Pitchers meetings for the Chicago Cubs at Spring Training has to feel like a party. The team signed Xavier Cedeno, the 42nd pitcher added to camp. Can I get a name tag, please?
When the Chicago Cubs Theo Epstein said they might be able to fit in another signing in before Spring Training games got underway, he wasn’t kidding. The Cubs added 32-year old Xavier Cedeno, who spent last year with both the Chicago White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers. His addition makes him the 42nd pitcher in Cubs camp.
Cedeno has taken the place of Kendall Graveman on the 40-man roster as he was recently put on the 60-day injured list. This was an expected move as Graveman is still undergoing rehab after having Tommy John surgery in late-July. Cedeno is an intriguing addition on several levels.
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The eight-year veteran carries a career 3.69 ERA, all out of the bullpen. Last season he split time with the White Sox and Brewers, tallying a 2.43 in 33 1/3 innings. His strikeouts per nine were 9.2, just above his career total at 8.9. These aren’t quite Justin Wilson numbers, but very close for a left-hander.
Wilson started his Cubs career a little shaky but became very reliable last season when the Cubs needed him. Now that he’s moved on to the New York Mets, the Cubs will need to find a solid left-handed reliever, LOOGY or not.
Mike Montgomery is likely to be the spot starter/long relief guy. Brian Duensing was nothing like his 2017 self, but if he can find that again, he could also fill this role. But more lefties in the bullpen is better. Randy Rosario filled in well last season, and his overall numbers were good. But a deeper look at the metrics starts to show some cracks. In his defense, it was his first full season in the bigs.
If Cedeno can carry over his success from last season, he could be a missing link for the bullpen. Having a reliever similar to Wilson that has a solid strikeout per nine could help level things out in the pen. Duensing would fit better if he can face multiple batters from both sides, ala Travis Wood.
The battle in the bullpen has only gotten more interesting with another addition. And the front office might not be done as teams make their mandatory cuts throughout Spring Training.