Adam Warren hasn't thrown a pitch in a Cubs uniform yet, but he's already dreamed about what it would be like to win it all at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs felt they needed to get a young pitcher like Warren in return when they flipped Starlin Castro to the New York Yankees at the winter meetings, the trade that opened the door to Chicago for Ben Zobrist and his championship pedigree.
Warren is used to great expectations after coming up with the Yankees and spending the last seven years in an organization with a "World Series or die" mentality shaped by those 27 titles.
"Absolutely," it would be special to win one here, Warren said during last weekend’s Cubs Convention. "I was asked the question if I'd dreamed about it and I said: 'I wouldn't be human if I hadn't.'
"But I hate to get ahead of myself. The team that's picked to win it at the beginning of the year always has a bad year, so we try not to fall into that trap. So we focus on spring training and then the one game in front of you.
"But, yeah, I've definitely pictured it. It'd be really neat for the team, the city, the fans who have been loyal through all these years. It's a fun thing to imagine. But at the same time, I don't want to get ahead of myself."
Warren was vacationing in St. Lucia in the Caribbean islands when he found out he was traded to the Cubs, noticing the news on the bottom line of a TV screen at a restaurant. Before the deal, he and his wife already had a conversation about how they could see themselves living in Chicago.
Warren said he didn't know anybody on the Cubs when he was first acquired, but he's excited to play for manager Joe Maddon and be part of this young core.
Warren also said he was told that he would get an opportunity to start. That probably means getting stretched out in spring training and being a swingman, at least for another season. The right-hander is 28 years old and under club control through the 2018 season.
"In talks, they said, 'We got you to be a starter. Whether or not it's this year, we'll see,'" Warren said. "But I think they're going to give me an opportunity in spring training to at least prove myself as a starter and see what happens.
"I'm not unhappy being in the bullpen. I'd rather start. But I've been in the bullpen for two full years in New York and loved it."
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Warren proved he could handle The Bronx and compete in the American League East, making 127 career appearances out of the bullpen (3.05 ERA) and holding his own in 20 starts (7-6 record, 3.98 ERA and 1.28 WHIP).
"He's a high-character guy, a great teammate and a really amazing contributor, " Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said after completing the Castro trade. "It was a tough loss to lose him, but you have to give to get."
The Cubs appear to have a full five-man rotation in place with Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Kyle Hendricks and Jason Hammel. Plus, the bullpen will be filled with other pitchers who have significant starting experience in Trevor Cahill, Travis Wood and Clayton Richard.
But the Cubs essentially had no major injury issues with their rotation last year and they don't expect that to continue. So Warren represents one of the multiple backup options in place.
"Obviously, I want to start," Warren said. "But I've pitched successfully out of the bullpen as well. This is a win-now mentality with this team, so it's whatever we got to do."