Why Not Gain an Edge? (Might As Well)
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The All-Star break will give Jim Hendry and the Cubs a great chance to minimize the effect on the 25-man roster of Derrek Lee's impending suspension.
It seems likely that D-Lee will get his hearing with MLB sometime between the All-Star Game next Tuesday and the Cubs' resumption of the regular season on Friday 7/13. Whether Lee will end up having to serve the full five games or have the suspension reduced to maybe four games is still unknown, but one thing that is known for sure is that while D. Lee is serving his suspension, the Cubs will have to play with a 24-man roster.
As of right now, the Cubs roster has an extra man on the bench, but is one-man short in the bullpen. If the seventh-man in the bullpen is restored, the bench goes back to five, and then to four while D-Lee sits out.
Because the Cubs will not need a fifth starter again until Tuesday 7/17, Sean Marshall could be optioned to the minors immediately after tonight's game. Then the Cubs can bring up a 7th reliever (like Clay Rapada), who would remain with the Cubs until whenever Ryan Dempster is reactivated.
Meanwhile, Marshall could get a minor league start at AA Tennessee next Wednesday to stay sharp between tonight's game and his next start with the Cubs on 7/17.
In fact, if Hendry really exercises his brain, Rich Hill could also be optioned to the minors for ten days (starting today), because his next start isn't until Monday 7/16. (And because R. Hill would be spending less than 20 days on optional asignment, he would continue to accrue MLB service time AND the Cubs would not burn an option). Then the Cubs could add another extra man to the bench (like Cedeno, Murton, Coats, or Moore) for this weekend's series at Pittsburgh and the three-game series versus HOU at Wrigley immediately after the ASB, before recalling R. Hill and Marshall from their minor league optional assignments on 7/16-7/17.
The idea is to gain an edge--admittedly a slight edge--but sometimes such an edge is the difference between winning or losing one game, and that one game could make a difference at the end of the season if the N. L. Central and/or Wild Card is a "photo-finish."
Might as well take advantage of the All-Star Break and MLB roster rules to maximize the number of bullets available for each game.