Holy roster moves, Batman.
Ok, here’s the short version: today the Cubs put Ryan Dempster on the disabled list, called up Scott Maine, activated Geovany Soto from the disabled list, sent Welington Castillo to AAA, and shifted Randy Wells to the rotation for the time being.
Got all that?
Ok, here’s the slightly longer version.
Ryan Dempster has “lat tightness,” and the Cubs say they are playing things conservatively by placing him on the disabled list. You are thinking obvious things. What does this mean for his trade value and the prospects of a trade? Well, it’ll take a little time for that to shake out. The Cubs say they are just being cautious with Dempster, but good luck convincing a team of whom you’re asking premium prospects in trade. (Unless they’ve already agreed to a trade, and this is just a stalling tactic, requested by one of the two sides while things are finalized. I love conspiracy theories, but I tend to doubt that one. But, hey, anything is possible – this is a new front office, after all.)
Putting Dempster on the DL tells me that the Cubs recognize Dempster’s value isn’t getting any higher, and if his lat “tightness” became anything worse than that, Dempster’s trade value would plummet. Best I can figure, they hope he rests up, feels great in two weeks, and then has another couple healthy, solid starts to convince teams he’s good to go. If it plays out that way, the Cubs could have actually benefited here: Dempster can’t get hurt seriously or pitch crappily if he’s not pitching, and the market could get even more desperate for him in two weeks.
Randy Wells will move from the bullpen and take Dempster’s start on Wednesday against the White Sox. It’s not altogether surprising that Wells gets the first crack. The other option would have been Chris Volstad, but that would have required an additional roster move, and Volstad just pitched yesterday. Plus, here’s the thing: the Cubs would love to show other teams that Randy Wells can still be an effective starter. He came into this season as a fairly effective, valuable, cost-controlled starter. Maybe a couple solid starts convince teams that he’s still that guy. Once again, I’m seeing this Ryan Dempster DL stint as relatively conveniently timed.
Scott Maine has been called back up from AAA to take Wells’ spot in the bullpen. Maine has been pitching well at Iowa (3.42 ERA, 1.139 WHIP, 23 K in 26.1 innings), and was so-so in his earlier stint with the Cubs.
Geovany Soto is now officially back, and he’ll get the start tonight (speaking of starting tonight, wait until you see the Cubs’ lineup in the Pre-Gamin’…). His knee must be feeling pretty good after May surgery, and now the Cubs will hope he crushes the ball for the next month.
Welington Castillo heads back to AAA Iowa where he can start most days. So much for that zany three catchers plan, which never made much sense.
Ok. I think that covers it all. Seriously. Holy smokes.