The Cubs’ roster carousel continues (or is it a roller coaster, Brett? Get your metaphors in order), with another roster move today: lefty Zac Rosscup, having eaten his 0.2 innings, is headed right back to AAA Iowa, where he’ll tag righty Felix Pena, who will return to the big league team for tonight’s game (Mooney).
When you’ve got a bunch of big league middle-relief-capable arms at AAA, all of whom have minor league options, it’s only natural that you’d see a lot of up-and-down movement. The only limitation is that an optioned player cannot return for 10 days (unless he’s replacing someone headed to the disabled list). So long as the Cubs abide by that rule, you may see them cycling these middle relievers in and out throughout the season, keeping the core of the bullpen as fresh as possible (especially as the starters continue to struggle to go deep).
Pena, 27, has pitched 5.0 more or less successful innings at the big league level this year after 9.0 more or less successful innings late last year. At AAA in 2017, however, he’s got a 5.40 ERA and peripherals to match, as he’s struggled mightily with walks and home runs. Here’s hoping he continues to leave that at Iowa, and brings only the good stuff to the big leagues.
And eventually, we may see him cycled back out for Rosscup, or Dylan Floro, or Pierce Johnson, Rob Zastryzny, or Justin Grimm.
Meanwhile, be sure to read the thoughtful thing I wrote about Kyle Schwarber’s struggles, which got stepped on, timing-wise, by this roster move. *shakes fist at Cubs*