We haven’t yet seen new Cubs lefty Xavier Cedeño debut, and it turns out there’s good reason for that.
Well, not good, but a legit reason:
Xavier Cedeno is dealing with a left wrist issue. Has resumed playing catch, but behind the rest of the bullpen candidates.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) March 3, 2019
Cedeño, you’ll recall, signed an extremely reasonable non-guaranteed contract despite some excellent results in recent years, and now you wonder if the wrist issue was already known and factored into the equation.
Were everyone healthy, and were he battling for a “lefty” spot in the bullpen, Cedeño probably has the inside edge. But if he’s behind enough to merit an Injured List stint to open the season, then if a guy like Brian Duensing (i.e., guaranteed contract) is looking good, he’ll probably be kept and given a chance to bounce back from 2018.
Of course, given the state of the extremely crowded bullpen competition, there was never a guarantee that the Cubs would carry either lefty out of the chute. The way I broke it down – assuming health – is that the Cubs have five obvious guys for the eight spots (Cishek, Montgomery, Strop, Edwards, Brach), and then four guys at that next tier for the final three spots (Cedeño, Duensing, Kintzler, Chatwood). If the Cubs aren’t dumping Kintzler and Chatwood, that would mean just one spot for a lefty like Duensing or Cedeño. But that “battle” would come to pass only if NONE of the other multiple dozens of options shows enough this Spring that the Cubs decide they are going to carry the “best” arms, rather than just the ones they can’t shuffle to AAA.
Speaking of which, and just for reference: although Cedeño’s contract is not fully guaranteed, he *is* on the 40-man roster, and does *not* have minor league options remaining. That more or less means Cedeño is making the club on Opening Day, is headed to the Injured List, or is going to be let go.
We’ll see how things go once he gets on the mound.