The Marshall-Cherry Relief Plan

Cubs manager Lou Piniella and pitching Larry Rothschild have been talking lately about the stress and strain Cubs relievers are under this month, what with the Cubs playing twenty days in a row, the "Dog Days" of August, and the pressures of a pennant race. Both Cousin Larry and Uncle Lou have mentioned that on September 1st, bullpen reinforcements can be added, because that's when the rosters can be expanded from 25 to 40 players. And that's true. They are correct. But actually, they really don't have to wait that long... Because of Carlos Zambrano's 43-pitch rain-shortened outing on Sunday night, "Z"'s next start has been moved up a day, to Thursday afternoon at San Francisco. And Sean Marshall's next outing has been pushed back a day, where he will be pitching Friday night at Arizona instead of Thursday afternoon at SF. So here's what the Cubs should do (and I'm sure they've already thought of this): No matter how Marshall pitches on Friday night (even if he throws a perfect game), the Cubs should option him to the minors on Saturday and recall Rocky Cherry from Iowa. (Of the Cubs relievers on optional assignment to the minors, Cherry has been the most-effective lately, going 8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K over his last seven outings). It doesn't really matter whether Marshall is optioned to Peoria, Daytona, Tennessee, Iowa, or Siberia, though, because he actually wouldn't go anywhere. He would just remain with the Cubs and get his normal pre-game bullpen side sessions in, just as he would if he had not been optioned out. See, with the off-day on Monday, the Cubs can skip Marshall's turn next week (which should have been Thursday 8/30 vs MIL), because after this Friday, a 5th starter won't be needed again until Saturday 9/1 vs HOU. And the "ten-day rule" (where players on optional assignment to the minors must remain in the minors for at least ten days, unless they are recalled to replace a player on the 25-man roster who is placed on the DL) is suspended as of September 1st (it is possible to option a player to the minors on August 31st, and then recall him the very next day). So even though Marshall will have spent only seven days on optional assignment, he can be recalled on September 1st and start the game that day versus the Astros at Wrigley Field (and that would have been his next scheduled start anyway). The only downside would be that Marshall would not be on the 25-man roster as of midnight August 31st, and thus normally would not be eligible for the Cubs post-season roster. However, because Mark Prior, Angel Guzman, and Roberto Novoa are on the 60-day DL, any or all of the three can be replaced on the post-season roster by any other pitcher in the organization as of 8/31, so Marshall could be added to the Cubs post-season roster even if he is not on the 25-man roster on August 31st. So if they don't want to wait until September 1st to add an extra arm to the bullpen, the Cubs could do it as early as this Saturday! (But they probably won't...)


phew...these "site hiccups" are getting pretty predictable.

TCR...blogging the cubs to death 18-21 hours a day.

The only reason I wouldn't do exactly that, AZ Phil, would be if I felt like my starters needed the extra day of rest.

If Sunday's rainout gets made up on the 10th, the Cubs starters would go 37 days pitching every fifth day, essentally without an off-day.

Another option would be for Gallagher to make a spot start (maybe @ PIT 7/8-10?) after the rosters expand.

But if you hold to the theory that your starter are essentially the five best pitchers on your roster, why would we not want to have Marshall available out of the bullpen in the playoffs? (Assuming that we go...) I would think that it would be better to have a proven pitcher available for long relief like that in a playoff game.

would work well in a scenario like Z's start if the game had resumed in the postseason. Throw another starter out there.


That hypothetical about 37 straight days is, of course, considering that Marshall would not pitch on Monday as you said.

WES: Next Monday is an of day, so Hill and Zambrano will be pitching on five days rest versus the Brewers on Tuesday 8/28 (Hill) and Wednesday 8/29 (Zambrano). It would just be a matter of pushing Marshall back two days, from 8/30 versus the Brewers to 9/1 vs HOU, and moving Lilly and Marquis up one (although they both would still be pitching with four days rest, thanks to the off day next Monday).

In exchange for that, the Cubs could add a reliever to the pen starting this Saturday at AZ, one full week before rosters expand.

Barring injuries or postponements, the Cubs starting rotatuiin could go like this the rest of ithe way:

8/21 - at SF (Marquis)
8/22 - at SF (Hill)
8/23 - at SF (Zambrano)
8/24 - at AZ (Marshall)
8/25 - at AZ (Lilly)
8/26 - at AZ (Marquis)
8/27 - OFF DAY
8/28 - MIL (Hill)
8/29 - MIL (Zambrano)
8/30 - MIL (Lilly)
8/31 - HOU (Marquis)
9/1 - HOU (Marshall)
9/2 - HOU (Hill)
9/3 - LAD (Zambrano)
9/4 - LAD (Lilly)
9/5 - LAD (Marquis)
9/6 - LAD (Marshall or Gallagher)
9/7 - at PIT (Hill)
9/8 - at PIT (Zambrano)
9/9 - at PIT (Lilly)
9/10 - STL (Marquis) - 8/19 MAKE-UP GAME
9/11 - at HOU (Marshall)
9/12 - at HOU (Gallagher)
9/13 - at HOU (Hill)
9/14 - at STL (Zambrano)
9/15 - at STL (Lilly) - GAME #1 DAY GAME
9/15 - at STL (Marquis) - GAME #2 NIGHT GAME
9/16 - at STL (Marshall)
9/17 - CIN (Gallagher)
9/18 - CIN (Hill)
9/19 - CIN (Zambrano)
9/20 - OFF DAY
9/21 - PIT (Lilly)
9/22 - PIT (Marquis)
9/23 - PIT (Hill)
9/24 - OFF DAY
9/25 - at FLA (Zambrano)
9/26 - at FLA (Lilly)
9/27 - at FLA (Marquis)
9/28 - at CIN (Hill)
9/29 - at CIN (Gallagher/Marshall, or Zambrano if game is critical)
9/30 - at CIN (Gallagher/Marshall, or Lilly if game is critical)

NOTE: If 9/29 and 9/30 not critical, then Zambrano and Lilly would not pitch that weekend.

The Siberian Cubs?

Archie — August 21, 2007 @ 12:37 pm
But if you hold to the theory that your starter are essentially the five best pitchers on your roster, why would we not want to have Marshall available out of the bullpen in the playoffs? (Assuming that we go…) I would think that it would be better to have a proven pitcher available for long relief like that in a playoff game.

would work well in a scenario like Z’s start if the game had resumed in the postseason. Throw another starter out there.



ARCHIE: As long as a club has players on the DL on August 31st, it's easy to add a player who is not on the club's 25-man roster as of 8/31 to the post-season roster after the season.

Here's how you do it:

All players on a club's 25-man roster AND 15-day DL and 60-day DL as of 8/31 are eligible to be placed on the post-season roster.

Once the regular season is over, a club can replace any player who was on the 15-day or 60-day DL as of 8/31 with a player who was not on the 25-man roster as of 8/31, and it can be any player who was a member of the organization as of 8/31, not just players on the 40-man roster. (So theoretically, Darwin Barney could play SS for the Cubs in the World Series this year).

So if Sean Marshall is not on the Cubs 25-man roster as of 8/31 and they want to add him (or Sean Gallagher, Jose Ceda, Rocky Roquet, Casey Lambert, or Mark Pawelek, any pitcher in the Cubs organization as of 8/31) to the post-season roster, it's no big deal. All the Cubs have to do is replace Mark Prior, Roberto Novoa, Angel Guzman, or Angel Pagan with Sean Marshall. That's how K-Rod was added to the Angels post-season roster in 2002.

It's called post-season roster shenanigans, but you have to make sure that you have guys on the DL on 8/31 (the more the better), or else somebody has to get hurt in September.

Something else to remember is that it is now possible to replace an injured player DURING a post-season series (LDS, LCS, or WS). It used to be a club would have to wait until the series was over before replacing a player, but now it can be done just like it is during the season... you just put the player on the DL the day after he gets hurt and replace him with somebody else, although the injured player cannot be reactivated at any point during the post-season, and the replacement player must play the same position as the injured player.

can cliff floyd come back or what?

He is back today.

N. - I don't remember the K-Rod situation but I assume he was on the 15-day DL. Prior is already on the 60-day and thus is not part of the 40-man roster, so you couldn't do that here. Still, if it gets down to the last week of the year and it looks like the Cubs are playoff-bound there would be nothing stopping whoever the worst reliever is at the time from coming down with some kind of spontaneous ailment that would allow Marshall to sneak in. I mean, after pitching for 6-months doesn't pretty much every pitcher have some sort of ailment in their shoulder/arm that could at least pass the smell test for a DL stint?

I see now, AZ Phil.

I just misread. My mistake. Sorry.

Floyd was back yesterday I think, too. Lou says he needs some time to tune up.

RE: Marshall, I'm with johnd -- I like the idea of having Marshall around during postseason even if as a reliever. He's earned it, and he'd be a good long man if somebody gets torched early in the game.

Floyd was back yesterday I think, too.

He was with the team, but he wasn't on the active roster. He is supposed to get activated for tonight's game.


johnd — August 21, 2007 @ 2:34 pm

Prior is already on the 60-day and thus is not part of the 40-man roster, so you couldn’t do that here.


JOHN D: All players on a club's 25-man roster, the 15-day DL, and 60-day DL as of 8/31 are eligible for the playoffs, and players who were on the DL as of 8/31 can be replaced by any player in the organization (doesn't even have to be a player from the 40-man roster). The only thing is that if the replacement was not already on the 40-man roster, a spot must created for that player on the club's 40-man roster before he can be activated for the post-season. Also, post-season rosters can be changed from series to series (LDS, LCS, and WS), as long as the players are eligible to play in the post-season.

The key is to have injured guys to replace. You don't want to be too healthy!

Another thing to remember is that players acquired from another club or another organization or players signed as free-agents after 8/31 are absolutely never eligible for the post-season with the new club. A player must be in the organization as of 8/31 to be eligible for the post-season, although not necessarliy on the 40-man roster. And a player not on the 40 must be added to the 40 before he can be activated for the post-season.

If you're wondering how this all started, it happened because somebody noted that it is possible that an MLB club might have only two catchers on its 40-man roster as of 8/31, and if one gets hurt in September, there would be no back-up catcher available for the post-season unless the club is allowed to add a player (catcher) not previously on it's 40-man roster to it's playoff roster.

Of course the other solution would be to say that this roster exception should apply only to catchers, or clubs should make sure to have three or four catchers on their 40-man roster as of 8/31, but the owners chose not to do it that way, for some reason.

So now the rule is open to abuse (because it can be applied even when players on the 40-man roster from the same position are available), and it has indeed been abused.

Cliff Floyd was reactivated from the Restricted List and Henry Blanco was reactivated from the 60-day DL after yesterday's game, and both are now back on the Cubs 25-man roster and are with the Cubs in San Francisco.

To make room for Floyd and Blanco, Ronny Cedeno was optioned to Iowa and Koyie Hill was Designated for Assignment (and probably is riding the waiver wire as we speak).

"can cliff floyd come back or what?"

DAVE: "He is back today."

I think the poster meant emotionally, not physically. To that I have to say, we'll soon see...Death of a loved one, divorce, etc., are very debilitating emotionally and I would have no idea if Cliff can "turn it off" and just play baseball. Ward has given us more pop from the left side, anyway.

Having Marshall in the pen as our only capable long reliever in the playoffs (IF they make it) wouldn't be bad at all.

Rob G. — August 21, 2007 @ 3:18 pm
Krod wasnt even on the 40-man roster before Sept 1st.


ROB G: And the thing about K-Rod is that he was (is) really an exceptional young pitcher.

Most clubs wouldn't WANT to add somebody to their playoff roster with zero or little MLB experience or who wasn't already on the 40-man roster as of 8/31, simply because guys not on the 40-man roster are either not that good, or else probably not ready for the spotlight of the post-season.

K-Rod was an exception.

I doubt very much that that there are any players in the Cubs organization right now who are not presently on their 40-man roster who the Cubs would want on their post-season roster as a replacement.for a veteran player.

The Cubs (and most every MLB club) will look to their 40-man roster for a replacement before ever considering somebody who wasn't on the 40 as of 8/31.

I thought Marmol was our long reliever?

"I think the poster meant emotionally, not physically."

actually, i did mean physically, but yeah, i do hope he's checked in mentally.

I'm sure Marshall wouldn't appreciate losing a month of MLB pay and getting kicked off the playoff roster. The Devil's Advocate would tell him to pitch better.

I'd rather have Marshall in October than, say, Samarzdija.

series preview up...

No offense, but I don't think 1 or 2 Rocky Cherry appearances are worth losing Marhsall for the playoffs.

Recent comments

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  • May the best team win, and subsequently humiliate the Cardinals.

  • I love arriving here first thing in the morning, adding a few moronic posts (moranic for any Cardinals fans who may be trolling), and reading the sage posts of all you guys. Most knowledgeable fans on any forum, by far. So post like crazy today and help give TCR some visibility!

    I told my wife last night that I'm going to need a support system for tonight's game. Tonight is going to be a lot harder on me than it is going to be on these rookie bad asses.

  • James Russell elected free agency.

  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.