Cubs Roster Move: Mills Back to Iowa, Norwood to Cubs

Social Navigation

Cubs Roster Move: Mills Back to Iowa, Norwood to Cubs

Chicago Cubs

With a might tip of the cap and a few dollars for bus fare, the Cubs wave farewell to Alec Mills, who spotted them six innings of work last night. He got some love in the Bullets for his efforts, and he’ll likely be back before the year is up.

As Mills heads to Iowa, James Norwood finally gets the call to come back up to the big club.

Norwood, 25, has been among the many talented arms in the AAA bullpen this year, but as others have rotated in and out, he’s continued to get work in the minors, with only one brief inning of work in the big leagues back in May. Some of that may be due to his poor results – at least relative to the other arms at Iowa, because his 4.71 ERA is actually better than league average in that crazy league – but it’s also just been a numbers game. (Also on the ERA: Norwood’s strand rate has been exceptionally low, which is usually not predictive.)

Stuff-wise, Norwood clearly has a big league fastball and a big league changeup. If he gets into action tonight, you’ll be able to tell. But like so many other up-and-down AAA relievers, the stuff isn’t the question – it’s the ability to hit spots when the moment calls for it. For Norwood, it’s also just been a matter of throwing strikes: his 32.4% strikeout rate at Iowa this year is great, but the 12.7% walk rate is a bad sign.

I like Norwood when I’ve seen him. You can see the big league potential in there, and why he was brought up last year in the first place despite few knowing who he was. Unfortunately for him, with Brandon Kintzler set to return tomorrow and Craig Kimbrel soon thereafter, Norwood’s stop in the big leagues this time around is going to be very short once again unless there’s another injury.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.