Monday, May 6, 2024

Counsell’s Taillon Update Reveals Cubs’ Plan Moving Forward


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The Chicago Cubs’ momentum entering the third weekend of spring training came to a screeching halt on Saturday. Right-handed pitcher Jameson Taillon was expected to make his first start of spring against the Colorado Rockies. He had been sidelined by tightness in his calves and what the Cubs called “mechanical issues.” However, all plans changed after throwing about ten pitches in his warmup.

Taillon landed weirdly after throwing a pitch and immediately grabbed for his lower back. A video surfaced online where you could hear him and his trainers saying “Back” repeatedly. In the end, he needed help stepping down off the curb of the bullpen entrance.

Thomas Pannone made the emergency start for the Cubs, going three innings and striking out two. The Cubs won the game, shutting out the Rockies 5-0. We saw a lot of great at-bats from regulars, which was a welcomed site. But most of the focus was on Taillon and how the Cubs would respond.

With free agents Jordan Montgomery and last year’s NL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell still on the free agency market, Cubs fans immediately stated their demands on social media. There’s already uncertainty for the fifth spot in the rotation. Now, the Cubs may need to fill another spot. Naturally, the first thought would be to go after established starters on the market.

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Counsell’s Update On Jameson Taillon

Craig Counsell met with the media on Sunday morning to give an update on Jameson Taillon’s status. He said Taillon felt the same as he did yesterday with no improvement. The Cubs plan to do more testing to get to the bottom of his ailings.

Counsell was also asked about a timeframe for Taillon and when he could be back on the mound. He said it does not seem like a long-term situation, but his status for the Cubs’ opening series against the Texas Rangers is in question.

Back injuries can be tricky and lengthy. His inability to step down off a curb does not make it likely he’ll be ramped up enough to face major league batters in just three weeks. The Cubs will have to do something, and Counsell hinted at what we can expect.

Cubs’ Plan After Taillon Injury

In Counsell’s press conference, he was asked what the Cubs would do, potentially needing to fill two rotation spots to start the regular season. Counsell reiterated he does not believe Jameson Taillon will be out for a long time. He also stuck to the message the Cubs’ front office has been giving all spring long: they have extraordinary belief in the in-house pitching staff and those developing in the minor leagues.

“We’re in good shape. We have a bunch of guys stretched out and see how that plays out.”

Craig Counsell, via Jesse Rogers of ESPN

If you have high hopes the Cubs will go out and sign Jordan Montgomery of Blake Snell in a panic or scramble, you should lower them significantly. The Cubs believe too much in what they have, and signing one of the two stars would almost certainly put the Cubs over the luxury tax, something Tom Ricketts will not do until he knows the team is permanently in their winning window.

Jordan Wicks is now almost a lock to make the starting rotation when camp breaks. He was the favorite to take the fifth spot anyway. With Taillon probably missing the start of the year, he may have even upgraded himself to the third starter. The fifth start may become a bullpen day with the surplus of long/middle relievers the Cubs have in stock.

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