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.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.