Randy Wells’ demotion to AAA Iowa caught quite a few folks off guard yesterday, including Randy, himself.
“It was obviously a shock,” Wells said. “Things didn’t work out. I’ve got to go down and get stretched back out and try to get built up and make some starts and hopefully be ready when they need me.”
Staying stretched out is apparently the key, according to Cubs GM Jed Hoyer.
“Randy had a real good spring and we made that clear to him,” Hoyer said. “It wasn’t for his lack of effort.
“We came in here with seven starters competing for five jobs. Travis [Wood] has a really bright future with us but he struggled a little bit this spring and needs to go to Triple-A and regain what he had in 2010. Randy pitched real well and I thought he put his best foot forward. Jeff and Chris pitched a little better …. We’re not going to play with five starters all year. We need him stretched out in Triple-A. That was the message – yes, you’re not in the rotation to start the season but that means very little in a six-month marathon. I’m sure he’ll make a lot of starts for the Cubs this year.”
Still, Wells is disappointed, even if he tries to tell himself that the move might just be some kind of wakeup call (a wakeup from what? pitching too well?).
“Usually when this happens, you’ve had a rough spring or haven’t been pitching well,” Wells said. “I feel I’ve thrown the ball well in a variety of different roles. I’m not going to sit here and lie and be the guy who says I’m not disappointed because I am. It is what it is. It’s a point in your career where you have to buckle down and you know what you have to do. It’s a wakeup call to see it’s not that easy to stay here. Hopefully next time I get called up, it’s the last time I have to deal with this.”
As for the man who arguably took Wells’ job, Jeff Samardzija understands what Wells is feeling, and feels good about Wells’ future.
“It’s not fun, man,” Samardzija said. “You’ve got a lot of people supporting you and a lot of people pulling for you to get to where you want to go. It’s hard to get past the feeling that you let them down. The truth is there are a couple things you have to work on. For me, personally, I had to work on a lot of things.
“To get sent down is tough … but a lot of times it’ll show you who you are, whether you bounce back, keep fighting or pack it in,” Samardzija said. “It’s a crossroads. Randy will be fine. He throws a lot of strikes, keeps the ball down in the zone. He’ll be a big part of the team this year eventually.”
Indeed, assuming he’s not traded, the odds are strong that Wells will spend a considerable portion of the year in the big league rotation, one way or another. But, until then, it’s fair to remain surprised by the decision.
Which leads me to some other reactions to the news. Because I can’t help myself, I crafted up a handful of pictorial reactions to the news, all of which you can find at the BN Facebook page. A sample: