Sean Marshall to the Bullpen is Rearing its Head Again

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Sean Marshall to the Bullpen is Rearing its Head Again

Chicago Cubs

About a month ago, there were whispers that Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella would like to see Sean Marshall in the bullpen because he is a reliable lefty. But at the time, Marshall was a significantly better starting pitcher than the next in line, and it didn’t make sense to make the switch.

With the possible emergence of Randy Wells as an adequate starter, perhaps the luxury of moving Marshall to the pen is coming back in vogue.

Piniella hasn’t decided whether to start Randy Wells on Thursday or go with Ryan Dempster on his regular rest. But Wells will be sticking around, either as a reliever or starter, depending on whether Sean Marshall moves into Cotts’ role as late-inning left-hander.

I have long supported moving Marshall to the bullpen. As much as I love Marshall and think he is an excellent starter, for this particular team, he’s better suited for the pen.

First of all, the pen is struggling, and is in desperate need of reliable guys who can come in and throw strikes – Sean Marshall has already proved he can do that.

Second, the pen lacks a quality lefty – Sean Marshall is a quality lefty.

Third, the Cubs could use a guy who can come out of the pen for long stretches or even swing a start or two – Sean Marshall has already proved he can do that.

Fourth, Sean Marshall is, ironically, killing the bullpen with his consistent five-inning starts. With a bullpen as troubled as this in the middle innings, the Cubs need starters than can consistently go six, seven innings deep. Marshall has never been able to do that, and hasn’t started doing it this year.

One caveat that I would like to point out: Lou has much more confidence in Randy Wells than I do. He’s had one start where he went five innings, and looked ok. He’s dominated this year at AAA, but he was a bit old compared to his competition. His stuff has never looked overwhelming, and it’s easy for a new pitcher to mow down a lineup when there isn’t a scouting report on him.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.