Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

chicago cubs logo featureApologies to Donn Roach.

The Cubs apparently felt it was necessary to get another starting pitcher in the fold as soon as possible, and they’ve picked up lefty Clayton Richard from the Pirates* so that he can be in Chicago in time for tomorrow’s game against the Marlins.

Richard, who cost the Cubs only cash consideration (Bruce Miles), had his best years in the big leagues with the Padres back when many members of the current Cubs front office were running the show there. The 31-year-old lefty hasn’t been in the big leagues since 2013 (shoulder issues took him out), but he was pitching reasonably well in the minors for the Pirates this year – 1.88 ERA over 10 starts and 62.0 innings (9 of those starts were at AAA), though just 30 strikeouts.

Richard is a lot like Donn Roach, insofar as he’ll be at his best when he’s keeping the ball down in the zone, getting grounders and not walking anyone. Because, like Roach, he’s probably not going to strike many out.

This move feels a bit like a half dozen of one, six of the other kind of thing, but it does provide the Cubs a little more depth. And it’s not like there’s much downside here.

Further, if it’s just a one-start thing, Richard – a lefty – probably neutralizes the best Marlins (Yelich, Bour, Gordon (if going by career numbers)) bats right now than Roach might have.

Roach was optioned to AAA Iowa. The Cubs will have to open a 40-man roster spot to make room for Richard, but they’ve got plenty of pain-free avenues for making that happen before Richard’s start tomorrow.

*(If you’re wondering why the Pirates would help the Cubs out like this, they aren’t – Richard’s contract reportedly had a clause in it that required the Pirates to call him up by now or offer him to every other team. They apparently elected to do the latter, and the Cubs said, “Sure. Thanks.”)

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