accountable last week to his ability to deliver on the mound. However, as the Cubs approach selling at the trade deadline, Steele should emerge as something else: untouchable.

Steele — who turns 29 next week — is under club control until 2028. As a cost-controlled, young, effective, left-handed starting pitcher, Steele is the type of player you can build around. As the Cubs try to stock up on young talent and build a contender, Steele seems like the type of player you win with.

Steele has been a great pitcher on a great Cubs rotation, including All-Star rookie Shota Imanaga. Mix that with Jameson Taillon and the effectiveness we’ve seen from Javier Assad, Ben Brown, and Jordan Wicks, and the Cubs have a formidable rotation.

While Taillon and others may be the topic of some trade rumors this month, Justin Steele should not be.

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