Advertisement:

Cubs claim Berken and plan to shut down Samardzija. Parker to 60 day DL.

Cubs claim Berken and plan to shut down Samardzija. Parker to 60 day DL.

The Cubs plan to shut down Jeff Samardzija after Saturday according to Doug Padilla of ESPN.  Samardzija is already at a career high in innngs and has doubled his total from last season.  The Cubs also played it safe with Matt Garza earlier this season even though the pitcher felt he would be able to pitch this season.  With nothing tangible to play for, the Cubs have decided that their long term future is best served by making sure their top remaining pitchers are healthy for next season and beyond.

In a related move, the Cubs have picked up RHP Jason Berken, 28, off of waivers and placed RHRP Blake Parker on the 60 day DL.  Berken has been a starter for Baltimore's AAA affiliate.  Berken took a step forward this year by losing 30 pounds and after a period of adjustment, has started pitching well again this season.  He has put up a 3.50 ERA (3.66 FIP) in 26 starts this season.  His strikeout to walk rate per 9 innings this year has been a solid 6.14/2.44 and he has cut down his HR rate to 0.63.  He fits the Cubs profile in that he throws strikes and keeps the ball in the park.

His stuff is better than some of the more recent pickups. He has a solid arm, sitting at around 91-93 mph and also throws a slider, curve, and change.  As recently as 2009, he was rated as the Baltimore Orioles #17 prospect, according to Baseball America.

The moves today show once again that the the Cubs continue to look for inexpensive short-term solutions to their pitching staff while keeping their eyes firmly fixed on 2013 and beyond.

 

Comments

Leave a comment
  • Based off what I can find, people in baseball love his mental makeup. His somewhat pedestrian ERA at AAA could be a product of him being stretched back out as a full-time starter for the first time since 2009.

    Competition for one of those last pitching spots in 2013 that guys like Volstad, Rusin, Raley, and Germano are all vying for.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    That's good to hear. He has some of the characteristics the Cubs seem to like. They need innings right now and you never know when someone ends up being competent. Not much to lose (except for more ballgames, of course).

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Apparently his coaches named him a team captain at Clemson the year he was lost to Tommy John surgery then. Upon returning, he was the team ace.

    So, while he's 28, his arm's no more than 26. You need a year to physically recover from TJ, and usually another year after that to really find your stuff again. Collegiate hitters are easier to get out than pro-level guys. This is the same mentality I have with guys like Vizcaino, Brigham, and Weathers, all of whom have undergone TJ surgery in the last 3 years, and why I'm not ready to give up on the last two.

  • fb_avatar

    I like the move. Nothing lost by taking a chance on a guy who can contribute.

  • In reply to Rich Cap:

    Agreed. Not to mention it'll help save Shark's arm. Cubs were running out of guys to run out there.

  • I see that Berken may have better stuff than some of the more recent finds, but I can't get this image our of my mind about how the Cubs have operated lately in acquiring talent:

    http://tinyurl.com/8qt6kma

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Hey, that's how we got our 2008 CF platoon, and Ryan Dempster.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    LOL!

  • This makes perfect sense to me. I'm glad to see the Cubs continue to search for talent and shut down Shark. Both smart moves for exactly the reason quoted above:

    "With nothing tangible to play for, the Cubs have decided that their long term future is best served by making sure their top remaining pitchers are healthy for next season and beyond."

    That quote could very easily be paraphrased as "with nothing tangible to play for, the Cubs have decided that their long term future is best served by losing now" which I wholeheartedly agree with. Shut down Garza. Shut down Shark. Audition some arms with a chance on the cheap. Give your prospects a taste of the bigs so they know what they have left to work on. All those things are the right things to do for an organization trying to win it all a few years from now. Oh, and if it comes at the expense of winning games the rest of this season, all the better.

    Simply put, losing now will help the Cubs win meaningful games in the future sooner. I completely understand Cubs fans who can't bring themselves to hope the Cubs lose. But I don't see that it makes me any less of a devoted Cubs fan if I do.

    Go Cubs! Here's to finding lightning in a bottle with one of these guys, the 2nd pick in the 2013 draft, a healthy Garza and Shark and being perennial contenders sooner rather than later.

Leave a comment