Update: Dempster to DL? Cubs call up Scott Maine, Kerry Wood goes to the DL

In what should be no surprise, the Cubs placed Kerry Wood on the 15 day DL with what was described as right shoulder fatigue.  The Cubs have recalled Scott Maine from Iowa, whom we pegged as the top candidate to be recalled earlier this week.

Here is what I said about Maine at the time,

Maine is already on the 40 man roster so he wouldn't necessitate any maneuvering.  He's also an older "prospect" in that he's already 27.  This isn't a developing player the Cubs are in danger of bringing up too soon.  Maine struggled with his control early on but has righted the ship recently.  He has an acceptable walk rate of 2.84 versus a 7.11 strikeout rate.  He has also put up a 4.50 G/F ratio and has allowed just 2 hits in 6 2/3 innings.  All told it adds up to a 1.42 ERA and a miniscule 0.68 WHIP.  It also helps that Maine is lefty with the Cubs only having James Russell in the pen.  Russell has been the most reliable member of the bullpen and the Cubs may need him as more than just a lefty specialist.

Although also a lefty, Maine adds a different dimension than Russell in that he is a power pitcher who relies on a 92-93 mph fastball. In the past, he has touched as high as 97 mph, though he seems to be more effective at the lower velocity where he has better command.  He also throws a slider and a change.

I think this is the right move as it allows Jeff Beliveau, who has also been very effective at Iowa, some more time to develop.  Maine is 27 and is MLB ready.  His issue had been control, but he had not walked a batter in his last 2 appearances.

Maine should be ready to pitch today if needed.

Update: Dave Van Dyck from the Chicago Tribune is reporting Dempster may also be hurt...

Dempster has a sore right quadricep and had an MRI examination to determine the extent of the injury.Randy Wells is in town just in case Dempster can't make his Sunday start.

Wells has struggled at Iowa with a 9.42 ERA.  His peripherals don't look as bad as that ERA would indicate, but Wells has left the ball up too much and it's resulted in more than his share of extra base hits allowed.

(h/t to reader/contributor Just Win)

Filed under: Transactions

Tags: Kerry Wood, scott maine


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  • Maine is fresh, hasn't pitched since 4/15. Beliveau thru 1 2/3 innings last night.

  • In reply to Cliffy46405:

    True, and I was actually going to mention that. But I think Maine would have gotten the call anyway. In fact, its possible they kept him fresh for this very reason.

  • Good call on Maine earlier this week, John.

  • Thanks. Made a lot of sense, given his age, the fact he throws lefty his effectiveness this year, and his status on the roster. Also worth noting he was one of the last cuts in the spring.

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    LaHair is also being moved into the cleanup spot according to MLB Radio.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I did see that as well. Sveum hinted at tinkering with the lineup after yesterday's loss. It's a good move. Castro and LaHair are the Cubs best hitters right now, so I like them at 3,4 (although I like Castro best at #2)

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    BTW, I don't think it's a forgone conclusion that LaHair will be a disaster in LF. Positioning, getting good reads, taking good routes and hitting the cutoff man are all things that can be learned if a player is willing. Also, with Jackson in CF and DeJesus in RF, range shouldn't be as huge of a factor. Besides, if you try him out there and he can acceptably play the position, you've just increased his trade value as long as he is hitting.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I don't know, Mike. That's a little optimistic to me. I think 11 professional years of LaHair playing the OF off and on is a pretty good sample size. He can learn to get good jumps and he is sure handed, but you can't teach speed or arm and he has neither. He'll always be limited by athletic ability and it's only going to get worse as he ages.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    LF has been the traditional place to hide defensive liabilities. Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin were just discussing LaHair and the Cubs lack of major league ready long term assets.

    Duquette pointed out that scouts have noticed the strides LaHair has made since his days in the Mariners organization. He isn't a bean pole anymore, and he has a much shorter swing now. According to Duquette, other organizations are starting to see him as a guy who simply bloomed late

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    True. We've hid Soriano there for a few years.

    The tide has been turning on LaHair for a while now, no doubt the Cubs knew this too. If there's legit a way to keep him and Rizzo in the lineup, I'm all for it.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think this is the best lineup the Cubs have put out there in terms of order of batters and breaking up the lefties Stewart and LaHair. Now if everyone can start hitting, that would be great.

  • I like the move as well. Sveum is in a tough spot in that he has a thin roster and no real sleepers on the bench that could give a regular a run for playing time, other than at catcher.

    the past couple of days I have taken to channel flipping while viewing MLB.com as the Cubs are not an interesting or even entertaining team to watch.

    To put it planinly, they are dull and do not have any brand recognition at this point.

    Also, as much as I admire Castro's inate abiltiy at such a tender age, he is not an appealing player to watch day in and day out. It may stem from him still learning the final nuances of ML baseball, but I believe, and I admit I may be wrong, but I think he is destined to disappoint in the long run. I have the troubling sense that he will never mature enough to become a championship level player. I cannot put my finger on why, but after watching BB for 40 plus years, he does not strike my sensibilities as one who will ever be an elite player, even with all of his hitting prowess today.

    Anyway, just one guys opinion.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    The thing about Castro is that he has an uncanny knack for putting the barrel of the bat on the ball. He also has the aptitude to adjust from pitch to pitch and at-bat to at-bat. It's rare and you just don't see a lot of players do that. It may not always look pretty, but neither did Vlad Guerrero or Andre Dawson...or even Ryne Sandberg, who looked bad on outside pitches more often than many of us care to remember. Castro may not have a classic approach, but the kind of skill he has when it comes to squaring up a baseball just doesn't come around all that often.

    I don't know what kind of player Castro will become or if an improved approach may come in time, but for now we should appreciate Castro for who he is

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    The Tribune says Dempster is likely to go on the DL as well. He has a pulled Quad. Randy Wells is already in town ready to start on Sunday if Dempster can't go.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Yikes! Wells hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire at Iowa. Wow, this is going to be a long season.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I second that emotion.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    How much of Wells' struggles at Iowa do you think are simply mental and related to him mishandling the disappointment/shock of being sent down? He looked good in ST--didn't give up any runs. And it's easy to understand his disappointment--he was only given 7.1 innings in ST, while all the other starting candidates were given at least twice that. And then, although he was the only one of the "starting candidates" to not give up a run, Sveum was quoted as saying he was outpitched by Volstad and Samardzija.

    That has to be a bit of a slap in the face, especially when he was publicly being touted as a rotation candidate by management. Now, I realize that numbers aren't everything, but it's got to be hard for a guy like Wells to swallow when he gives up zero runs and then gets told he was outpitched. It's clear from that and the innings given him that he wasn't really being seriously considered as a rotation candidate, but more as a backup plan in case several of the other candidates fell through.

    As a guy who has always pitched pretty well outside of last year when he was coming back from the injury--and even with those struggles has a career 4.01 ERA (better than most of the rotation candidates), it would be easy to find reasons to get a little bitter about the whole situation.

    Now, there's the tricky situation of calling him up when he's done nothing to deserve the promotion, after sending him down when he had done nothing to deserve the demotion. It's sloppy and ugly and doesn't reflect all that well on the management, IMO. Not that big a deal, but it doesn't seem like a good way to do business.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    There may be some component of that, Svaz, though I would expect him to have handled it by now.

    I can only speak to what I've observed physically. I've watched him pitch twice and his command is off. He kept leaving the ball up. Wells' stuff isn't good enough for him to get away with that at any level -- and it's certainly not going to fly in a league like the PCL with a bunch of hitter's parks.

  • Forgive me John for being pissed but I honestly now think (at this moment) that the Cubs management have lost their minds and that this team and baseball itself has become more of a business then a game. We have a better catcher in Clevenger who has been phenomenal but yet we play Soto because he has a higher salary. We have Soriano with a huge contract and better players to put in left field but yet we play him because we owe him money. This management isn't putting the best players on the field to win ball games its playing out contracts and that is BS to us loyal fans. We aren't putting the best players on the field to win games, we are putting the highest contracts on the field. That's not the way the game should be played. Some of these young kids have earned spots over the veterans and they should be given the chance to play (they earned it) We have all known for a long time that Soriano will not pay out no matter how well he plays but we still put him out there everyday.

    I want to see good baseball not contract baseball. Thats IMO where we are totally failing right now..... (sorry for venting by the way) :) and dont get me started on Byrd ;)

  • In reply to johnnywest333:

    Go ahead and vent! No worries. The only thing we discourage here is disrespect or personal attacks against the other contributors/commenters.

    I think the Cubs are just being pragmatic. Clevenger is not considered by anyone to be a starting caliber catcher. Maybe Soto is slumping, but it's been a couple of weeks. He's one of the Cubs more tradeable assets if he just plays somewhere between his 2010-2011 numbers.

    Once the Cubs start benching Soto, Byrd, etc...they lose all value, and their replacements, while they play well in spurts are very unlikely to sustain those performances over larger sample sizes. In the end, there isn't much gain for the Cubs to do that right now. Clevenger is more likely to steal time from Welington Castillo than Geo Soto, once the two young catchers are with the Cubs.

    It's unlikely that all the Cubs veteran players have collapsed at the exact time. The odds are astronomical that that's happened and the more likely scenario is that they regress back toward their career averages. It benefits the Cubs to allow them a chance to do that more than it does starting young players a couple of months early.

  • Totally understand the thinking behind it John, thanks for the input. I would never bash a contributor/commenter nor am I bashing the players. What puts me at odds is the fact that there are better players to put on the field and we should at all times no matter what the cost, put the best players on the field regardless of contracts. I understand the business end of everything, but when did baseball become (let's do what is best for the franchise) rather then going out there and trying to win every game?

  • In reply to johnnywest333:

    I know you wouldn't, Johnny. That's one of the great things about this site.

    I totally understand the desire to put the best players on the field, just think the Cubs are giving the vets a fair shot and hopefully get some value for them come trade time. In the meantime, I'm enjoying watching the Iowa games (except for their starting pitching).

  • What a difference a year makes. What a difference a new leadership team makes. Was it not only one year ago that two key members of the pitching staff went down with injuries? And the philosophy of that day was to maintain the illusion of contention? That was a painful process, wasn't it? It just feels so sane how the Cubs management team is approaching the rebuilding. No illusions. No delusions. Clear vision, a "process" as was promised to impatient (not unreasonably so) Kansas City Royals fans by Dayton Moore (known locally as "GMDM"). The process was not without bumps, but it has delivered a fine slate of position players (impeded only by pitching that is maybe a year or two behind and an inept field manager).

    But I digress. I clearly recall how much I didn't mind how badly the Cubs sucked in 1982, the first year of Dallas Green's New Tradition, because he had a plan, a process, and you could see it consistently come together. Here's to 2012, the 30th anniversary of the last season that I was truly convinced that the Cubs had a winning plan!

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