(UPDATE: the original tweet report is now deleted, though you can still see what it said previously. Matt Grilli works for the Pacific Coast League, so there was plenty reason to trust the original report. The tweet having been deleted, however, should definitely give you pause on this. The original post appears below.)
How’s this for a Thursday night mystery:
The @IowaCubs just reported that two players had their contracts purchased by Chicago. Announcements forthcoming…
— Matt Grilli (@themattgrilli) August 19, 2016
That means two players from Iowa, who weren’t already on the 40-man roster, are being added to the 40-man roster, presumably to be coming up to the big league club. First thing is first … who is leaving the 25-man roster? It’s possible Spencer Patton gets optioned out after today’s struggles, and it’s also possible that John Lackey winds up going on the disabled list. Hopefully no one else is surprisingly hurt.
As for the identities of the mystery players, it’s a good bet that both are pitchers, what with some reliever needs still abounding. Among the possible arms at Iowa who could plausibly come up but aren’t already on the 40-man: Josh Collmenter, Joe Thatcher, Felix Pena, Armando Rivero, Jose Rosario, and Rob Zastryzny.
Tommy Birch suggests that one of the two could be Zastryzny, who has been pitching very well in the recent going as a starter at Iowa. In his last eight starts going back to July 1, Zastryzny’s strikeout rate is 29.6% (as a starter!), and his walk rate is just 8.2%. Dang, that’s really good.
We’ll see what happens.
UPDATE: As I think about it, with Chris Coghlan going to the DL at the same time Tommy La Stella got hit by a pitch (he didn’t play tonight, though it was not necessarily due to injury), I suppose it’s possible the Cubs decided they wanted another position player to cover some of the time before La Stella is ready (which maybe just got longer with the HBP). I still think, though, that the Cubs are going to want a really robust bullpen in the next 10 days if they’re using two guys to start on Saturday (Trevor Cahill and Mike Montgomery) and if John Lackey isn’t able to go on Tuesday.
UPDATE 2: Well, Collmenter, who was just added to Iowa’s roster, is starting tonight in place of Zastryzny, who had been scheduled to start. I’d say that’s a pretty strong indication that Zastryzny is one of the guys getting the call.