Today the Chicago Cubs made a swap-out in their bullpen, with lefty Adam Morgan going to the Bereavement List, and Tommy Nance called back up from Triple-A Iowa (Bastian).
Morgan, 31, had some hiccups when he first returned to the big leagues this year, but since July 17, he’s got a 2.08 ERA with an exceptional groundball rate and K/BB numbers. The long-time Phillie was recovering from a late-2020 surgery when the Cubs signed him as a reclamation, and it seems to have gone very well. He’ll be a free agent after this season, and might find better offers out there than he would get from the Cubs, but we’ll see. In the meantime, I hope he and his family are well through their bereavement process.
Nance, 30, was one of the best early-season stories in baseball, in my opinion, as a guy who grinded and grinded through independent ball and the minor leagues and multiple injuries to finally make his big league debut. He was absolutely electric. One of the best immediate performers I could remember. How the Cubs had helped unlock him at age 30 was stellar.
But you know the rest of the story. The sticky stuff enforcement came, and at the same time, Nance’s spin rates, pitch movement, and results all cratered. We don’t have to make any accusations here to acknowledge the timeline – and to note that more than 50% of pitchers saw an appreciable change in their rates, so it’s not like Nance was alone – and it was sad to see.
Nance went back to Iowa, got good results (but without the massive K rate), and then was injured.
I’m actually hopeful he stays up at this point so that we can see what he looks like after a long period of time to adjust to the new world. He still has good velo and good overall movement, so it’s not at all inconceivable that he could stick around even after making adjustments. But the Cubs probably want to see how he looks before they make a 40-man decision after the season. Best of luck to him.