Chicago Cubs: Travis Wood to the pen adds options
The Chicago Cubs have been dealing with an inconsistent bullpen for the last few weeks. Now with the demotion of Travis Wood, the Cubs have a new arm to lean on in the bullpen. Wood has seen very limited work in the pen before this season’s appearance; he has five career relief outings in which he faced 22 batters and allowed only one hit.
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But I wonder if this move has something more behind it than just having a new relief option and possibly a better option in Tsuyoshi Wada starting.
Travis Wood has been used many times as a pinch hitter and a pinch runner for the Cubs when the bench has been used up or the manager’s have wanted to keep their bench players open for different roles in the game. It has been said many times by Cubs broadcasters Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies of how good of an athlete Wood is and if necessary Wood would be used as an outfielder.
Wood is a good enough hitter that can’t be overlooked by pitchers as an easy out. While his career numbers of .184 batting average, nine homers, and 30 RBI may not strike fear into pitchers, but that is in limited opportunities. Last year he did hit .232 with three home runs while driving in 10 runners for the Cubs.
With Cubs manager Joe Maddon, you cannot dismiss any option or strategy that he could use to the teams advantage. So with the limited bench due to carrying three catchers right now – could this be a move that also utilizes all the strengths of all the players available to him?
Crazier things have happened, and this is Joe Maddon we are talking about so there could be a chance to see it happen.
Granted it’s not an ideal situation, but considering the limited options that are available right now with the extra catcher, the injuries they are dealing with, and the ineffectiveness of the bullpen, it may be the only option available to the Cubs that will work on every aspect of the game.