The front office and coaching staff are working on a plan for the pitching staff in September that does not appear at this time will include shutting any of the pitchers down before the end of the season. There are starters and relievers that are approaching career highs in innings or appearances that will likely see their innings cut back in the final month of the season, but not shut down entirely.
Plus there are pitchers on the 40-man roster the Cubs would like to take extended looks at in September such as Felix Doubront, Jacob Turner and Dan Straily. Doubront and Straily are expected to be added to the active roster on or around Sept. 1. And Dallas Beeler is also on the 40-man along with relievers Brian Schlitter, Chris Rusin, Zac Rosscup, Blake Parker and Arodys Vizcaino.
It appears the Cubs are more focused on the pitching staff call ups for September right now than the position players. Jorge Soler, Mike Olt and Junior Lake are expected to be added to the active roster in September. Both Logan Watkins and Josh Vitters are on the 40-man roster and on optional assignments with Iowa as well.
Jed Hoyer indicated last week the front office and coaching staff were discussing how to handle the pitching staff in September and that the Cubs would do “different things with the rotation” in the final month of the year.
Jed Hoyer discussed September call-ups, the rotation and the fact Jake Arrieta will not be shut down in September during his weekly segment on The Kap & Haugh Show (87.7 The Game). Hoyer’s comments point to the team possibly using some sort of a six-man rotation and what he said about the bullpen getting a little more of a breather is rather intriguing.
“The thing we’ve been talking about the most, so far, is pitching. Figuring out exactly how we want to set up our rotation and who we want to get innings for September,” Hoyer told The Kap & Haugh Show. “I know there was a lot of discussion the other day about [Jake] Arrieta and whether he would be shutdown. I don’t see us doing that. I just see us potentially using more starters in September trying to get a bunch of different guys innings.”
When the Cubs acquired Felix Doubront from the Red Sox and claimed Jacob Turner off of waivers from the Marlins it was believed, at the time, the front office viewed both pitchers as starters. Doubront is on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa and Turner has made one appearance out of the pen.
“We have guys that that we are going to want to take a look at. Whether it’s Felix Doubront … We will want to see more of Jacob Turner and so with that we are trying to make it work so we can take a look at a lot of these arms,” Hoyer said. “And if that ends up maybe giving some extra days to some of the guys that have worked hard all year. Maybe giving the bullpen a little more of a breather that might be a good side benefit of that.”
Jed Hoyer also explained why Rick Renteria made the comments he did about Jake Arrieta possibly being shut down early.
“I think that part of what happened was that it was never something that we had discussed. He [Jake Arrieta] missed most of April and so his innings totals aren’t that high. So really shutting him down wasn’t something we sat down and talked about,” Hoyer said. “We had some discussions about [Kyle] Hendricks and where his innings were this season, but we hadn’t had any about Arrieta. I think the questions caught him [Rick Renteria] off guard. It wasn’t something we were talking about. We were talking more about maybe lengthening the time between starts out in September but not shutting anyone down. I think that is why it was confusing because it wasn’t something we’ve even talked about.”
There are ways a team can limit a pitcher’s innings and do its best to protect those arms without ending the player’s year early. Knowing how to prepare mentally for an entire 162-game season is part of a player’s development and it appears the Cubs are trying to figure out the best way to keep the players on the field.