Among a plethora of moves made at last Friday’s trade deadline, the Chicago Cubs are left without almost any integral parts from their 2016 core. Not only that, they are left with a lack of veterans, all in the name of a rebuild (and looking toward a brighter future). One of the moves that the Cubs made sent All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel to the South Side. In return, they received infielder Nick Madrigal and right-hander Codi Heuer.
Madrigal, 24, was a big-name prospect for the past several years and began to show what he is made of in 2021. Before he underwent season-ended surgery in June on his right hamstring, he was performing well, slashing .305/.349/.425. He also accumulated ten doubles and two home runs in a total of 54 games. Along with his offensive excellence, Madrigal’s defense was praised while he was a prospect.
However, he has struggled defensively in the major leagues and will have much progress to make upon his return next season. Likewise, the impact of Madrigal on the team is yet to be seen. But, Heuer has already made his debut in a Cubs uniform wearing number 12, which was formerly worn by Kyle Schwarber. There is no denying that Heuer had a successful debut, and he has the rest of the season and beyond to bolster the north side’s bullpen.
Chicago Cubs: Righty Codi Heuer will be a valuable asset to the bullpen
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From the looks of it, Heuer is one of the arms that the North Siders will rely on to come in clutch and get big outs at the end of games. The White Sox selected Heuer (pronounced like Hoyer) in the sixth round of the 2018 draft. Two years later, Heuer made his major league debut in the 2020 COVID-19 abbreviated season and went 3-0 with a lone save and a 1.52 ERA across 21 appearances in relief.
In the first half of 2020, Heuer did not look as sharp. So far, Heuer is 4-1 on the season posting a 4.87 ERA in 42 appearances from the bullpen. Overall, Heuer is 7-1 with a 3.64 ERA in 63 games and one save in his career. On Saturday evening, former Cubs Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant were hitting home runs with their new teams; Heuer pitched two scoreless innings of relief against the Nationals in D.C.
Entering the game in the eighth inning, Heuer was already in a tough spot. Washington had already scored previously in the inning off reliever Rex Brothers, who, as a result, left the game with the bases loaded and nobody out. However, Heuer got all three outs in his outing, retiring three batters to get the Cubs out of the jam. Chicago went on to win the game 6-3, part in thanks to the newly acquired 25-year-old.
The fact that Heuer was cool under pressure, especially with a new team, is a good sign. While it is a small sample size, it seems as if Heuer has what it takes to eventually take on the role as a set-up man or even a closer. Whatever the case may be, this kid will be a valuable asset to the bullpen in 2021 and hopefully beyond.