If they are tired, do they go to Cotts?




A lot is being made of the bullpen being tired. But, the articles so far only explain the problem, not provide solution. So here's a quick look at some of the options the Cubs have to rejuvenate the arms in the 'pen:
  • Neal Cotts-Cotts makes the most sense of the group. In 11.2 innings of AAA work this year, the lefty's only surrendered 2 runs (a 1.54 ERA). Left Handers are hitting .154 against him, he has a 13/3 strikeout to walk ratio, and his shortest outing of the year is an inning and a third, so the Cubs could use him in extended work.


  • Jose Ascanio-another reliever the Cubs traded for to add some bullpen depth, he's given up 3 runs in just over 9 innings. The closer for the I-Cubs, Ascanio has converted 4 of 5 saves opportunities. Like Cotts, he is averaging over a strikeout per inning. The Cubs could call him up, but assuming that Marshall would be the corresponding move, it would leave the 'pen with only one lefty.


  • J.R. Mathes-A little known lefty, Mathes was a 14th round pick who struggled for the better part of last year with an ERA over 5.50. But Mathes has started the season strong, with a ERA of 3.00 in 3 starts. He equally effective against lefties and righties, holding the former to a .200 BA and the latter to a .196 average. Mathes' bgigest hurdle may be the roster...at present time, he isn't on the Cubs 40 man roster, although they have two spots open.


  • Jeff ND-On almost the opposite end of the Mathes situation sits Jeff ND. Jeff ND enjoys rockstar status, being a former footballer and probably the best known 5th round draft pick at the time he was being drafted. He is already on the 40 man roster. He is 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA in 4 starts at Tennessee. But there is absolutely no way the Cubs bring him up. The only reason I am mentioning here is to explain to those who want to see him now why there is no way they are going to see him. For starters, he is a starter. So are Mathes and Marshall, but neither project as long term dominant starters like some scouts think Jeff ND will become. Second, he is right-handed, putting the Cubs in the same position they would be with Ascanio. Third, and most importantly for the Cubs, bringing him up would start the arbitration clock. The Cubs aren't overly worried about how much they will have to pay any of the guys above, but they don't want to have to start paying Jeff ND the big bucks before they have to. Nor do they want to see him go to free agency any earlier than they have to. The entire reason he is on the 40 man roster is because his agent required it, purely for arbitration/free agency purposes. So, we aren't going to see him unless the Cubs lose at least 3 starting pitchers, and even then, I don't know that he gets the call.

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