In their place, the Cubs will supplement the bullpen, calling up righties Rowan Wick and Dillon Maples from AAA Iowa.
Wick, 26, was a relatively late convert to pitching, but the Cubs traded for him this offseason (Jason Vosler) because they liked what they were picking up under the hood. Sure enough, Wick has generally looked like he’s got big league stuff in his limited MLB appearances so far this year, while cruising to a 2.22 ERA with solid peripherals in the offense-heavy PCL.
Maples, 27, is, well, you know the story. The dude has the best slider in the organization and also one of the best fastballs. On a pure stuff basis, he’s right up there with the any reliever in the game. But the big separator – as it so often is for guys with great stuff – is an inability to consistently command it. Indeed, Maples is kinda two steps back from that top tier level – not only can he not really locate his pitches to a particular grid point, he frequently cannot throw a strike at all. If he could just get over that second hurdle, he would at least become a very solid big league reliever. As it stands, he sports comical K and BB rates at AAA: 44.3% K rate and 20.5% BB rate.
With the Cubs subtracting a starting pitcher and an outfielder and adding two relievers, Wick and Maples are extreme depth right now. But, given their talent – and the possibility that other relievers could move out/be injured – they could conceivably pitch themselves into an extended stay if they could turn that corner. More likely, though, I’d anticipate one of the two being optioned in a couple days in favor of a position player (Robel Garcia?), and the other heading back down in favor of Kyle Hendricks or Carl Edwards Jr. if they become ready to return in the coming days before the All-Star break.