Cubs Could Lose Bellinger for a Few Games Soon, Reunions in LA, Bullpen Weirdness, Caissie Again, and Other Cubs Bullets

Social Navigation

Cubs Could Lose Bellinger for a Few Games Soon, Reunions in LA, Bullpen Weirdness, Caissie Again, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Nightmare in the Taylor Household: our ice maker has died. You don’t know how obsessed you are with ice – and how privileged – until the ice is not easily and freely available to you in greedy handfuls. I probably needed to get checked a little bit.

  • According to Marquee, the Cubs could soon be without Cody Bellinger for an undetermined length of time: “Adding to the outfield puzzle, Cody Bellinger’s girlfriend is due with the couple’s second child any day, so he will likely be on paternity leave for a handful of games in the near future.” First and foremost, congrats to Bellinger and his girlfriend on the impending kiddo!
  • Because of the unpredictability of a baby’s arrival, it now makes a whole lot more sense why the Cubs brought up Nelson Velazquez when they did. Without him, their center fielder would be … Ian Happ? Miles Mastrobuoni? Nico Hoerner? Yeah, it’s not a great situation! So, unless the Cubs have someone else standing by, you can guess that Velazquez will stay up even after Seiya Suzuki returns, and Velazquez probably starts in center field for the games Bellinger is out. I think until this moment, I didn’t realize just how exposed the Cubs were in center field to start the season once they sent both Velazquez and Christopher Morel to Triple-A Iowa, while also not carrying Mike Tauchman or Ben DeLuzio.
  • As for Bellinger, you hope he takes all the time he and his family need, whenever that time arises. He’s been getting into a nice groove, and you’d love to see him be able to have a nice welcome in his return to Dodger Stadium tonight.
  • Speaking of reunions tonight, you’ve got Suzuki likely finally returning for the Cubs in right field, while they meet an old right field friend in his new home. Jason Heyward has been doing well overall for the Dodgers so far, albeit in a bench role and with some funky numbers: .222/.286/.722/147 wRC+; he has three homers and one single, and no other hits. I wish him nothing but continued success with the Dodgers, but of COURSE I hope Cubs pitchers own him this weekend if and when he gets at bats.
  • And speaking about all this stuff, including the reunions: when Suzuki returns, will Edwin Rios be the odd man out? If so, he doesn’t get his reunion this weekend in LA. I think the Cubs want that lefty pop available off the bench, but if they are going to lose Bellinger for a few games, they might also want to have an extra can-play-outfield-a-bit guy (Mastrobuoni) available. I doubt Nick Madrigal is getting bumped right now. So it might come down to Rios or the Cubs deciding to let third catcher Luis Torrens go (he has no minor league options, so if he gets bumped, he’s probably gone-gone).
  • It’s too early to draw any conclusions, but the Cubs’ bullpen has still been both really good and really not: their 28.3% strikeout rate trails only the Yankees and Guardians in all of baseball, and their 8.7% walk rate is top-10. Their home run rate is middle-of-the-pack. Those three things would lead you to believe they’ve been very successful. But their ERA is merely average thanks to their high barrel rate (which comes DESPITE the fact that their average exit velocity against is one of the lowest in baseball – they’re not giving up a ton of hard contact, it’s just that when they do, it’s really GOOD hard contact and does a lot of damage).
  • Speaking of the bullpen, really the only guys who had rough peripherals and rough results have been Julian Merryweather and Javier Assad, the latter of whom has been sent to Iowa to resume starting. Merryweather might not have too much more runway with which to show he can turn that good stuff in the good results.
  • For today, though, the Cubs will presumably be bringing up a reliever to get back to eight in the pen. Brandon Hughes threw successfully again yesterday for Iowa, but I’m not sure the Cubs would bring him up right away to do a back-to-back. The only other true reliever on the 40-man right now who could come up is Jeremiah Estrada. So either it’ll be him, or the Cubs will add someone to the 40-man today. (Well, or the Cubs go short-handed one more day since they had yesterday off.)
  • I wrote yesterday about how Christopher Morel has been tearing it up his first ten games at Iowa this year. Make it 11
  • The Iowa Cubs moved to 8-3 after that game, and they are just so stacked for a Triple-A team. They figure to get even more talent soon with Assad back in the rotation, with Hughes swapping somebody out, and with Seiya Suzuki bumping someone MLB-capable back to Iowa. Just about the only guy on the team off to a slow start offensively is Brennen Davis, and in the rotation it’s just Adrian Sampson (and Caleb Kilian, too, actually).
  • Owen Caissie, who hit three homers the night before, tripled and homered last night:
  • Caissie, a 20-year-old at Double-A, has his VERY early-season slash line up to .333/.360/.958/237 wRC+ … with a 56.0% K rate. lol. He has either struck out or blasted the ball in basically all 25 of his PAs so far.
  • How did Jordan Nwogu get his hands in enough to barrel this ball and hit it that far:
  • Dansby Swanson basically says Wrigley Field is the best place on earth. New guy gets it:
  • I think Michael’s take is the right take about the takes, regardless of the takes:
  • More on the Happ extension and the implications here from our latest episode:
  • Shot in the dark, but for anyone who can help:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.