The Cubs dealt away four 25-man roster players in the last two days, and, to date, have filled just three of those spots. We’ve been expecting a pitcher to come up today, and I thought it would probably be a reliever, with Casey Coleman and Justin Germano each getting at least one more shot at starting.

Well, a reliever is coming up – Alberto Cabrera – but a starter is coming up, too.

That starter is Chris Volstad, and he’ll be replacing Casey Coleman on the roster, who heads back to Iowa. Though that doesn’t necessarily mean Volstad will be starting with the Cubs.

Volstad, the pre-season darling who dominated in Spring Training, and then could seem to put together a single, completely solid start, was sent down to AAA Iowa in mid-May. And then he got another shot with the Cubs in July! But he couldn’t quite put it together. Again. So, back he went to Iowa.

Now he’s back, and maybe he’s about to get a third shot at stick in the Cubs’ rotation. He’s coming off his best start of the year at Iowa – 8 shutout innings on July 27 – and it’s possible he’ll step in for Coleman, who turned in a poor outing yesterday against the Pirates. (Dear Cubs: Would you please give Coleman a full and fair chance to see what he could do out of the pen? Like, commit to it. Give him multiple months to become a reliever. There might be something there.) Volstad could also have taken Germano’s rotation spot, though I’d think the Cubs would want to take a longer look at what they have there.

Volstad, still just 25, has a 5.17 ERA and 1.472 WHIP at Iowa over 71.1 innings (12 starts). He’s in his first year of arbitration-eligibility, and, if he wants to be tendered a contract this Winter by the Cubs, he’ll need to show some signs of life over these last two months of the season.

It’s possible that, for this stretch, he’ll pitch out of the pen, and the Cubs will see how he looks in that role. Given the corresponding Coleman move, starting Volstad seems more likely, but it’s not like he’s had overwhelming success while starting this year. We’ll have to see what happens.

Cabrera, 23, is making his first trip to the bigs after six-plus years in the Cubs’ minor league system. A hard-throwing righty whom scouts have always liked, but whose numbers have always trailed the scouting reports (which kind of sounds like Rafael Dolis, though they are different pitchers – then again, Cabrera throws a hard, sinking fastball, like Dolis), Cabrera’s strikeout numbers absolutely exploded this year. Always hovering around 7 K/9, Cabrera struck out 11.4 per 9 at AA Tennesse over 35.2 innings to start the year. Then he was called up to Iowa, where’s he struck out 13.5(!) per 9. Overall, his numbers are decent this year – 3.11 ERA over his two stops, with a 1.327 WHIP and 2.3 BB/9 – and he could be a future part of the Cubs’ bullpen, if not maybe even a late-inning reliever.

  • Austin W

    So now all 4 spots have been filled correct?

    • SirCub

      3 – 1 + 2

      That makes four!

      • Edgar

        No its 0…………

        • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

          You may want to check your work again.

        • Steve

          1,2, 4!!! No 3!!!!

          The Holy Hand grenade!!!!!

      • Austin W

        Alright just making sure I didn’t miss someone.

        A yes would have been fine.

  • Fishin Phil

    I’m excited to see Cabrera get a shot.

  • TWC

    Quick, someone find Spencer! Talk him down from the ledge.

    • Spencer

      My head is going to explode

  • Master Dan

    I agree with having Casey Coleman go to the bullpen, but I think the issue the Cubs are having is that they don’t have enough starters. So Casey Coleman is stuck being a starter until they find starters. Capeesh? Anyways, now is a good time to see if Volstad can turn things around. He’s only 25, maybe something clicked down in Iowa recently, hopefully, maybe, meh.., he’ll probably falter..but Big Z isn’t doing much better.

  • willis

    Happy to see Cabrera get a shot. Seems to have found comfort in the pen this year.

    As far as Coleman, he’s not good. So I’m fine with him being sent down and gone for good. Each time he gets an opportunity he combusts. I’m bored with him at this point.

    Something tells me Volstad has what it takes. We have all clowned him but the tools are there. Would love to see him put it together for a couple decent starts.

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    Hmmmm, let me see, Coleman or Volstadt.
    Would I rather be hung with a new rope or an old one?
    There have been so many of these choices this year.

  • Ogyu


  • Kyle

    Very, very excited about seeing what Cabrera can do. Potential homegrown bullpen ace would be lovely.

  • mak

    Cabrera, Dolis and McNutt is a pretty decent back end for the future.

    • Njriv

      Russell, Beliveau, Cabrera, Corpas, Dolis all can be solid pieces of the bullpen in the future.

      • Kyle

        That looks like the back half of a bullpen to me, outside of Cabrera. Still need the good half.

  • RWakild

    You have to find out if Volstad can pitch and he did have 8 shutout innings and lots of ground balls his last start at Iowa. Here is hoping somebody at Iowa figured out what Volstad was doing wrong.

  • FiveFifty550

    Poor Casey Coleman…

  • Idaho Razorback

    Game is on WGN today! What’s the weather like there today?

    • djriz

      It’s currently 80 degrees with the wind slightly blowing in. @11:30 CDT.

    • Steve

      Its raining heavily….game will be called.

  • cubmig

    Good to hear that Coleman is headed back to Iowa. He may have potential, but so far hasn’t lived up to expectations. The return to AAA may do him good—-and he may be a bit more motivated having eaten some humble pie yesterday.

  • cubmig

    …….but choosing between The Volster and Casey is a coin flip that’s landed on its edge.

  • cubmig

    The trades have made this an exciting time. We get to see guys in the system audition. It’s a great opportunity for those called up. Time to see if that “diamond-in-the-rough” stands out for a longer look-see.

  • ChiTown

    B Jax and Vitters may be called up very soon. Dale is going to talk with FO Thursday about the situation. I think LaHair needs to be a bench player

    • Spencer


  • Spencer

    Coleman’s start wasn’t even that bad. He gave up two IF hits then walked a guy and made a bad pitch on the grand slam. Other than that it wasnt horrendous by any means. I really wish he would get an extended look somewhere- either in the pen or rotation.

    • cjdubbya

      Thank you. Was thinking this. Glad that someone else thought this. (must be the last name thing)

      My other thought on this starter conundrum – isn’t Rodrigo Lopez still w/ Iowa? I know he gets shelled the third time through the order, but if you keep in mind he’s a 4-5 inning starter, maybe he gets a shot as a back end guy?

    • Beer Baron

      He also gave up two shots that one day earlier would have been on Sheffield, and the Pirates ran themselves out of what should have been big inning in the 3rd. I was at the game and maybe it looked different on TV, but the Pirates were consistantly hitting it hard and he wasn’t fooling anyone. Sure the first 2 hits were bad-luck, but after that he’s very lucky that he didn’t give up at least 8 runs.

      As much as it sucks, I think we have to let Volsted start the rest of the year to figure out whether or not he’s worth arbiration. There’s obvious potential there if he can just figure it out.

      • cjdubbya

        Admittedly, I was incredibly groggy watching the game, so wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention. I think nodded off on the couch a couple dozen times before finally giving up the ghost, so my impression could be way off here.

        We don’t get a ton of games (just the WGN ones) here in central Ohio, so the only other time I can recall seeing Coleman pitch was the June 27 game against the Mets, where his ERA jumped three full points in one outing.

    • Dustin S

      I wish I could give him the benefit he doubt but he wasn’t really fooling many hitters. The numbers could have been a lot worse because there were a few long drives that barely stayed in. I’m guessing that’s what pushed them to send him back down. Coleman and Wells are both kind of in that tricky AAAA category, where they look ok sometimes but dont have that K out pitch when they need it.

    • cubmig

      If the Cubs lost the game because of that one “bad pitch”, “who gives a s*** “ about how good he was afterwards. (Parody from Beane to Howe in “Moneyball”)

  • terencem

    But I wanted to see Brett Jackson on TV.

  • Leroy K.

    cant we officially end the whole Chris Volstad “experience”

    • MikeL

      NOPE!!! He is the pitching version of Koyie Hill……and he will never leave the Cubs!!!!


      • Leroy K.

        Thanks Mike….SMH…it IS the Cubs…

  • ChiTown

    When and where will Juan Carlos Paniagua make his debut this year? And does he have the potential to become a middle of the rotation starter in the bigs?

  • rbreeze

    Let the SP and RP auditions begin! Some guys just aren’t made to start.. Maybe Coleman and Volstad are meant to be relief pitchers. We’ll let the management team sort through all of what we have available.
    In terms of club control of a player does anyone know if it matters if a player is brought up in August versus September? I’d like to see BJAX up here and maybe Vitters too.

  • Devin

    Coleman gets a ton of movement on his pitches. I think he would be a solid middle reliever. But I’m tired of having to watch Volstad. We’ve seen this show before, and it’s bad. Really, really bad.

  • Myles

    Am I the only person who wants to see Lendy Castillo get a chance at starting in Chicago? How awesome would that be, to see a Rule 5, 124 IP in the minors (7.2 in the majors) dude just winging it down there? Here’s the scouting report on Lendy Castillo:


    He throws a 92MPH fastball (47%), a 82MPH slider (34%) a 90MPH cutter (17%), and an 86(?)MPH change (1%, so one unidentified/misidentified pitch).

    We need a warm body, it might as well be the guy we have to stick on the major league roster for a certain amount of time.

    • Brett

      Absolutely. The Cubs need to get him some time on the active roster this year anyway if they want to keep him.

      I think he’d get crushed, by the way. But, as long as he’s the kind of kid without confidence issues, I’m all for it.

    • nkniacc13

      HE can be activated th First of Sept and have enough time in the majors for the Cubs to keep him

  • dreese

    Well i think the plan is to throw him out there as a starter and maybe have a 6 man rotation to give more people some chances. So he would be on the roster but only have to pitch every 5th or 6th day

  • cubsin

    I expect to see BJax if/when Soriano is traded, or September if he isn’t. I expect to see Vitters in September. Lendy Castillo needs to be back by mid-August, unless we plan to finish his required MLB service time at the start of the 2013 season.

  • cubmig

    I know this has passed, but one must wait for a full accounting of the Dempster spoiler thing. Here’s a nice piece on it with Epstein’s view.,0,4673128.story

  • cubmig
    • Flashfire

      Reading between the lines on that one is fun.

    • BeyondFukudome

      LOL. Theo says, “I think it’s really hard to criticize Ryan,” because he has to say that. But he also gives a detailed account of what happened that makes it completely clear that Dumpster’s version of events is a crock of crap. So, it’s actually really easy to criticize Ryan. Thanks, Theo.

      • Flashfire

        Agree with this. This is how your trash a guy without ruining your own reputation. Hoyer did essentially the same yesterday.

        The way to protect Dempster — which they haven’t done — is to take full responsibility for the mistakes.

        It’s also fascinating that none of Dempster’s teammates came out in support of the “team leader.”

  • hogie

    Voltad up in the pen…

    • Flashfire

      Hey, he’s usually good for short periods!

      • hogie

        I think he coud have some real success if all he does is come in to start an inning, or anytime that the bases are empty.

    • hogie

      nevermind, just a tease

  • Gardner Lane

    We do not need to worry to much about starting pitching next year – there is no reason we cannot find 2 pitchers similar to Ryan Dempster or Paul Maholm in the off-season. Please remember that Ryan D. had a terrible year last year (10-14 / 4+ ERA). He had a great contract year for us – enabling us to trade him. Here is the list of potential starting and relief free agents after the season ( Star: Means potential option). I have noted the players that have gotten an extension already, but I think there are several great candidates for a contract like Malholm (1 year + option) OR a 2 year deal.

    Starting Pitchers
    Scott Baker *
    Joe Blanton
    Fausto Carmona * – maybe
    Kevin Correia
    Jorge De La Rosa * – maybe
    R.A. Dickey *- METS will re-up
    Scott Feldman *- maybe
    Gavin Floyd *- maybe
    Zack Greinke – TOO EXPENSIVE
    Jeremy Guthrie
    Cole Hamels – EXTENSION SIGNED
    Dan Haren * – probably not available
    Tim Hudson *- probably not available
    Colby Lewis – just blew out arm – might be interesting
    Francisco Liriano – I think it would be worth a shot
    Kyle Lohse – former Cub farmhand – maybe?
    Derek Lowe- too old – could not do this year
    Shaun Marcum- probably out of price range
    Daisuke Matsuzaka- maybe – probably not
    Brandon McCarthy- maybe
    Brett Myers *
    Carl Pavano
    Jake Peavy *- could we finaly get him?
    Anibal Sanchez – worth a shot – probably out of price range
    Jonathan Sanchez – good idea
    Ervin Santana * – sure (sould always move to bullpen)
    Joe Saunders – maybe
    James Shields * – TB probably re-ups – cheap contract
    Jake Westbrook * – sure
    Randy Wolf *
    Carlos Zambrano * – HA HA HA – no way

    Relief Pitchers
    David Aardsma
    Jeremy Accardo
    Mike Adams
    Grant Balfour *
    Matt Belisle
    Rafael Betancourt *
    Taylor Buchholz
    Sean Burnett *
    D.J. Carrasco
    Randy Choate
    Jose Contreras *
    Pedro Feliciano *
    Brian Fuentes *
    Sean Green
    Kevin Gregg *
    J.P. Howell
    Hong-Chih Kuo
    Casey Janssen
    Bobby Jenks
    Brandon League
    Matt Lindstrom * – maybe something to think about
    Mark Lowe
    Brandon Lyon
    Shawn Marshall – EXTENSION SIGNED
    Dustin McGowan
    Peter Moylan
    Pat Neshek
    Will Ohman
    Juan Carlos Oviedo (aka Leo Nunez)
    Tony Pena
    Joel Peralta
    J.J. Putz *
    Ramon Ramirez
    Mariano Rivera
    Joakim Soria *
    Huston Street – EXTENSION SIGNED
    Hisanori Takahashi
    Robinson Tejeda
    Carlos Villanueva

  • Whit Sox Nation

    Brandon McCarthy would be great but probably stays in Oakland, James Shields not going any where , DeLaRosa, Corneia both realistic , Tim Hudson not signing here, Lohse getting paid 12 wins already this year not coming to the Cubs, Pavano sucks no thanks, Liriano stays on the South Side, Ervin Santana Bull Pen ?? Peavy and Floyd now that is interesting depends on what Peavy wants year wise will decide his faith Floyd may be could be had seeing he kinda of wore out his welcome on the South Side may want to stay in Chicago but I believe he still under contract so he would have to be dealt to the Cubs unless I’,m wrong about his contract.