Add another name to the mix of guys reporting to Cubs camp this weekend. After several non-roster invitees joined the big league workouts in recent days and veteran Pedro Strop made his return, left-hander Kyle Ryan is set to hit the field now, as well.
Ryan, who had been placed under COVID-19 protocols, is looking to bounce back from what wound up being a lost 2020 season. He made just 18 appearances, struggling to a 5.17 ERA, 7.08 FIP and 1.404 WHIP across 15 2/3 innings of work. That came on the heels of a pretty respectable showing the year prior, so it’ll be interesting to see what 2021 brings.
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The former 12th-round pick of the Detroit Tigers has some stiff competition in camp. Andrew Chafin looks like the likely go-to lefty out of the pen this year. Brad Wieck, who, like Ryan, was essentially a non-factor in 2020, hopes to factor into the mix, as do Rex Brothers, Adam Morgan and Justin Steele.
In other words, it’s a long shot Ryan makes the Opening Day roster as things stand. He’ll have to have a strong showing this spring if that’s to be the case.
Cubs are going with quantity over quality
The Chicago bullpen picture is, well, fairly unclear. Similar to last season, the front office assembled a group with a lot of moving parts in hopes it can piece together a workable mix of arms – while also maintaining what’s expected to be badly-needed depth at the Triple-A level.
The same approach was taken with the pitching staff. A lot of ‘hope this works’ moves, including a reunion with a Jake Arrieta who was injured an ineffective the last three years, and buy-low signings of Shelby Miller and Trevor Miller.
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If nothing else, this approach, like I said, should give Chicago plenty of depth. With teams and pitchers re-adjusting to a 162-game schedule, it’ll be all hands on deck. Hopefully, Ryan can hit the ground running at camp and factor into a bullpen picture that’s still very much taking shape with just days until the first spring training games kick off.