At long last, another of the Cubs’ slick offseason bullpen signings will actually take the mound for the team.
Having signed each of Brad Brach and Tony Barnette to relative bargain contracts late in the offseason (and have also subsequently seen Brach have to build back up from mono, and Barnette miss all this time with a shoulder issue), the Cubs also signed lefty Xavier Cedeño to a steal of a deal just before he dealt with a wrist issue that delayed his big league debut considerably.
Fortunately, after some rehab, Cedeño is now ready to go:
The #Cubs today activated LHP Xavier Cedeño off of the 10-day IL and placed RHP Allen Webster on the 10-day IL with radial nerve inflammation.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 11, 2019
Cedeño, 32, has quietly been very good for a while now, so if he’s fully healthy, he should be a nice addition to the bullpen, especially if he replaces the production that Webster had been giving the Cubs. Although he doesn’t have to be a strict LOOGY, you probably will mostly see Cedeño facing lefties.
Speaking of Webster, it’s been a rough opening to his Cubs season. Despite flashing the best stuff in Spring Training – earning him a singular call-out by Theo Epstein – Webster hasn’t really looked that sharp to me this year, and the results have matched: 4.91 ERA and 5.48 FIP over 11.0 innings, 1.64 HR/9, 17.3% K rate, 9.6% BB rate.
Dreaming on upside, it still would have been conceivable that, if he were waived, he would have been claimed, and the Cubs would have lost him if they tried to send him to Iowa (he has no minor league options remaining). So, in that respect, his injury is well-timed for the club, whether it is an explanation for his struggles, or one of those “yeah, he kinda sorta has something going on, and we need a reason to remove him from the mix for a little while” situations.
Maybe with some time off, and then an opportunity to rehab in the minors, Webster gets back on track. Unfortunately for him, there are SO MANY arms currently in the pen (or on the IL) and at AAA that the Cubs will also be considering giving a shot.