Well this is pretty terrible. I mean, the injuries that preceded it were also terrible, but this one combines with those, and, uh, this is quite bad.
Another one of the Cubs’ best late-inning relief options is out for a very long time: in announcing the Chris Martin signing and making it official, the Cubs also announced that lefty Brad Wieck had been placed on the 60-day IL with a left elbow strain. That’s quite a loss, given that Wieck looked as good as any reliever in recent memory when he was able to pitch last year – dude was just blazing almost exclusively fastballs and still, no one could touch him.
Wieck, 30, has dealt with his share of injury issues with the Cubs, from the heart procedures to a knee issue to a hamstring strain and now to the elbow. The scary, scary elbow. Still, he was all set to come back healthy this year and play a huge role at the back of the Cubs’ bullpen. Now, it’s not at all clear when he’ll return. Apparently he felt the issue earlier this week throwing in the bullpen (Sharma), and I’d say the fact that he immediately went on the 60-day IL is not a great sign (even if “strain” implies muscle rather than “sprain” which implies structures).
The Cubs’ maaaaany relief signings this week make all the more sense now knowing about Wieck’s injury, paired with that of Codi Heuer (Tommy John, 60-day IL) and Adbert Alzolay (lat strain, 60-day IL). And while we love the Cubs’ ability to take these types and get meaningful contributions out of them, I’m not sure any can realistically step up into the role that Wieck may have had: full-inning setup man, huge strikeout rate potential, dominating type. Sure, we can’t ASSUME Wieck would’ve been that right out of the gate, but he’s got that potential, and he’s definitely shown it before.