Pedro Strop and Justin Steele came up from the alternate site to help fill in for the COVID-related IL relievers, and pitched quite well in the process.
But with Brandon Workman and Dan Winkler cleared to return today, the Cubs today decided to reinstate the two guys who originally made the team, and send Steele and Strop back to the alternate site. I reckon that’ll ruffle some feathers given the early Workman/Winkler struggles and the Strop/Steele success, but I’m fine with it for now. The Cubs chose Workman and Winkler for a reason, and they’re going to get innings from all of these guys in time. Let those two come back, see what’s what – and keep on adjusting the bullpen group on the fly. They’ve had success doing it for years now, so I trust the process, so to speak.*
Good, by the way, that neither Workman nor Winkler wound up actually getting COVID.
As for Strop, it was great to see him back in a Cubs uniform and pitching well, and it’ll be great to see him when he comes back. If he comes back on a non-COVID-related move, he’ll need a 40-man spot.
As for Steele, he looked like the guy we hoped he could be as a reliever – big league stuff, clearly – and now it’s just a question of what type of pitcher the Cubs want to keep developing him into. Is he full-on a reliever now? If so, he’ll be an up-and-down guy with options this and next year. If they want to give him one more crack at starting given the uneven/injured last few years, I wouldn’t necessarily hate it. The bullpen group is so deep.
*Also, I’m just saying … if Workman and Winkler came back and were great through mid-July, they could become really nice trade chips, whereas Strop probably wouldn’t be (and Cubs might not want to trade him), and Steele isn’t going anywhere. Just sayin’ sayin’.