Lefty reliever Tim Collins had the option to elect free agency when he was outrighted back to AAA Iowa by the Cubs, and, although he accepted an option once before, this time he’s departing the organization rather than accept an outright assignment off the 40-man roster. (h/t MLBTR)
It’s not a surprise that Collins opted not to stick around this time, not only because he’d be off the 40-man this time, and not only because he never really got a shot with the big league pen in his times up this year, but also because it’s so freaking crowded at this point that he wasn’t even going to get a look in September after roster expansion. Heck, he might not have even gotten a shot if there were a rash of injuries.
Consider the Cubs’ bullpen situation, as of this moment, at the big league level:
- Brad Brach
- Tyler Chatwood
- Steve Cishek
- Derek Holland
- Craig Kimbrel
- Brandon Kintzler
- David Phelps
- Kyle Ryan
- Rowan Wick
- And then there’s Pedro Strop on the IL, but he’ll be back
- And then there’s Cole Hamels, who returns this weekend and bumps someone
So you’re talking about the Cubs *ALREADY* being one too many in the pen (nine instead of eight), and then two more guys coming back soon-ish.
And now consider the crew already waiting for an opportunity at Iowa – all of these guys are plausible fill-in relievers, if needed:
- Tony Barnette (restricted list currently, but on a big league contract)
- Craig Brooks
- Trevor Clifton
- Danny Hultzen
- Dillon Maples
- Dakota Mekkes (left with the trainer last time out, though)
- Alec Mills
- James Norwood
- Randy Rosario
- Duane Underwood, Jr.
- Brad Wieck
- And THAT’s not considering guys like Adbert Alzolay, Xavier Cedeno, Kendall Graveman, and Allen Webster, who are injured/rehabbing.
It’s better to have tons of options than too few, of course. But the Cubs’ volume approach has certainly led to a whole lot of volume. Oh, and I didn’t mention Brandon Morrow, who *could* come back in September or something, though I’m not expecting it.