Scott Eyre was activated from the DL today, which was a very important move because the Cubs desperately needed another bullpen lefty. So far all they’ve had out of the ‘pen was Sean Marshall, who used to be a starter and is much better suited to long closing roles than the “face one batter and you’re out” typically reserved for the lefties. As an added bonus, Scott Eyre can be one of the better left-handed relievers in the game, as evidence by his spotless second half 0.81 ERA (however, his final ERA was 4.13, so that should tell you something about his first half struggles). Eyre is one of my favorite players, so I love that he’s back. But there’s one thing about his return which completely baffles me.
Their response for finally getting a second lefty in the ‘pen is to send the first one down.
Marshall has played well this season. Not sparkling, but well. And they really need a long-reliever and a second left hander in that bullpen.
Now, maybe there is a method to their madness. Rich Hill was sent back to the minors because his pitching has so far taken the year off, and John Leiber got knocked around the park in his only substitute start to the tune of four home runs (in the second inning. Not by the second inning; in the second inning.) Leiber had done well out of the bullpen when they needed two or three innings to eat up, so I could definitely understand putting him back in the ‘pen and sending Marshall down to get his arm ready to start again. That would make sense.
Even so, the Cubs’ handling of the major league roster has been questionable, at best. They have an overcrowded outfield that includes Felix Pie, a guy who couldn’t hit a major league pitch with a cricket bat, while Reed Johnson and Ronny Cedeno chew sunflower seeds on the bench and career .295 hitter (and that’s in the big league, folks) Matt Murton shags fly balls in Iowa. There’s an obvious player to send back to the cornfields, but “Marshall” isn’t on the back of his jersey. Daryl Ward, who’s supposed to be their big bat coming of the bench, is hitting a measly .136, and the very few times he does get on base they have to waste another bench player to go run for him. So you have a player who can’t hit, another player who can’t hit, run, or field, and you’re sending one of your two lefty relievers down and keeping a solid hitter with decent speed in Iowa to rot.
As Bob Brenly would say, “Where’s the justice?”