By not being able to pitch out of trouble and constantly putting the offense in a hole from the gun, and throwing in Sunday's 18-inning marathon, the bullpen has been forced to bear more weight and sop up more innings than it can possibly take. With that in mind, it's not hard to understand why the 2017 Cubs are a mediocre 16-15 and stuck in third place.
Over the last few days, the roster jenga machine has been firing on all cylinders, in an effort to inject some fresh blood into the beleaguered pen. Justin Grimm was shuttled down and Felix Pena came up. Popular outfielder Matt Szczur was sacrificed so that Rob Zastryzny could come up and immediately threw over 80 pitches in relief. Zas went right back down for a rested Grimm to come back up. Meanwhile, a hail-related weather cancellation last night helped rest these weary pitchers; however, that just means a doubleheader today and, as an added bonus, they're beginning a series in the noted pitcher's graveyard that is Coor's Field.
Thus, with the pen being in the state that it's in and the playing altitude being as hitter-friendly as it is, the Cubs made one more roster move, in advance of this series with the Rockies, to hopefully help keep from running Carl Edwards, Wade Davis, and Koji Uehara into the ground.
Added to the 40-man roster and called up from AAA Iowa is Dylan Floro, formerly of the Tampa Bay Rays. The righty was claimed off of waivers by the Cubs back in January before being designated for assignment and then successfully passing through waivers in his second go-round. Last year, he made his Major League debut for Kevin Cash's club, giving up 7 ER in 15 IP out of the pen - while those numbers are decidedly pedestrian, he did strike out 14 men in that same time. However, things haven't been going so well with Iowa, as he's posted an ERA over five with only 9 K's in 16 frames.
The bottom line is that Floro was acquired by Theo & Co. as pitching depth, not as a prospect. In my not-so-expert opinion, the 26-year old will only be with the parent club for this series with Colorado to mop up, if needed, before being promptly DFA'ed. I'm sure the Cubs would like for him to clear again, but won't shed a tear if he's claimed. Dylan is basically here to be burned if the pen situation doesn't improve.
While this hardly the kind of roster move to get excited about, I must admit that I am a touch enthused. Obviously, once Floro appears in game action, he will officially make his Cubs debut and, thus, necessitate inclusion into my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection. I am always excited to slide a new card into that binder, my collecting pride and joy, no matter how unassuming the player may be.
Of course, the Cubs called upon pretty much the only hurler on the big league radar for whom I do not have a pre-acquired card, at the ready. So, impatient me immediately took to the internet and plopped down a buck shipped on Ebay for the above Hometown Flag parallel of Floro from 2014 Bowman. In case you can't tell from the card, Floro hails from California and sports a mean case of pitching face. Either that, or he's grimacing in pain as a show of solitude with his new, overworked pen-mates.
Is it an overpay? Yes - but, at least it's a parallel/insert and I can immediately cross Dylan's name from my want-list. Here's hoping he actually makes it into a game before the Cubs move on and I don't get burned with this impulsive and hasty purchase. Only time will tell.
In the end, here's hoping that the Cubs pitching staff gets back on track over the course of the next few days. The fact that the rotation has gone from absolutely top of the line in 2016 to worse than mid-pack in 2017 is proof positive that pitching is a highly volatile commodity. That said, the staff that the Cubs have assembled are simply too good to stay this disappointing. The game ebs and the game flows.
Then, sometimes the game Floro's.