The Cubs really wanted some bullpen reinforcements today, it seems.
Not only are they sending down James Norwood for another reliever just a day after he was called up (as was the case with Rowan Wick the day before), but they are bringing up a second reliever today to replace outfielder Mark Zagunis.
RHP James Norwood and OF Mark Zagunis were optioned to Triple-A following yesterday’s game. pic.twitter.com/uRHQme1UkE
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 25, 2019
Collins, 29, certainly looked the part in his first stint with the Cubs, but a roster crunch led to him heading back to Iowa, where he pitched well except for being susceptible to the long ball (a problem for many AAA pitchers this year). He’s a lefty who doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to match-up duties, but if the Cubs have a very full bullpen, that’s probably how he’ll roll for now.
Maples, 27, well, you know the drill. He has insane stuff that will rack up ridiculous K numbers, but he also struggles to simply pitch in the strike zone (almost all he needs to do to have success). A little bit of command, and he’s instantly a late-inning option for the Cubs. But, so far, those moment of reasonable command have been sufficiently fleeting that he can be considered no more than a middle relief option at this point.
The Cubs currently sport a nine-man bullpen, which means they have an untenably short three-man bench. You’ve gotta believe a different position player will come to replace a reliever at some point this weekend or early next week. Maybe Ian Happ will finally come up? Maybe Ben Zobrist is getting ready to return?
For now, though, it’s a very full bullpen and a very short bench.