The Chicago Cubs have made their first dramatic roster shakeup before the game against the Texas Rangers. The Cubs added two relievers on Sunday, and both Kevin Gregg and Kameron Loe are going to be added to the bullpen. Kameron Loe was not a surprise because he was added on a waiver claim. Loe also has been a moderately effective reliever as recently as 2011. Loe does a number of things the front office likes including limiting walks and keeping the ball in the ballpark.
Rafael Dolis was sent down to make the move. Dolis was never meant to be on the roster for a long time. He really struggled so far in the young season at Iowa, and the changes in his delivery to add deception really hadn’t worked against AAA hitters.
The surprise to me was Kevin Gregg being added to the bullpen right now. Gregg according to initial reports was headed to Mesa, and I figured his likely role was depth in Iowa with Corey Wade et al. Kevin Gregg is most famous in these parts for his terrible run as the Cubs closer in 2009. He had a decent season in 2010, but was rather poor the previous two seasons. He replaces Hisanori Takahashi. I will admit that I liked the addition of Takahashi to the bullpen giving the Cubs a second lefty. I looked at his peripherals that suggested a possible bounce back candidate, but the early results were not good.
Darwin Barney was added to the roster to take the spot left open from Steve Clevenger on the 60 day DL. Barney is going to be an upgrade defensively and surprisingly offensively from the other surprise move of the day Brent Lillibridge. I am surprised that the Cubs cut ties with Lillibridge over Alberto Gonzalez. Brent Lillibridge was epically bad in his time here, and was chasing history for a little bit to start the season. However, Lillibridge’s versatility and power was why I thought Sveum would keep him over Gonzalez despite the poor start. Instead Jed Hoyer made the move to claim Cody Ransom off of waivers as well.
Ransom is not a good offensive player with a career .215/.302/.387 slash line. Ransom though offers the same versatility as Lillibridge. Ransom is actually capable of playing shortstop and the rest of the infield. The Cubs actually have a true backup shortstop for the first time in years. Ransom also has played a game in the outfield, but his true value is going to come in the infield.
The moves for today have boiled down to Takahashi, Dolis, and Lillibridge out and Barney, Ransom, Loe and Gregg in. I like all of those moves except Gregg being added. If I have two ineffective relievers on the roster I would prefer the southpaw still. Ultimately it does not matter too much because Gregg shouldn’t be used in high leverage situations any time soon, but since I doubted Gregg would even be on the big league roster maybe I am wrong about that too.