We’ve received very few insights into the open spots in the Chicago Cubs bullpen. Obviously we know who is pitching well and who isn’t, but we don’t have too many comments from manager Lou Piniella on whom he believes will be heading north with the Cubs.
And then he casually dropped a bombshell.
The Cubs will be leaning on lefty John Grabow to be the primary set-up pitcher. Lou Piniella would like at least one other person to handle those duties.
“If we can find a couple pitchers here to compliment him, it would behoove us,” Piniella said. “The two kids we have right now would either be [Esmailin] Caridad or [Justin] Berg. Then we have to see what we do rotation-wise, and maybe somebody from the rotation falls into that category, too.” Muskat Ramblings.
Unless I’m reading that wrong, Piniella is saying that, among others, Justin Berg is now a virtual lock to make the bullpen. Not only that, he’s being considered for the right-handed set-up role, together with Esmailin Caridad.
Berg, 25, was acquired by the Cubs for Matt Lawton some years ago, and was soon after converted to a reliever, where he has found success. In fact, as much as folks talk about Caridad’s late-season success with the Cubs last year, Berg was just as good, throwing 12 innings with an ERA under one. He was dominant for Iowa last year, so his making the pen is not a surprise.
What is a surprise is how casually Lou mentioned it, and how nobody seems to be commenting on it.