Fresh on the heels of Zach Putnam being called up and added to the 40-man roster for a look-see, another right-handed reliever is headed to Chicago. Today the Cubs called up Blake Parker, who saw a little time with the Cubs last year, and who has been dominating at AAA Iowa. To make room for Parker on the 25-man, Rafael Dolis was placed on the DL with a “mild forearm strain,” retroactive to May 27. To make room for Parker on the 40-man roster, newly-claimed reliever Alex Burnett – whom Putnam replaced on the 25-man roster – was designated for assignment.
To break down:
- Burnett was clearly a roster grab and stash attempt. The Cubs held onto him for just a little while (five days), and are now hoping that the window for other teams to have space to grab him has closed (which is to say, I’m assuming the Cubs will put him on waivers shortly). If no other team wants to grab him, they can outright him to AAA Iowa, where he’ll remain a nice depth stash. Nicely played.
- The dreaded forearm strain for Dolis. Sometimes it’s just a forearm strain, and no reason for further concern – I’m intrigued that the Cubs went to the lengths to say “mild” in the announcement – but if you’re a little nervous, I’d understand.
- Parker, 27, has been closing for Iowa and has a 2.04 ERA over 17.2 innings, during which he’s struck out an amazing 26. Like Putnam before him, Parker is a legitimate future bullpen piece for the Cubs, and now is a good time to get him a second look. His first look was ended by the same kind of stress reaction that ended Matt Garza’s 2012 campaign. Parker is healthy now, and we’ll see how much action he sees. He’s been walking more than 5 per 9 this year, so control may be the thing to watch. He’s obviously got good stuff.
- Eduardo Sanchez, who may have more upside than any of the relievers the Cubs have called up in recent days, remains at AAA Iowa, although he’s already on the 40-man roster. Clearly the Cubs wanted to get a closer look at Putnam and Parker, for whatever reason.