chris rusin cubsToday the Cubs swapped out Brian Schlitter for Chris Rusin in their bullpen, optioning Schlitter to Iowa and calling up Rusin, who had been starting.

The move, presumably, is mostly about a taxed bullpen (three extra-inning games in the first 10 games will do that), and the need for a long-man. Rusin has always struck me as a potentially interesting lefty reliever long-term, but this is not necessarily that move just yet. Schlitter was the primary goat in Thursday’s painful loss, and hasn’t been overly impressive since he was a surprise addition to the bullpen at the end of Spring Training. He could be back eventually, and I don’t know that you close the door on him just because of a few bad outings.

Bringing up Rusin is also interesting in light of James Russell’s recent struggles and Wesley Wright’s complete absence from the game plan (he hasn’t pitched in a week, despite the taxed pen; there has not been any public indication that he’s hurt, either).

We’ll see how long Rusin sticks around. Carlos Villanueva might not be able to go too deep into the game today, given his early efforts in the pen, so it’s possible this is a short-term move. Schlitter can’t come back for 10 days, but someone else could be brought up to replace Rusin if they don’t want to keep him in the pen.

  • MightyBear

    I really like this move.

  • ssckelley

    Does Rusin have options left? This move does not make a lot of sense knowing Arrieta will be coming off the DL soon unless Rusin can easily be sent back down.

    • Rebuilding

      We don’t have a single lefty on the team (other than Wood) who can get anyone out. Would you put Wright or Russell into a 1 run game today? I suspect that’s why Rusin is up

    • woody

      Considering what Russell and Wright have done so far I can’t criticize this move.

      • ssckelley

        Then why wasn’t a move made with one of those guys instead of Schlitter? To me it does not make a lot of sense to replace a RHP for a LHP.

        • willis


      • willis

        Sure, but then get rid of a lhp. And bring up a power arm rhp. Easier said than done with Wright and Russell but they both are so, so bad.

        • woody

          I’m not privy to the contracts of Russell and Wright, but I would imagine they can refuse a minor league assignment, which means that the only means of getting them off of the roster would be to trade or release them. I thought Russell was pretty much washed up last year, but people thought he was over worked and would bounce back this year. Forget the lefty/righty matchup I would rather see Grimm of Rondon go against a left handed hitter than to see either of those guys in the game.

    • hansman

      If he was already on the 40 – man he already used an option this year. The Cubs can bring him up and send him back down willy nilly this year and still only use 1 option.

    • Kyle

      Rusin has one option year left after this year. He’s already used his option for this year and can be sent up and down as many times as they want without using another one.

  • willis

    Ok, let’s say Villanueva says to management he is tired and can’t go much today…then I guess this makes a little sense. Other than that I don’t get it. There are so many arms capable and dealing well in the system, if you are going to demote a righty, why not bring one up who has been lights out? (Parker, Ramirez). The only thing I can think of is what you said, maybe they either know or are expecting a shitty/short Villanueva today?

    I don’t like Rusin, never have. But, if you told me they were adding Rusin to replace a LH in the pen, I’d be down with that. But to replace a RH, with no movement on the LH side? Don’t get it.

    • Ivy Walls

      Actually it makes sense if Wright has an unknown injury and the Cubs are trying to wait for Arietta to be called off the DL,

      • willis

        Sure, if there’s an “injury” then hell yes, bring up Rusin. But for now, it’s to replace a RHP which to me doesn’t make sense. Especially with the arms they have available.

  • auggie

    It won’t take Rusin long to show he sucks and it will be time for Arrietta to come off the DL.

  • Jon

    Safe to say Brian’s career is going down the Schlitter?

    • Funn Dave

      The Schlitter/shitter jokes have been old for a while now, I’m afraid….

  • Kyle

    Who did Wesley Wright insult?

  • woody

    Rusin was bought up specifically to fill the long relief role should Villanueva get knocked out early. RR doesn’t want to ubuse the guys in the bullpen. I don’t really think this is a long term assignment for Rusin.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    Guessing Rusin is today’s #2 starter. In other words, hey Rusin–sometime today, maybe the 3rd, maybe the 4th, maybe the 6th–you’re coming in and going to get your work in. Treat it like a start.