As noted earlier today, the Cubs could freely move Brandon Morrow to the 60-day DL now that his season is over, and open up a 40-man spot for another reliever like Allen Webster if they were so inclined.
And that’s precisely what they did before tonight’s game, as the 28-year-old reclamation reliever joins the big league roster.
Webster, a former top starting pitching prospect, was signed to a minor league deal before the season, and then slowly worked his way back into pitching form out of the bullpen beginning in mid-July. He rocketed his way up through the minor league system from there, finishing out the season at AAA Iowa. Over 17.0 innings spread across rookie ball, AA, and AAA this year, Webster posted a 2.65 ERA, allowing 18 hits and just 3 walks, while striking out 24.
He has been flashing excellent stuff as a reliever, and it only made sense to bring him up now just in case there’s a need in these final couple weeks of action. The odds he’d pitch his way onto the postseason roster at this point, however, are extremely long.
Instead, I think this time up will be more about whether the Cubs want to keep him on the 40-man roster all offseason. Keep in mind, Webster would have headed right back to minor league free agency if the Cubs hadn’t added him to the 40-man roster, and, given what he showed in his new life as a reliever, there’s a good chance he would have gotten a 40-man spot from another organization this offseason.
Now, the Cubs control their own destiny, so to speak. If they like what they see, Webster sticks around on the 40-man all offseason and competes for a bullpen job in the spring. If they don’t think he’s going to be worth taking up a 40-man roster spot all offseason, they cross that bridge when it materializes.