Jeff Samardzija makes his way back to the big club today after pitching very well to start the year in AAA Iowa, and manager Lou Piniella says he’ll help out in the 6th and 7th (which I suppose means he’ll be in the pen, and will be a setup-ish pitcher).

Naturally, this begs the question: if Samardzija is in, who’s out?

Based on performance, the obvious answer is Neal Cotts. But thanks to the ability to throw (crappily) from the left side, it’s going to be someone else.

Hendry shot down speculation about lefty Sean Marshall moving from the rotation to the bullpen and bullpen lefty Neal Cotts being shipped out.

”We’ve got faith that Neal’s going to come out of it,” Hendry said, referring to Cotts’ five walks in three innings and .385 opponents’ average. ”We’re going to give him more chances, and I think he’s going to be tough enough to figure it out.” CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.

The prevailing wisdom is that Luis Vizcaino (hasn’t been scored upon in four appearances) will be designated for assignment (which is a fancy way of saying he’ll get the boot after a period of time for the Cubs to try and trade him), and the Cubs would then have to eat the majority of the $4 million he’s owed.

The other two possibilities are young, middle relievers Angel Guzman and David Patton. The rub there is that neither can be stashed away in the minors. If Patton doesn’t stay on the 25-man roster all year, the Rockies can take him back from the Cubs for a little green.

If the Cubs were to try and send Guzman down to the minors, he would have to clear waivers – i.e., every team in MLB would have to say, “nah, we don’t want that cheap, young, high upside, and relatively effective pitcher.”

So long story short, if a trade doesn’t go down, one of those three is going to be gone from the Cubs. FOR-E-VER.

  • Ivy Walls

    No not Cotts. This is not a performance based proposition it is a confidence and role based proposition. Vizcaino was DFA’d (designated for assignment) meaning in 72 hours he will either be traded or waived. It is a financial loss to a minor degree (although for those displaced by this economy $3M or $500K is an extreme amount of JACK).

    Cubs have decided that the talent prospects of Patton as the designated mop up or early reliever is an investment.

    The bullpen of Gregg, Marmol, Heilman has performed well as expected and Guzman appears on the cusp of joining the consistent group. Cotts’ command is off but that is all the Cubs got so they have till mid-late May to make that work. That leaves the 7th spot.

    Cubs are entering a stretch of 17 more games without an off day. Marshall will get at least 3 starts in that stretch.

    People are going to say that Vizcaino’s performance was not bad but the eyes have it—meaning Piniella, Rothschild and the brass believe Vizcaino’s stuff is not up to snuff and Hendry going to Iowa saw Samardz’s stuff.