With the Cubs Bullpen Lacking Any Trust, Two Pitchers Expected to be Added Tonight

With the Cubs Bullpen Lacking Any Trust, Two Pitchers Expected to be Added Tonight

There is simply no other way to say this, so I will just cut to the chase. The Chicago Cubs bullpen is an absolute disgrace. This surely comes as no surprise to anyone, as this has been a complaint from every fan on the North Side for the entire year. There were always the players fans would look at as the main culprits for the bullpen’s complete and utter failure, and then there were those who they would look to as the pitchers they could actually depend upon to get the Cubs successfully out of an inning.

On the negative side, fans would yell, scream and curse any time Carlos Marmol came into the game. Thankfully for them, he is no longer the Cubs problem, and they never have to see him pitching a game for them again as long as they live.

Another name on that list that drew the ire of the Cub fans was (and still is) Shawn Camp. He is just as bad (if not worse) than Marmol ever was. With him off the team, Camp’s suckage has come into full light and he too has earned the full hated of the Cub fans. He has now taken center stage in terms of who they want gone as fast as possible. He has not done anything to show that he should still be in the majors since last year ended. Age and over use has gotten to Camp and turned him from a dependable part of the bullpen last year into someone who cannot seem to get anyone out.

However, throughout all that suckage in the pen, fans could always depend on two pitchers to get them out of the inning they were placed in with the lead still in tact. One, is a surprise. Kevin Gregg has somehow returned into the closer he once was and has been able to save all but one game he has been asked to put away. Four years ago, Gregg was where Marmol and Camp were, but this recent resurgence has earned him the fans appreciation.

The other man who fans would always look to for a clean inning was James Russell. I freely admit I am a huge mark for Russell, and have been touting his praises the past three years. Ever since he failed miserably as a starting pitcher and was placed in the bullpen, he has been very solid. I would sing his praises game in and game out. In my mind, he was the best pitcher in the Cubs bullpen and there was no one else I would rather see trotting out of the Cubs pen for a much needed shut down inning.

His great success lasted all the way until June this year. That is when the bubble burst and Russell has come down to earth. He has joined the rest of the bullpen in gaining the fans ire and has earned more than his fair share of boos. If last night’s game was at Wrigley, you can believe he would have been booed off the mound as he blew yet another lead. While the game was not in the ninth inning, he earned yet another blown save, a stat that he has led the Cubs in for a while; even when Marmol was on the team. Whether his decline is due to over use, I am not sure. But he has fallen off very quickly.

I am not sure the Cubs have anyone in the bullpen that truly has the fans trust other than Gregg, and there is no telling how much longer he will remain on the team. The Cubs are likely to trade him away as soon as they are able to find a decent trading partner that will offer up something that the Cubs find helpful.

There is some good news though in terms of the Cubs bullpen. Tonight, they are expected to add two new pitchers who may be able to improve the pen to at least a respectable level.

Yesterday, thanks to a pair of trades, the Cubs will be adding both Matt Guerrier and Pedro Strop to the bullpen tonight. That spells the end of two pitchers who are currently in the bullpen. One will obviously be Carlos Villanueva who is expected to re-join the rotation after Scott Feldman was traded, though he needs to be stretched out again so I am not sure when he will replace Chris Rusin who temporally took Feldman’s spot. Maybe as soon as the next turn through the rotation, maybe the time after that. Camp will likely also be a victim of this trade, as he has been nothing short of bad. I fully expect him to be designated for assignment later today. No fans will shed a tear at his departure.

If Villanueva is unable to re-join the rotation immediately, I can see Hector Rondon being  removed from the roster. As a Rule 5 pick, he has served his obligatory 90 days on the roster, and is now fully the Cubs property. Perhaps they make up an injury for him, but I can see him not being on the roster much longer.

Then there is the chance Henry Rodriguez gets sent out as well, being the newest pitcher in the pen. Because the Cubs just traded for him though, I cannot see that, but you never know what the brain trust will be thinking when the time comes, but of course they already know what they are going to do.

The addition of Guerrier and Strop can only help a bullpen that has been nothing short of embarrassing. Will they lead to more wins? Perhaps, they will.

Leave a comment