The Chicago Cubs made a series of roster moves today designed to bolster the bullpen a little bit, as Brett discussed this morning.
#Cubs option Mazzoni to Iowa. Bass selected. Butler to 60 day DL
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) June 11, 2018
The Cubs have announced that 28-year-old right-hander Cory Mazzoni, who’s been up and down a few times already this season – is heading back to Iowa after pitching 2.0 innings in yesterday’s contest.
In his place on the active roster, Anthony Bass, 30, will make his Cubs debut after 23.2 excellent innings at Triple-A Iowa (2.28 ERA). So, then, add another name to your mental docket of rotating AAA/MLB relievers.
To make room for Bass on the 40-man roster, the Cubs have moved righty reliever Eddie Butler (groin strain) to the 60-day disabled list. But before you freak out about what that might mean for his immediate future, remember that Butler has already been out since April 20 (52 days), so that’s basically a non-factor. In other words, unless Butler was otherwise coming back in the next seven days (he wasn’t) this doesn’t change anything, roster-wise.
Instead, the Cubs simply needed a spot on the 40-man roster, and I think the Ball call-up was simply about having another fresh arm available at the back of the bullpen, which is something the Cubs have done a lot and to relatively great success this season.
Cory Mazzoni, for example, has a 1.17 ERA in seven split up outings and will almost certainly be back up with the team before this season is through. And, again, the new guy, Bass, has had a really nice season for the I-Cubs this year. Underneath the pristine ERA, he’s got a solid 3.42 FIP, with an especially enticing 6.1% walk rate.
But Bass can do more than that, mind you. He’s currently working with a 52.9% ground ball rate down in Iowa, plus a massive 31.6% infield fly ball rate. We’d need to know a little more to be sure, but those two numbers sure seem to suggest how tough he’s been to square up this season.
You can hope for more if you’d like, but if all Bass does while he’s up is pump strikes and get grounders in mostly low leverage moments, that’ll be a wildly successful roster move for the Cubs. That end of the bullpen has done it a lot this season, so let’s hope they keep the good times rolling.