Monday, May 20, 2024

Cubs Replace Two Rookies with Triple-A Call Ups


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Well, the Chicago Cubs probably didn’t want to call up Hayden Wesneski and put him into a reliever role in April, but after another brutal stretch for the bullpen the team has made a few moves. The Cubs are replacing two rookies prior to Wednesday’s series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks, calling up Wesneski and Colten Brewer from Triple-A.

Right-hander Daniel Palencia and lefty Luke Little have been optioned to the Iowa Cubs. Both young relievers pitched in Tuesday night’s game, when both had a hand in the Cubs bullpen blowing an 11-8 lead.

Wesneski is already on the 40-man roster, but Brewer, who signed a minor league deal with the Cubs this past offseason, is not. So, the Cubs had to make an additional move to bring up Brewer, as Julian Merryweather was moved to the 60-day injured list. Merryweather went down with a shoulder strain on April 7, so he won’t be back until the middle of June at the earliest. Merryweather has been a key loss in the Cubs bullpen after being a reliable arm for the team in 2023.

You figured the Cubs were going to make at least a few bullpen moves following their second straight extra-innings game in Arizona. Even with Ben Brown’s six strong innings on Monday, Craig Counsell has been forced to use the bullpen way more often than you’d like.

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Entering Wednesday, Cubs relievers nearly matched the starters in innings pitched through 17 games.

As for Wesneski, you know the deal. He has good stuff, but has struggled against left-handed batters. You hope that the right-hander has come up with a solution for lefties because despite his poor numbers as a starter last year, Wesneski was good when he was used as a reliever in the last 3-4 months of the season.

Wesneski made 23 relief appearances in 2023 and posted a 3.57 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, while recording a 25% strikeout rate in 40.1 innings.

So far at Triple-A this season, Wesneski has posted a 2.53 ERA in 10.2 innings.

As for Brewer, he does have some MLB experience, pitching for the San Diego Padres, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees from 2018-23. The righty hasn’t been too effective in 99.1 innings in the big leagues, recording a 4.98 ERA, but he’s earned a shot with the Cubs this year after a good showing at Triple-A.

Brewer, 31, has a 1.17 ERA in 7.2 innings with the Iowa Cubs this year with three saves. Brewer has also gotten 5+ outs in three of his six appearances at Triple-A.

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