Knowing that Jake Marisnick had to go to the Injured List, and also knowing they might be short another position player or two today or tomorrow (Javy Baez’s back? Jason Heyward’s hand?), the Cubs had a bit of a tough choice: they could call up an extra arm for Marisnick, which might seem weird, but their other option was to call up an outfielder/utility guy for Marisnick AND bounce someone from the 40-man roster to do it.
The Cubs opted for the path that keeps more players in the organization for now:
The Cubs placed outfielder Jake Marisnick on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain and recalled left-handed pitcher Brad Wieck from Triple-A Iowa.
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) May 11, 2021
Without another realistically available position player on the 40-man, the Cubs could have brought up an outfielder like Rafael Ortega or Cameron Maybin only if they first moved someone else off the 40-man. Since no one is in position to go to the 60-day IL (which temporarily takes them off the 40-man), clearing a spot for an outfielder would’ve mean exposing someone to waivers. They didn’t want to do it, and I don’t blame them.
But here’s the price: with lefty Brad Wieck coming up instead of a position player, the Cubs will now go with a bench that consists of … back-up catcher Tony Wolters and infielders Ildemaro Vargas and Eric Sogard. That’s it. And that assumes Báez and Heyward are both OK. Oh, and it’s in an AL park, so there’s also a DH needed.
Of course, it being in an AL park with the DH cuts both ways – on the one hand, the Cubs don’t have a great extra bat available to do the job (Nick Martini against a righty, maybe?), but on the other hand, you won’t necessarily need players coming off the bench unless there are in-game injuries. It’s a two-game series, after which there’s another off-day, and then on Friday, Ian Happ and Nico Hoerner – if healthy – are eligible to be activated. So really, I’m fine with the Cubs going this route for two games. It’s just gonna be a really tight squeeze.
As for Wieck, nice to have him back fresh off his no-hit performance, and he’ll be the fourth lefty joining the now nine-man bullpen. At least the Cubs will have PLENTY of arms available tonight if Adbert Alzolay goes his usual five-ish innings.
And as for Marisnick, I presume we’ll get more info on the extent of his hamstring strain soon. Once he immediately left Sunday’s game and the Cubs called it a hamstring strain, you knew it was an IL situation. No surprise today on that front. The real question is whether it’s a three-week thing or a two-month thing …