The Cubs have recalled P Jaye Chapman, P Rafael Dolis, C Anthony Recker and P Chris Rusin from Tennessee
Not content to hit the 50 player mark this season, the Cubs have decided to blow past it, and recall the 51st and 52nd players for the year.
Rusin started tonight and got bombed by the Nationals, and he was expected back when rosters expanded again to take a spot in the rotation after Brooks Raley was shut down for the season. He’s nearing the same 150-inning mark that Raley hit, although Rusin is almost 2 years older. Still, his previous career high in IP before this season was 138.2, so like Raley he’s looking at a pretty solid bump this season. Unless, of course, he only pitches an inning at a time like he did tonight.
Dolis is a familiar face as well, and he also got bombed in Washington tonight, giving up 3 runs in an inning in relief. I still don’t think he’s very good.
Chapman was acquired in the Paul Maholm deal with the Braves, and he’s struggled with Iowa since the Cubs got him. He’s walked 7 batters in 9.1 IP, although two of those were intentional, and allowed 8 runs. He pitched an inning in tonight’s game also, and held the Nats scoreless on a walk and a strikeout. He remains a guy who walks too many hitters and strikes out a good many, too.
Recker was acquired in the Blake Lalli trade, and didn’t get much work in with Iowa. He’ll probably not get much playing time with the Cubs, but I still think that he’s a pretty decent third catcher, and frankly he might be better than Steve Clevenger given Clevenger’s defensive mediocrity (although I don’t really know how good Recker’s defense is). In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Recker was the primary backup next year; after Clevenger’s hot start early in the season, he just hasn’t been very good.
There’s not much to add since Socolovich was claimed off waivers last week. Since then, he’s made 3 appearances for Iowa, allowing 3 runs, while allowing 3 hits, walking none and striking out 5.
When he appears in a game for the Cubs, he’ll be the 50th player they’ve used this year. It’s the first time they’ve used that many players since they used 51 in 1999.
The Cubs have optioned P Brooks Raley to Iowa, and recalled P Jeff Beliveau, OF Tony Campana, INF Adrian Cardenas and OF Dave Sappelt from Iowa
Lots of moves over the past couple of days, but nothing all that substantial.
Raley has been shut down for the year after reaching 155 innings pitched on the season between AA, AAA and the majors. His previous career high was 136.1, reached in both 2010 and 2011, and he’s only 24 years old. It’s not clear to me how the front office arrived at the 150 innings benchmark, and what other pitchers might be shut down from here on out, but the bottom line is that it’s not really a very consequential move. Raley’s gone from AA to the majors this year, but to me he doesn’t look like a very good pitcher. He figures to get a chance to make the rotation in spring training next year, but he’ll probably be competing with a bunch of guys who are as good as he is.
As for the others, Beliveau, Campana and Cardenas have of course all had stints on the active roster this year, and I will again say that Beliveau deserves a more serious look in the bullpen. It’s fun to see Campana back, because if nothing else he figures to get a pinch-running appearance in just about every game now that rosters have expanded. It’s tough to devote a roster spot for that sort of thing in the National League, but with a bigger roster that’s no longer a concern. It’s not clear when and where Cardenas will get playing time, just as it wasn’t earlier in the season.
The new face is Sappelt, who was acquired in the Sean Marshall/Travis Wood trade, and who I thought would be a reserve outfielder out of spring training. But he had a bad spring, and continued right on being bad all through the season, posting a career worst 690 OPS for Iowa. Up until this season, he had been a pretty good hitter in the minors, with a good average, decent patience, and moderate power; in 2010 he put up a 902 OPS between three levels, and he followed that up with a 834 in AAA last season. It’s hard to say where he’ll find playing time, also, but he’s been bad enough that he could be non-tendered this offseason.
Can someone please tell me what the point of putting Alex Hinshaw on the roster was? He was only here for a week, and only appeared in 2 games. He was predictably and laughably ineffective, and now he leaves the team with a 135.00 ERA and an 81.00 HR/9 ratio.
Now, those numbers are obviously the result of a small sample size, but that just raises the question once again of what the point was. Why bring him in if he’s going to be cut after two bad outings? What did those two games tell the front office that they didn’t already know from spending 5 minutes looking at his minor league stats? Were they somehow surprised that Hinshaw wasn’t very good?
I guess this wouldn’t bug me if two other, better pitchers hadn’t been cleared out to make way for the guy. Jeff Beliveau and Scott Maine are, like Hinshaw, high-K lefty relievers, and the former was optioned to AAA and the latter has been DFA’d himself so that Hinshaw could spend his pointless one week on the team. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter, but this entire sequence of events has been baffling.
EDIT 9/1/2012: Hinshaw has been outrighted to Iowa.
Rusin pitched reasonably well in his debut, and the team says that he’ll be back after rosters expand. In the meantime, Raley was needed to make another start, and pitched OK yesterday against the Rockies. So far, Raley’s been just adequate enough to deserve another look. I don’t think he’s much of a prospect in the long term, but he looks like he has a decent assortment of offspeed pitches. He’s walked too many hitters since being promoted for a guy with his lack of raw stuff (9 in 20.1 IP), but if he could improve his control at the major league level, he might be a candidate for a rotation spot next season.
At the same time, though, the Cubs figure to have a lot of candidates for the back end of the rotation next spring, including Rusin, so Raley has his work cut out for him.
Lalli is still officially listed by the Cubs as a catcher, but since returning to Iowa in late May, he’s actually played at first base more than behind the plate. As I’ve noted before, he hasn’t really been a full-time catcher in the majors, and now even with Geovany Soto gone, both Juan Apodaca and Brian Esposito have apparently moved past Lalli on the organizational depth chart.
Unfortunately for Lalli, he can’t hit enough to play first base, so his time with the Cubs is most likely at an end. I’ll be surprised if he isn’t given his release now, or at the very least I doubt he’ll still be in the organization next season. But at least he got to play in the major leagues this season. It was unlikely heading into the season that he’d ever get that chance, but thanks to an improbable sequence of injuries he got his call-up. It only lasted a short while, but at least he made it.
EDIT 8/26/12: Lalli has been outrighted to Iowa, who have a little over a week left in their season.
The Cubs have optioned P Jeff Beliveau and INF Adrian Cardenas to Iowa, and selected the contract of P Chris Rusin from Iowa
It’s hard to know what to make of Rusin (25 years old, LHP). He was drafted by the Cubs in the 4th round of the 2009 draft out of the University of Kentucky and steadily climbed up the minor league ladder. He always performed well enough to deserve promotion, but at the same time, never really stood out, being a pitcher with solid control but who would also get knocked around from time to time. Despite his promotion to the majors this season, though, he seems to have taken a step back in his development. Here are his overall minor league numbers, including this season:
84 G (78 GS), 418.0 IP, 3.85 ERA, 36 HR, 9.2 H/9, 2.4 BB/9, 6.7 K/9
But here are his numbers for this season with Iowa:
24 G (all starts), 133.1 IP, 4.59 ERA, 16 HR, 9.6 H/9, 3.5 BB/9, 5.9 K/9
You see what I mean? He’s been hit pretty hard, and his control has been substantially worse than it’s ever been in his career. He showed some of that last night, walking 2 and hitting 2 more batters, although on the whole he acquitted himself pretty well.
The Cubs are very bad and this is the time of year for a bad team to audition guys like Rusin, so I’m happy to see him get a shot. He might even be a rotation candidate next season, as his past minor league career fits the bill for a potential back-of-the-rotation kind of guy. But he’ll need to stop walking (or hitting) so many batters.
As for the demotions, I think Cardenas was an easy call to make. I have no idea what his role on this team was supposed to be, and apparently no one else did either, because he’s gotten only 10 plate appearances (and one start) since being recalled over three weeks ago. And he probably wouldn’t have even gotten those if the team had not had a doubleheader this past weekend, during which Cardenas got a start in the second game. He was a backup infielder on a team that already has a lot of roster flexibility, and his main competition for playing time (Luis Valbuena) is also lefthanded, meaning that Cardenas doesn’t even have a viable platoon role.
On the other hand, I don’t understand why Beliveau is being demoted to make room for Alex Hinshaw. Beliveau hasn’t exactly been good – a 5.8 BB/9 rate won’t win a guy any favors in this organization – but it’s not like Hinshaw provides a reasonable alternative along those lines, with a 6.8 BB/9 rate over 73.2 major league IP over his career. Plus, Hinshaw is 4 years older, and lefthanded like Beliveau. I’d much rather the team give a guy like Beliveau a chance to establish himself than waste time with a walk machine like Hinshaw. Beliveau has both a better walk rate and a better strikeout rate than Hinshaw in the minors – and for what it’s worth (probably not much), an ERA a full run lower – so I have no idea what advantage Hinshaw is supposed to have.
As expected, Raley heads back to Iowa after his spot start yesterday. The team is saying that he’ll be back next weekend, though, since as of now there are only four starting pitchers on the staff.
As expected, Raley was called up today in order to start the second game of the doubleheader against the Reds, the beneficiary of a new rule that allows a team to have a 26-man roster for doubleheaders. I didn’t get to see the game, but it appears that he pitched reasonably well for what was essentially a glorified spot start, allowing 4 runs against a very fine offense in 5.1 IP.
But I doubt it was good enough to justify a spot another start just yet. I assume that it’s his fate to be sent back to Iowa once again, until active rosters expand on September 1 or he’s needed due to injury.
The Cubs have optioned P Brooks Raley to Iowa, and selected the contract of P Michael Bowden from Iowa
Since being demoted back in early June, Bowden has been not altogether awful in Iowa:
23 G (all in relief), 32.2 IP, 2.76 ERA, 2 HR, 5.2 H/9, 4.7 BB/9, 9.6 K/9
To me, that still looks like a guy who is going to struggle in the majors. That 5.2 H/9 will emphatically not hold up, and he’s walking too many batters, especially given his career 3.1 BB/9 ratio over 357.1 IP in AAA. On the plus side, only giving up 2 homers is nice.
At any rate, since Dale Sveum doesn’t seem to trust anyone in the bullpen except for James Russell and Shawn Camp, both of whom have been overworked this season and have been struggling lately, it’s no surprise that the Cubs are looking for bullpen help. Bowden was bad for the Cubs earlier this year, but I thought he was worth a longer look when they sent him back down, and I still think he’s worth a longer look now. Whether or not he actually gets into games is yet to be determined.
Raley had one bad start and one OK start, but it looks like he’ll be back this weekend, when the Cubs are expected to expand their roster for one player during Saturday’s doubleheader. So at this point, his demotion looks more like roster trickery than an actual demotion, if you know what I mean.