The Chicago Cubs are preparing to make some major changes to their pitching staff. Changes were expected as the Cubs are moving Carlos Zambrano back into the rotation, meaning a current starter would have to be dropped from the rotation. And, according to Bruce Levine that is not the only change that will happen in the Cubs bullpen.
First, with the obvious, and that is that with Carlos Zambrano returning to the Cubs rotation, it is expected that the Cubs will move Tom Gorzelanny to the bullpen as a long reliever. To be honest, I think this could be a precursor to a possible trade involving Gorzelanny, as he made it clear that he would not be too excited about moving to the Bullpen. And, if that is the case, then I’m sure the Cubs will soon make him available, as that might be the best situation for both sides.
With Zambrano moving out of set-up role in the Cubs bullpen, that opens up a spot for a new reliever to come in and audition as the eighth inning guy, and that guy will be Cubs top pitching prospect Andrew Cashner. It is expected that the Cubs will call up Cashner on Monday, and he will be available for the Pittsburgh series. Cashner, features a 95-97 MPH fastball, and was drafted by the Cubs with their first selection in the 2008 draft.
Given the fact that Tom Gorzelanny is a left hander, I would expect that James Russell is sent down to make room for Cashner. Although Russell has not done a bad job for the Cubs, it comes down to a numbers game, and the fact that he would be one of 5 left handers in the bullpen with Gorzelanny in it, leaves him as the odd man out.
One of the more interesting tidbits to come out of the report, was the fact that Levine said that at times it appeared that the Toronto Blue Jays were going to trade reliever Jason Frasor to the Cubs, but since then things have died down given that the Blue Jays are still in contention in the AL East.