The back-end of the Cubs roster has been nothing short of a revolving door over the past few weeks. And, apparently, that’s not going to change today.
Here’s the latest:
#Cubs add another arm, call up LHP Randy Rosario and option David Bote to Iowa
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) May 17, 2018
Bote optioned to AAA, LHP Randy Rosario, who impressed during the spring, called up to supplement a bullpen that's been worked heavily
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) May 17, 2018
If you recall, Randy Rosario made a big impression on the Cubs’ brass this Spring (after being claimed off waivers from the Rangers over the winter), though he didn’t quite make the team out of camp. Fortunately, he was already on the Cubs 40-man roster, which makes this move for an extra arm today pretty frictionless.
Rosario, 23, has been pitching pretty well as a southpaw down in Iowa this season, earning a 0.52 ERA (3.36 FIP) over 17.1 innings pitched. I’ll have to explore this further another time (the batted ball data from the Minor Leagues is limited anyway), but at first glance it looks like Rosario is a text-book contact-manager. In other words, his 18.5% strikeout rate and 7.7% walk rate might not seem like its deserving of a 0.52 ERA (hence the 3.36 FIP), but he’s capable of getting his fair share of ground balls and opposing batters are hitting just .167 off him. Perhaps we’ll see that play out in the form of soft-contact tonight.
As for Bote, his demotion was just a product of circumstance. Last night, the Cubs bullpen covered 2.2 innings, the night before they covered 5.0 innings, on Monday they covered 4.1 innings, and on Sunday they covered 3.0 innings. That’s a lot of work for a group in the middle of a stretch featuring 11 games in 10 days, so swapping out a position player for an arm – especially on a team with as versatile of a roster as the Cubs – makes plenty of sense.
I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Bote, who had some big RBI during his time up with the Cubs.
The Cubs bench – at least, for tonight – now consists only of back-up catcher Victor Caratini, infielder Tommy La Stella, and outfielder Kyle Schwarber. Meanwhile, the bullpen stands at nine: Steve Cishek, Brian Duensing, Carl Edwards, Justin Hancock, Mike Montgomery, Brandon Morrow, Pedro Strop, Justin Wilson, and new-guy, Randy Rosario.