On Sunday afternoon, David Bote did what he does best: a walk-off RBI single to lift the Cubs to victory at home. And immediately after that, he raced to the airport to fly to meet his wife for the birth of his third child! Talk about a memorable day, right?
But because a father and partner has many duties in life, David Bote is taking a well-earned break from the team to be with his now slightly-larger family. And the Cubs are placing him on the paternity list, so they can call in some reinforcements while he’s gone:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 23, 2019
But curiously, it’s reliever Randy Rosario coming up to replace Bote, not another bench bat or defender. Rosario, you’ll recall, was just sent down in favor of Alec Mills on Sunday, who was mostly brought up to backfill Tyler Chatwood in case he needed it (he didn’t), but he’s apparently sticking around for a little while longer. Good for him.
But is this really that great for the Cubs roster as a whole?
Sure the Dodgers are slightly worse against left-handed pitching like Rosario, but for at least tonight’s game, the bench will consist solely of Albert Almora and Mark Zagunis, plus backup catcher Taylor Davis. Yeah – there are no backup infielders on the bench and only two readily available back-up position players at all. Let’s hope Jose Quintana goes deep, eh?
Obviously, with Ben Zobrist, Daniel Descalso, and Kris Bryant all capable of moving between the infield and outfield, that’s not as big of a deal as it would be with most teams, but still … it is striking. After all, the Cubs were already rolling with a shorter bench than some, with eight relievers in the bullpen. But now, there’s NINE arms out there!
- Pedro Strop
- Steve Cishek
- Brad Brach
- Brandon Kintzler
- Kyle Ryan
- Allen Webster
- Tim Collins
- Alec Mills
- Randy Rosario
Like I said, the versatility of the Cubs bench makes this palatable in the short-term and that’s all this should be: a short-term move. But let’s hope for some long outings from the starters, beginning tonight.