Chicago Cubs News

Chicago Cubs: Tsuyoshi Wada confirmed as Wood’s replacement

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Wada to start in San Diego on Wednesday

As expected following the announcement of

Travis Wood

‘s move to the bullpen, the

Chicago Cubs confirmed

that

Tsuyoshi Wada

will return and take the place of Wood in the rotation. No corresponding move has been announced yet, and likely won’t until at least tomorrow. Wada is right on schedule from his last rehab start in Iowa.

After a strong start to the season, Wood has struggled in the month of May and is 2-2 with a 5.45 ERA. overall this season. Skipper Joe Maddon did admit that he had conversations with Wood that he could be moved back to the rotation, but for now his place will be in the bullpen. Generally teams carry one, no more than two lefty relievers as they tend to be “specialists”. But Maddon doesn’t tend to operate in that fashion, and Wood is more than capable of getting hitters out from either side of the plate.

For Wada, he gets an opportunity to build on a strong 2014 with the Cubs in which he went 4-4 with a 3.25 ERA in 14 starts. He was expected to compete with Wood for the final spot, but the groin strain kept him from having that opportunity. Now Wada will get his chance, and it could work perfectly for the Cubs.

While Wood has struggled as a starter the past season plus this first month and a half, I believe he can be VERY valuable in the pen. Many wrote off Edwin Jackson, and while he hasn’t pitched in tight, high-leverage games, he’s been very effective. Wood can do the same and give the Cubs some stability in the bullpen that they desperately need.

If Wada struggles in the rotation, it’s possible you could see he and Wood switch again down the road. One thing of note that may seem minute but could prove “costly” is losing Wood as a “bench” player. He has pinch-run and pinch-hit on several occasions, and that ability is likely to be lost–at least for the most part–as he moves to the bullpen.

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Every season the rotation goes through this type of metamorphosis, and this season is no different. I recently had written that Wood and Kyle Hendricks had time to get things together, but it was running short on them. Well, that happened a bit faster than I thought, although I didn’t necessarily think of it working out as a swap as much as a worst-case scenario for Wood.

So now all eyes will turn to Hendricks, as he will need to improve over the coming weeks in order to solidify his spot in the rotation. When you’re trying to become a consistent winner, there will be casualties. Favorite players, underachievers–things change. I still miss Darwin Barney, but his exit allowed for the arrival of Javier Baez, and then Addison Russell. Wouldn’t trade that for anything.

It all happens for a reason.

#LetsGo

Next: West Coast trip should be a good test for young Cubs

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