The Cubs have optioned C Welington Castillo to Iowa, and recalled P Scott Maine from Iowa
The Cubs talked about the possibility of carrying three catchers after Geovany Soto returned from the disabled list, but evidently realized that the idea made no sense at all and decided against it. Castillo has struggled at the plate this season, but he’s only had 37 PA so that’s hardly determinative. In the meantime, he looked pretty good defensively, and generally speaking I’d like to see more of him this season.
That he’s being sent down to Iowa actually demonstrates to me that the Cubs hold him in higher regard than they do Steve Clevenger, because Castillo will get regular playing time for the I-Cubs instead of sitting on the bench at the major league level. That was the rationale used when Castillo was sent to Iowa to start the season, and Clevenger is probably a little more advanced as a hitter right now anyway. It makes sense enough, or at least, it makes more sense than keeping all three catchers on the major league roster.
Maine returns for his third major league stint of the season. When last we saw him, he was having a tough time both for Chicago and for Iowa, but he seems to have settled down since his last demotion. He’s only allowed one run in his last 10 appearances (11.1 IP), while striking out 11 and walking 5. I wish the Cubs would be more patient with him, and give him a more prominent role in the bullpen. I mean, why not? The bullpen has been in shambles all season, what is there to lose? His minor league numbers indicate that he has good stuff – including this season, he’s struck out 10.3 batters per nine innings during his minor league career – or, at least, good enough to deserve more of a shot. If it turns out he can’t cut it at the big league level, so it goes, but how much worse than the status quo can he really be? There’s not a Cubs fan alive who doesn’t shudder when the starting pitcher comes out of the game; Maine’s earned an extended look.