I feel like this happened several times throughout the 2018 season, but it was mainly about not being on the same page in regards to information about injured players. Anyway, maybe Joe Maddon is just bad at playing telephone because after telling the media the Cubs were exploring possible additions for the bullpen either through trades or signings, Theo Epstein said that’s not quite the case.
Hell, Maddon even left the door open about a possible Craig Kimbrel signing, even if he didn’t say the Cubs were actually pursuing him.
Maddon said there have been internal meetings about possible bullpen alternatives via waivers/trades. Said free-agent Craig Kimbrel's name has not come up: "We really didn't discuss that. But, I can't tell you that it's out of the question."
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) March 13, 2019
Well, you can put it out of the question now.
Epstein cleared up Maddon’s comments on Thursday.
Theo: Talk this week about the Cubs looking at trade possibilities was misconstrued (in mgr media session Wednesday).
TE: “Obviously, we’re always looking to get better. I don’t foresee anything significant at all at this time.” https://t.co/BI7ON9GOLG
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) March 14, 2019
All righty then.
In case you missed it, Pedro Strop is currently not throwing off a mound after getting a mild hamstring strain. Strop downplayed the injury, saying he’s 99.9% sure he’ll be ready for Opening Day, but it’s certainly not what the Cubs want two weeks before the start of the season.
Meanwhile, Brad Brach is only topping out in the 80s so far this spring training, but he also claims that it’s normal and that his velocity is just like that every spring training. We’ll see if he gets back to throwing 92-93 mph once the regular season begins. This is after the Cubs restructured Brach’s contract following his physical. Apparently he had mono.
Another free agent reliever, Xaiver Cedeno, isn’t expected to be ready for Opening Day, as the lefty is dealing with a wrist issue.
Oh and by the way, the Cubs are going to be without Brandon Morrow for the first month of the year as well. He’s coming back from elbow surgery.
Tyler Chatwood is still bad. Carl Edwards Jr. is debuting a new delivery this year and Brandon Kintzler is hoping to rebound from an awful stint with the Cubs after he got traded to Chicago last summer.
Maybe the only good news is that a guy like Allen Webster might get a shot at a bullpen spot and that’d be a pretty cool story for the former top pitching prospect. Webster has nine strikeouts, while allowing just three hits in eight innings so far in Spring Training.
With no help from the outside coming it also seems like 2019 will be the season the Cubs finally find out if a few of their pitching prospects are good enough to stick at the MLB level.