The Chicago Cubs announced a wave of roster moves hours before the team’s Tuesday game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the lead item of which is a bummer:
The #Cubs today:
– Placed 3B Kris Bryant (left shoulder inflammation, retroactive to 6/23) & RHP Justin Hancock (right shoulder inflammation) on 10-day DL
– Optioned RHP Duane Underwood Jr. to @IowaCubs
– Recalled RHPs Luke Farrell & Dillon Maples, INF David Bote from Triple-A pic.twitter.com/aUsauY2wmE
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 26, 2018
Kris Bryant hits the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation, and, given that he wasn’t going to play today anyway, now was the time to do it. The Cubs will have to do a lot of mixing and matching at third base in the interim, with Javy Baez getting the call today.
Bryant last played on Friday against the Reds, but has been unavailable since due to the sore shoulder. Because Bryant has been out of action, the Cubs were able to back-date his DL stint to June 23. Even though Bryant had been battling through a slump, he still owned a .280/.383/.481 slash line and 129 OPS+ in 66 games. He also has the potential to turn it back on and help carry the offense at any time. It’s not a controversial position that him being out for at least another week is a blow.
It stinks that Bryant is on the disabled list at a time when the Cubs could use his bat in the lineup to break out of a five-game losing streak, but this is better than the alternative of rushing him back into the lineup or playing a man short. Hopefully Bryant will be better for having got some rest, and hopefully the Cubs’ deep bench and versatility will help cover the loss as well as any team could.
David Bote, who is slashing .268/.347/.502 in 236 plate appearances at Triple-A Iowa and who can play multiple positions, takes Bryant’s spot on the roster. He got 21 plate appearances in an earlier stint on the roster, and likely has a future as a big league utility man.
Joining Bryant on the DL is right-handed reliever Justin Hancock, who has inflammation in his right shoulder. Inflammation in your throwing shoulder is never something you want to see, and even the mildest version can keep a guy out for a month or more. Hancock had pitched OK in stints out of the pen, posting a 1.46 ERA in 12.1 innings over 10 games, but his peripherals (4.56 FIP, 18.4 BB%) were less encouraging.
Taking Hancock’s spot in the pen is Dillon Maples, who has an impressive 37.5 K%, but a 21.4 BB% at Iowa this year. In recent weeks, though, he really seemed to cut down on the walks, and hopefully something really clicked. No reliever option has better pure stuff than Maples, and when he’s right, he’s the kind of guy who could establish himself as a permanent fixture in the pen.
Luke Farrell returns to the roster after a short hiatus following his so-so start on Saturday. I still like him as a reliever for this team, at least in a rotating role, as he’s been used. With Tyler Chatwood on the paternity list, the Cubs are essentially getting the benefit of an extra reliever right now.
Hopefully Jon Lester makes the Cubs not need it, though. How about seven or eight scoreless innings, backed by a robust offense? A guy can dream.
Luis Medina contributed to this post.