Chicago Cubs make unexpected roster move by releasing reliever Rex Brothers
The Chicago Cubs made an unexpected roster move yesterday by releasing a reliever that was expected to compete for the last spot in the Cubs bullpen.
In a somewhat surprising move, the Chicago Cubs released LHP Rex Brothers yesterday, per a tweet by Carrie Muskat. Brothers came over to the Cubs in an offseason trade with the Colorado Rockies, which saw the Rockies get minor league pitcher Wander Cabrera in return.
Brothers, 28, was a promising young reliever with the Rockies having pitched three great seasons out of their bullpen, including 19 saves in 2013. He then had a really rough 2014 before spending the majority of the 2015 season in the minors.
The Cubs then traded for him, and he was set to make $1.42 million as an arbitration-eligible player. The Cubs were hoping he would return to form this year, as command issues were a big part of his struggles in 2014 and 2015.
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Brothers pitched 2 2/3 innings this spring and did not have very much success in those three outings. In his second outing, Brothers allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning but was terribly wild throwing four wild pitches in the inning.
A few days later, Brothers allowed another run against Cleveland and walked two in that inning of work, as well as throwing six straight balls to start the inning.
"“We didn’t see him fitting in right now and we thought it would be most fair to him to get him out there earlier, which would permit him to work out the best deal for him and his family moving forward,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “We’re just being proactive with that. He struggled with command.” – Maddon via Carrie Muskat"
Clearly, the Cubs were not impressed with his outings and must have saw that his command issues were still going to be a problem for him. By releasing him, the Cubs only have to pay him a termination fee, which is roughly $230,000 and saves $1.2 million. This opens a spot on the 40 man roster, which currently stands at 39.
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This move also makes RHP Neil Ramirez as the leading candidate to round out the last bullpen spot. Seeing as that Ramirez is out of options, he is the most likely to make the roster since the Cubs don’t want to risk losing him to waivers. He will have some competition as the spring progresses, though.
The Cubs spring training roster now stands at 62, and the first round of cuts should probably come this upcoming week.