Hayden Wesneski has been given a lot of chances to succeed with the Chicago Cubs this year, but it may be time to move on from the young right-hander.
Going into the 2023 season, everyone was excited about the high upside of 25-year old and he even won a spot in the starting rotation after a great Spring Training. Unfortunately, this preseason performance, where he tossed five starts with a 2.12 ERA, has been the highlight of Wesneski's year.
Wesneski has been stung by hard contact all year and he's averaging more than two home runs given up for every nine innings pitched (19 total on the year). The sinker-slider combo has also not been effectively fooling hitters as Wesneski's strikeout percentage is at a career-low 21.4% while opponents are hitting .240 off of him.
Wesneski's spot in the rotation was given to others by the middle of June and he spent most of the month of July with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. When he returned, Wesneski inherited a long-relief role that he also struggled in. More recently, Manager David Ross has been utilizing Wesneski as a single-inning relief option, and he's still looked sloppy. In fact, Wesneski has had just two outings of clean work (no hits or walks) since moving to the bullpen in June.
Wesneski came to the Cubs in a deal with the New York Yankees at the 2022 trade deadline in exchange for reliever Scott Effross. He was supposed to be a high-upside starting pitcher, but he has been struggling to get through just one inning recently.
With so many other young pitchers coming through the system, including Jordan Wicks and Javier Assad who are now members of the starting rotation, Wesneski's lackluster efforts are not needed. At the very least, he should be kept off of the playoff roster should the Cubs find themselves playing in October. As far as next year, it may be time to package him in trade.