More moving pitchers, plus Hoyer unfiltered
The Cubs today added relievers Matt Guerrier and Pedro Strop to the roster today. They optioned lefty Chris Rusin back to Class AAA Iowa after Rusin started Tuesday night’s series opener at Oakland. They also designated reliever Shawn Camp for assignment. The Cubs will finish up at Oakland Thursday and come home for three with the Pirates over the weekend.
They’ll need a starter for Sunday’s game, but word out of Oakland is that it won’t be Carlos Villanueva, who has just begun to get stretched out to start. Nor, apparently, will it be Jake Arrieta, acquired Tuesday in the trade that sent Scott Feldman to Baltimore. Strop also came in that deal.
Rusin also would be ineligible to come back from Iowa unless there was an injury on the 25-man roster. The Cubs could bring lefty Brooks Raley up from Iowa to start, or they could dip into Class AA Tennessee and bring up Kyle Hendricks, who is 8-2 with a 2.06 ERA and a tidy WHIP of 1.12. Hendricks came from Texas last year in the trade that sent Ryan Dempster to the Rangers.
In last night’s 4-3, 13-inning victory over Montgomery, Hendricks worked 5 shutout innings, giving up 6 hits while walking none and striking out five.
Of course, the roster could look much different again over the next few days. Matt Garza starts tonight against the A’s, and it could be his last start for the Cubs. The number of scouts at Garza starts continues to grow, and tonight should be no exception.
The DFA of Camp comes as no surprise. After working in 80 games last year and doing admirable work, he lost a good deal of velocity this season, and the numbers showed it: 1-1 record with a 7.04 ERA and a feverish WHIP of 1.87. The Cubs have 10 days to trade or release Camp, whom they signed during spring training 2012.
We spent a good deal of time talking with GM Jed Hoyer yesterday about the trade of Feldman for Arrieta, Strop and the two international signing-bonus slots. As we do on the blog now and then, we’ll let Jed go unfiltered here for his take on the two pitchers the Cubs got.
“Both guys have very big arms,” Jed said. “When you look at Arrieta, he’s a guy who struggled recently in the big leagues, but we see a lot of potential in him. We’ve had some luck with guys like Travis Wood, who was coming off a little bit of a down year. Feldman was coming off a little bit of a down year. With Arietta, getting him out of the American League East and getting him into our environment, we’re hopeful it will help him turn the corner. He as the opening-day starter for the Orioles in 2012, and we hope to get him back to that level of performance.
“Pedro Strop had a terrific year last year in relief in one of the best bullpens in the game. He’s fallen on some hard times this year and struggled. Hopefully, he’ll get back to last year’s level of performance.
“The chance to add some power arms was very important to us, and we’re very excited to have both guys.”
Hoyer actually downplayed the significance of getting the signing-bonus money to acquiring Arrieta and Strop. We’ll get into that more in our “take” for tomorrow’s paper.
On whether the Cubs’ three trades would open the floodgates, Hoyer addressed that and whether the tight division races favor teams that are sellers, such as the Cubs.
“I think in general, the fact that you’ve got some tight races in the American League East and the National League West, I think will lend itself to deals,” Jed said. “You’ve got some divisions, the AL Central in particular and the AL West where the difference between winning your division and not winning it is the difference between having a five-game playoff series and a one-game playoff game. That’s a pretty significant difference. I think there will be some jockeying.”
“If you have a chance to win the division in the new (wild-card) system, you’ve got to be aggressive and do that.
“I think the fact that the races are kind of jumbled up, I think that always favors sellers.”