The Chicago Cubs are without a single reliable right-handed relieving option – a fact that is true whether Carlos Zambrano is in the bullpen or in the rotation.
General Manager Jim Hendry is still on the lookout for a reliever to add, but at present, nothing is coming up.
The return of Carlos Zambrano to the starting rotation figures to ratchet up the Cubs’ need for a late-inning right-hander. That doesn’t mean general manager Jim Hendry is any more likely to pull off a trade in May than he was last week.
”We’re going to keep looking. We’re going to keep trying to get better,” he said. ”Obviously, if we can add a right-handed person to the pen, we’ll try to. But it’s hard to predict. There haven’t been too many significant trades in the bullpen in the big leagues in the last four or five months.”
And none since the season started. Potential targets in Toronto (Jason Frasor, Scott Downs) and San Diego (Heath Bell) don’t figure to go anywhere soon with those teams off to strong starts.
”We’ll always keep trying,” Hendry said. ”Some of [the pen’s direction] could be affected by how the starters throw that are in the rotation now, too. And see where Z’s at down the road. We’ve got some kids that are coming and throwing the ball good.” CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.
The reference to kids could include Jay Jackson, who was recently moved to the pen at AAA, as well as other AAA relievers John Gaub, Blake Parker, and Jeff Stevens.
As for the rotation, when Zambrano moves back to the rotation, someone will be bumped, presumably to the bullpen – or to another team. Obviously that could have an impact on the makeup of the bullpen as well.