Could bullpen changes spell the end for Motte?
With the Chicago Cubs bullpen being one of the worst in the league with their -0.6 combined WAR, moves have already been made and more are likely to come in an effort to improve relief pitching. Have we seen the last of the “trimming” for a while, or is another on the horizon?
Phil Coke was designated for assignment Monday after posting a 6.30 ERA in 16 games. On Tuesday, the Cubs traded Welington Castillo to the Seattle Mariners for reliever Yoervis Medina who was sent to Triple-A. He is expected to pitch in Chicago sometime this season.
The Cubs still have work to do to have an above average bullpen and more moves are to come. The likely next man to go could be Jason Motte. The 32-year-old veteran has a 5.28 ERA in 18 games with a 1.435 WHIP. Motte missed the entire 2013 after having Tommy John surgery. He came back last season and struggled in both a physical and baseball sense. He had nagging back injuries and a 4.68 ERA and was not re-signed by the Cardinals, prompting the Cubs to take a chance on him.
Through nearly two months of the season, Motte’s future on the Cubs is looking more and more bleak. In the last five games he has appeared in, he has pitched 2 2/3 innings and given up four runs.
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A lot of what happens with Motte will come down to the rest of the bullpen. The Cubs’ go-to reliever Neil Ramirez went down with an injury about a month ago, and there is no return date for him. New acquisition Medina could be in the majors sooner rather than later, meaning a spot in the bullpen would have to open up for him.
The Cubs already showed with Coke that they’ll let a player go if he’s not playing up to par, and if he doesn’t improve, Jason Motte will be next.