Cubs Roster Moves: Lefties Steele and Brothers Head to South Bend, Bullpen Down to Nine

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Cubs Roster Moves: Lefties Steele and Brothers Head to South Bend, Bullpen Down to Nine

Chicago Cubs

Today, the Chicago Cubs cut their roster down to 28 – where rosters will stay for the rest of this season – by sending lefties Justin Steele and Rex Brothers to the South Bend alternate training site.

Steele was not a surprise, given that he hasn’t pitched above AA and seemed to have been called up in the first place as emergency depth. Brothers is also not a surprise, in isolation, as he’s been used very sparingly and you have big questions about the control. The two of them together is a mild surprise, since now Kyle Ryan is the only lefty available in the nine-man pen.

To be sure, with the three-batter minimum rule, you’re more limited in how you can deploy those lefty-lefty match-ups anyway (we saw, for example, when Brothers was sent out to get a lefty (Mike Moustakas), didn’t, and then had to face a righty (Nick Castellanos) who hit a grand slam). Still, you’d like to have lefties available from time to time – to face the rare back-to-back lefties, or to try to finish off an inning – and maybe that’s what Ryan will have to be going forward. Would like to see that velocity come back, though.

As for the composition of the bullpen going forward, right now it’s something like Rowan Wick, Casey Sadler, and Jeremy Jeffress for late innings, Ryan Tepera and Dan Winkler for middle tight innings, Craig Kimbrel a total TBD, Duane Underwood and Colin Rea covering middle bridge innings, and Kyle Ryan the lefty.

Is it possible that, if he shows he’s healthy today in a short tune-up start at South Bend, that Jose Quintana could actually join the bullpen sooner rather than later as a second lefty? I think it’s not impossible, though let’s just see what’s said after his performance today. I still expect he’d get at least one more outing next week at South Bend.

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.