Brian Matusz was once a super elite pitching prospect in the Baltimore Orioles organization, and, after mixed results as a starter at the big league level, carved out a nice few years as a reliever. A roster crunch got him this year, and the Chicago Cubs picked him up on a minor league deal with an eye toward converting him back into a starter.
After some mechanical tweaks and some very successful starts in the minors, the Cubs gave him a big league start last Sunday. Although the six runs Matusz gave up helped set the stage for one of the craziest and most enjoyable Cubs games in recent memory, it did not exactly show him at his best. The Cubs designated him for assignment after the game, and he ultimately cleared waivers and was outrighted to AAA Iowa.
Matusz had the right to elect free agency (which it looks like he may have initially), but he has reportedly decided to stick with the Cubs:
— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) August 8, 2016
Matusz doesn’t yet show back up on the Iowa Cubs’ roster online and the last transaction listed for him is the election of free agency back on August 4, but I’ll take Kubatko, an Orioles beat writer, at his report.
For all the guff Matusz got for his ugly three-inning start against the Mariners, I’m still glad he decided to stick around. The Cubs have very little upper level pitching depth that they can freely keep in the minors without roster considerations. Although it’s unlikely Matusz will be called upon again for a start, and he might never see time in the big league bullpen, it’s possible he’ll be needed, and it’s possible he’d perform better in that instance than he showed last weekend.
Hopefully, the Cubs don’t experience the kind of rash of injuries that would lead to them calling upon their extreme depth. But, should it come to that, it’s better to have guys like Matusz around – yes, even after one bad start – than not at all.