The Chicago Cubs have made a pair of roster moves ahead of tonight’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, as the front office shapes the roster for the home stretch of the season.
Like in recent years, the Chicago Cubs sprung early during the trade deadline period acquiring lefty Mike Montgomery and minor leaguer Jordan Pries from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for first baseman Dan Vogelbach and right-hander Paul Blackburn.
Today, the Cubs officially added Mike Montgomery to the active roster. In order to make room for him in the bullpen, righty Spencer Patton has been sent back to Triple-A Iowa.
Montgomery will be a welcome addition to the Cubs bullpen. Drafted by the Royals in the first round of the 2008 draft, Montgomery, 27, broke into the big leagues last year with the Seattle Mariners. Montgomery, a former Top 30 prospect spent the majority of his career as a starter and went 4-6 with a 4.60 ERA in 16 starts with the Mariners last year.
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This year, Montgomery has worked primarily out of the bullpen for the Mariners and has excelled in that role. As a reliever, this season, Montgomery is 2-3 with a 2.15 ERA in 50 1/3 innings pitched. Montgomery has made two spot starts for the Mariners this year as well. Montgomery will slot into the bullpen for the Cubs.
Another thing that makes Montgomery so attractive for the Cubs is the five plus years of control the Cubs will have on him. Montgomery is not arbitration eligible until 2018 and won’t become a free agent until 2022. Since moving to the bullpen, Montgomery’s velocity has also increased by four mph, and it appears, at this stage in his early career, that he’s best suited out of the bullpen.
Epstein, however, did mention that Montgomery could start for the Cubs down the road. With some rotation decisions looming after 2017, Montgomery could fill the role if the Cubs decide to go that route.
Patton, 28, was acquired by the Cubs from Texas for Frandy DeLaRosa in November. Patton had an excellent spring and had success with Triple-A Iowa, as he had a 1.04 ERA in 26 innings pitched including eight saves and 42 strikeouts.
Unfortunately, Patton’s time in the big leagues wasn’t so rosy. In nine appearances and 12 1/3 innings pitched, Patton was 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA. He walked seven and only struck out 12. There’s no doubt that Patton will likely be back if their’s an injury in the bullpen or during September call-ups, but for right now, he will continue to get more work in at Iowa.
Fowler has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since mid-June and his bat was sorely missed, as the Cubs went on a dreadful slump and averaged only 4.7 runs per game without him. They were averaging 5.4 runs per game with Fowler in the lineup.
Fowler, named to his first All-Star Team this summer was slashing .290/.398/.483 in 64 games before hitting the disabled list. Fowler has eight home runs and 29 RBI and the Cubs are happy to have him back in the lineup after smashing a leadoff home run in Milwaukee.
Almora, 22, made his big league debut on June 7th this season and has done a nice job since being called up. In 34 games, Almora has slashed .265/.291/.422 with two home runs and nine RBI. He has also been great defensively in the outfield for the Cubs. Almora will be a September call-up if he’s not already with the club before hand.