Lou Piniella is not happy with the performance of his bullpen after the first nine games. The mainstream media is pointing to Piniella’s decision to have Larry Rothschild change relievers as additional proof of his disgust with his pen…and many do not believe the ‘trying to change the karma‘ line he threw out in Milwaukee.
While it is only nine games into the season, anyone that has followed Piniella over the years knows he has little to no patience with relievers that do not throw strikes and walk a lot of batters. Changes could be coming if the seven arms currently in his pen do not start performing.
The Minor League system began their season last Thursday (April 9) and while Jake Fox is tearing up the PCL (.516/.579/1.097/1.676 with four doubles, a triple and four home runs in eight games, 16-for-31), there are several pitchers that have performed quite well over the first week…and the Cubs have five open spots on their 40-man roster. The Cubs have seven pitchers currently on their 40-man roster in Iowa. Mitch Atkins has struggled in his two starts…but Jeff Samardzija, Randy Wells and Chad Fox have done their jobs. Then there is Kevin Hart…
Ryne Sandberg has several promising pitchers on his roster but none on the Cubs’ 40-man roster. Hung-Wen Chen has been impressive while Jay Jackson was not in his only start on the season. As for one of the younger Papelbon brothers, Jeremy has struck out seven and walked only two in 5 1/3 innings.
If the Cubs decide to make changes it could mean losing a couple of players from the organization. Neal Cotts and Angel Guzman are out of options…and David Patton must remain on the Cubs’ active roster for the entire season.
The CCO will have more from the minor league teams on Monday.