After today’s loss, the Chicago Cubs announced (Carrie Muskat) that AAA Iowa starter Dan Straily will start for the big team on Saturday, making his Cubs debut, and pushing everyone else back a day.
Straily, 25, was acquired from Oakland in the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel deal as something of a young, talented reclamation project. He’s had some big league success already in his career, but had struggled this season, even in the minors, for the A’s. The Cubs sent him to AAA Iowa to put in some work, and he’d been pitching quite well of late (three straight starts without an earned run). Overall at Iowa, he’s got a 3.00 ERA and 4.19 FIP over 39 innings with a 23.8% K rate and 7.7% BB rate.
For now, it sounds like this is a one-start deal, with the other five starters remaining in the rotation and just getting a day of rest. Still, it’s a bit unusual, and it will require a 25-man roster move for just one day (do you send a reliever down, and pitch with a “short” bullpen? do you send Hendricks or Wada back down for the day? But then you can’t call them back up for 10 days; do you play down a position player?). It’s possible the Cubs are planning a coordinating roster move, perhaps involving a pitcher, which leaves open the possibility that Straily will come up and stay up. We’ll see what happens in that regard on Saturday. I’d put it at better than 50/50 that something “interesting” happens.
In any case, it was always possible that Straily – or Felix Doubront, or Jacob Turner – would join the rotation in September when rosters expand, and as the Cubs possibly wind down the innings for guys like Kyle Hendricks, Tsuyoshi Wada, and Jake Arrieta. Perhaps, if some larger move doesn’t happen on Saturday, Straily comes up for one start, goes back down for a start at Iowa, and then comes back up in early September to join the rotation for the rest of the year.
It’ll be very interesting to finally get eyes on Straily, who figures into the back-of-the-rotation competition heading into 2015.