Wieck Has Surgery, Swarmer Sticks, Arm Injuries, Minor League Promotions, and Other Cubs Bullets

Cubs baseball is back tonight, my frents. Do with that information what you will. Justin Steele opens the second half up against the Phillies at 6pm CT in Philadelphia.

  • The specifics here haven’t yet been reported, so I’ll avoid stating anything 100% definitively, but I think this picture and message tells you pretty much everything:
  • What we do know for certain is that lefty reliever Brad Wieck had been out since the spring with an elbow issue, and he was rehabbing with an eye toward returning in the second half. At some point in the recent past, it appears that … something else happened to the elbow to put his arm in a pretty intense brace and sling. So, yeah, that looks like surgery to me, and given the wrap on the leg – where they often take the replacement tendon from – I’m thinking this was probably Tommy John surgery. We’ll get official confirmation soon enough, but dang that sucks.
  • Wieck, 30, has more or less looked outstanding in his brief stints with the Cubs since 2019, but they’ve all been brief (just 28.0 innings total with the Cubs) because of the injuries. There have been a variety of them, and obviously this one is the worst. The timeline on his return is going to be unclear pending the type of surgery he had, but I think it’s probably a safe assumption that he won’t be back until sometime in the middle of next season, and from there it’ll be an open question what the effectiveness will look like.
  • Wieck is the fifth high-impact bullpen arm to suffer a serious, season-long or season-most injury this year, joining Codi Heuer (Tommy John surgery), Adbert Alzolay (lat strain), Manny Rodriguez (elbow strain), and Ethan Roberts (Tommy John surgery). It could just be bad luck and a coincidence of timing, or it could speak at least in part to the nature of relief pitching in the current era, where the interests of maxing out stuff and velocity do not always perfectly align with the interests of preserving health. We know that last year at the farm system level, the Cubs also dealt with an outsized volume of pitching injuries at the same time they saw increases in stuff and velocity. Again, just a coincidence, or is there a relationship there that the Cubs have to figure out how to better balance? Anecdotally, it feels like there have been very few arm injuries down on the farm this year – especially compared to last year – so that’s good?
  • Cubs pitcher Matt Swarmer cleared waivers and has now been outrighted to Triple-A Iowa (he’s never been outrighted before, so he cannot reject the outright). It’s great news that the Cubs get to keep Swarmer in the organization for at least another couple months – he’ll be a free agent if he’s not added back to the 40-man by the end of the season – in which time they can, hopefully, give him plenty of time in a multi-inning relief role at Iowa. I think we saw enough from him to know he’s got a big-league-caliber slider, but we don’t yet know if it and the fastball can play up if he’s exclusively focused on relief. I think he probably does have to get a touch more effectiveness out of the fastball, and really command the two shapes on his slider, in order to be a big league reliever.
  • I love post-Draft promotion szn:
  • Each of Made (20-year-old plus defensive shortstop who hit .266/.354/.450/125 wRC+) and Hodge (21-year-old righty who posted a 3.00 ERA and 3.38 FIP over 17 starts and 69.0 innings) merited the promotion at this point in any case – and each has also been particularly hot the last couple months – but I also just love that they’ll now get a couple months of work at a higher level, from which they can take learning experiences into the offseason.
  • You can expect a lot of promotion news to shake out over the next week or so, because a lot of these moves create ripple effects. We already saw Jordan Wicks and D.J. Herz get the bump to Tennessee earlier in the week.
  • Mookie Betts homered in the 8th to give the Dodgers the lead against the Giants, and then made the game-ending catch on a fantastic play:
  • So that’s what it can look like if you trade for a superstar and then extend him immediately on a huge deal. (I am being a little cheeky there, but if you missed the latest Juan Soto stuff this morning, here you go.)
  • I guess Kyler Murray made the right decision to play football rather than sign with the Oakland A’s, eh? His new contract with the Arizona Cardinals will pay him more annually than the entire A’s payroll this year.
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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