Chicago Cubs News

Chicago Cubs: Grimm optioned to Triple-A to make room for Butler

Apr 16, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Justin Grimm (52) reacts to giving up a three run home run to Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Adam Frazier (not pictured) during the ninth inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 16, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Justin Grimm (52) reacts to giving up a three run home run to Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Adam Frazier (not pictured) during the ninth inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Cubs made a few curious roster moves in order to make room for Eddie Butler. With Felix Pena and Jeimer Candelario still on the roster, the Cubs decided to option Justin Grimm to Iowa.

It’s been an unusual journey as of late for the Chicago Cubs‘ Justin Grimm. His struggles led to him being sent to Triple-A Iowa. When Brett Anderson went on the DL with a bad back, Grimm was called right back up within a few days. With the Cubs making the decision to start Eddie Butler on Friday, it seemed apparent. Felix Pena or Jeimer Candelario would be sent down. How wrong we were.

In what most would call a surprise, it was Grimm that was once again optioned to Iowa. Not because of the numbers he’s posted (7.53 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 14 1/3 IP) but because of the other options available. With Pena and Candelario–who was called up for the doubleheader–it made sense that one of them would be sent down. But it was instead Grimm, although this makes sense.

The Candy man stays

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With Jason Heyward on the DL, keeping Candelario on the roster will work for the time being. The versatility of this team allows Joe Maddon to move guys around–and get Candelario at-bats. Plus the Cubs have had several players over the past two seasons (Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras and Albert Almora) contribute in the second half of a season. It’s a little early, but the Cubs need that spark. Maye Candelario can be it.

For Grimm, it’s been a continuation of his struggles going back to last season. If his path seems familiar, you probably remember Neil Ramirez well. While Ramirez had his breakout season in his first year with the Cubs, Grimm’s was in his second year with them. Ramirez was out of options coming out of Spring Training, but the Cubs kept him on the roster. His performance led to his release, and he’s never been the same pitcher again. Is Grimm following that path?

Two talented pitchers, same outcome?

Both were talented pitchers that have swing and miss stuff. In 2015, Grimm posted a 1.99 ERA in 49 2/3 IP, striking out 12.1 per/9 innings. Last season he still struck out hitters at an 11.1 K/9 but posted a 4.10 ERA. His downfall? The long ball. He allowed just four in 2015 and 5 last season. He’s already given up six in just 14 1/3 innings.

When Grimm was sent down, I expected him to get some time in Iowa to work on mechanics and his delivery. It’s very well something he can rectify, but not in Chicago. There’s still time for Grimm to get it together, but it needs to happen now and not later. He’s been the weak link in the bullpen this year. With the struggles of the starters, the pen needs to be on point–and he’s been anything but that.

Next: Butler to make first start on Friday

Candelario will in all likelihood remain on the roster until Heyward returns. Pena (5 IP, 2 ER, 4 K’s) has a small sample size but apparently has impressed enough to stay over Grimm. He’ll have some time to work with Chris Bosio while Grimm gets his work in down in Iowa. It might be the best solution for everyone involved.

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