Will Cubs Add Reinforcements?
With the AAA Iowa Cubs having been eliminated from the PCL playoffs yesterday and with veteran RHP Jon Lieber having suffered a possible career-ending arm injury, I would think that there will be some additional players added to the Cubs active roster today or tomorrow.
The most-likely candidate for recall would be OF Felix Pie, but 1B-OF-RHPH Jason Dubois might be a possibility if Lou wants a power RH bat off the bench. And veteran 4-A OF Andres Torres had a smokin' PCL playoff run, and he could be used as a SWPH, late-inning OF defensive replacement, and PR, especially since Pie has never really learned how to steal bases. Torres is comparable to ex-Cub OF Angel Pagan.
As for pitchers who might get summoned, fireballer RHP Rocky Roquet has been the hottest Cubs AA/AAA reliever going back to July 21st. Over that period of time (at AA Tennessee through August and then promoted to Iowa for the PCL playoffs), the 25-year old Roquet has thrown 22.1 IP, allowing just 11 H, 3 R (2 ER), 7 BB, 32 K, and only 1 HR, with a 0.80 WHIP, 1.21 ERA, and a .142 OBA. While Roquet doesn't have to be added to the 40-man roster until after next season, Lou loves power arms in his bullpen, and Roquet throws a 96 MPH heater with a mid-80's slider.
And if Hendry/Piniella want a rubber-armed swingman (spot starter/long reliever) to replace Lieber, 26-year old RHP Randy Wells fits that bill. The Cubs will very likely add Wells to the 40-man roster post-2008 anyway (otherwise he can be a six-year minor league FA), so bringing him up to the big leagues now wouldn't be a stretch. Wells was selected by the Blue Jays in the Rule 5 Draft last December, but was reclaimed by the Cubs in April.
And there's always the possibility that the Cubs might add a veteran reliever like 39-year old RHP Hector Carrasco, who spent the 2008 season at Iowa. Carrasco had success as a righty set-up man in the big leagues as recently as a couple of years ago (at Washington in 2005 and with the Angels in 2006), but it's unknown how he would fare now.
RHP Mitch Atkins was the best I-Cubs starter down the stretch, but he's only 22, and while he has developed an effective cutter that has turned him into a legitimate MLB rotation starter prospect, I doubt that he will be brought up now, since he has no experience working out of the bullpen. He is a lock to be added to the 40-man roster post-2008, however.
If the Cubs need additional slots on the 40-man roster prior to the end of the season, they can always transfer Rich Hill from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL, or place Lieber on the 60-day DL, or outright LHP Carmen Pignatiello and/or RHPs Adam Harben and/or Billy Petrick to the minors (although if they are outrighted prior to signing 2009 MLB contracts, Pignatiello, Harben, and Petrick would be eligible to be minor league free-agents).
Since Lieber was on the Cubs 15-day DL on August 31st. he would provide the Cubs a third post-season roster exemption (allowing the Cubs to add a third player to their post-season roster who was not on the 25-man roster or 15-day or 60-day DL on 8/31) if he is placed back on the DL prior to the start of the NLDS. RHP Chad Fox (on the 60-day DL), and LHP Rich Hill (who was recalled from Daytona and placed on th 15-day DL on 8/31) give the Cubs their other two available post-season roster exemptions.