Roberts Rehab Update, Report Indicates Suzuki to Play in WBC, and Other Cubs Bullets

The ole computer crashed in the middle of drafting these Bullets, so here’s hoping there aren’t any weird hanging cliffs that got eaten in the restore process. I don’t immediately see any, but hey, forgive me if so …

  • Absolutely love to see this from Cubs reliever Ethan Roberts, whose extreme work ethic on his way up the ladder strongly suggested he was a dude who would crush the rehab process:
  • Roberts, a 2021 breakout story, made the Opening Day roster with his ridiculous cutting fastball and sweeping slider, but was bitten by health issues almost immediately. Then, as he was finishing up his rehab stint at Iowa, the dreaded elbow pop. So it was Tommy John surgery for the 25-year-old, who likely will not be back until the second half next year at the earliest (even with a rehab being ahead of schedule). Still plenty of reason to hope on the upside when he returns.
  • That leaves the Cubs in an awkward spot from an offseason roster perspective: you obviously want to keep him in the organization, and as soon as the regular season approaches, you can move him to the 60-day IL and he won’t take up a 40-man spot. But *until* the end of Spring Training, he would be taking up that 40-man spot, at a time when things are awfully crunched. Gut says the Cubs are going to try to just retain him (ditto Brad Wieck, who is also rehabbing from TJS) as long as possible, so they can then 60-day him at the end of Spring Training. If they know for sure they are going to need the 40-man spot to protect a prospect, though, then they may have to try to non-tender Roberts and immediately sign him to an above-market minor league deal, with an understanding that he’ll be selected back to the 40-man roster as soon as he’s good to go.
  • According to a report out of Japan, Seiya Suzuki is going to play in the World Baseball Classic for Japan this coming spring (h/t IFG):
  • Use Google Translate with caution, but I believe the article is suggesting that, although the Cubs want to make sure Suzuki is in the best possible place to have a great 2023 season, they will support him if he wants to play in the WBC. The main piece of it takes place over two weeks in the middle of Spring Training.
  • To that end, when he was asked at his season-ending presser about Suzuki’s debut season, Jed Hoyer was obviously very complimentary and all that stuff you’d expect. But the one bit that he got into that was a little more forward-looking was the idea that, in addition to the pitcher and lifestyle adjustments to playing in MLB, there is also a different physical grind. The weeks are scheduled differently than in Japan. The travel is very different. The day-to-day requirements are different. That isn’t to say better or worse, just different. And so there is a physical adjustment that you have to make, and you can’t really know how to best PREPARE for it in the offseason until you’ve experienced it (and Suzuki also had the ding of not being able to sign early in an offseason because of the lockout). All reasons to think there’s a chance he could come into 2023 even better prepared to succeed out of the gate, and for a full 162.
  • Nick Castellanos made a fantastic catch in the 9th yesterday – if it gets by him, that thing is a triple at least – and it was funny when set against his defensive metrics:
  • Well this is just wild, but maybe too easily predicted:
  • The Marlins are getting their managerial search underway with a long-time interview candidate:
  • I’m not super familiar with the efficacy of CBD, but MLB now has a partner in the field:
  • Speaking of promo relationships:
  • It was one of the few games I have gone to just me and The Wife, and it was obviously one of the best:
  • Sentencing in the Eric Kay trial has come down:
  • Pretty darn cool for the kid from Chicago:
  • 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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