We had started talking about this eventuality after a listener sent in a question on a recent Dreamcast, but really, what will happen once Brian Duensing is ready to come back from the disabled list? Well, this isn’t exactly the way we had envisioned it…
The #Cubs today activated LHP Brian Duensing off of the 10-day disabled list and placed RHP Carl Edwards Jr. on the bereavement list.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 14, 2017
This introduces another round of roster gymnastics once we get to the point where Carl Edwards Jr. returns from his leave (our condolences, that really isn’t how we thought this would play out). And as you know from our previous poll, most Cubs fans prefer Matt Szczur to Tommy La Stella on the club, although both are on the bench at the moment. Let’s also consider Hector Rondon, who got hurt on Wednesday night but whose situation is being monitored for the moment…
Hector Rondon had an MRI on his left knee on Thursday after twisting awkwardly on a tag attempt on Wednesday… https://t.co/kXvAgyherY
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) April 13, 2017
Rondon sounds fine, and while MLB is monitoring the disabled lists a little more stringently now that it’s 10 days instead of 15, the Cubs might consider it just to be safe (UPDATE: OR NOT, since Hector pitched in Friday’s game). We simply don’t know yet, but there are about three days on Edwards’ bereavement leave for them to figure this out. In the meantime, we can consider the scenarios.
- If the Cubs want an extra reliever as opposed to the extra bench player, it would shift from 12 pitchers and 13 position players to 13/12 when Edwards returns. That means one of Szczur or La Stella is gone. If it’s Szczur, it’s either a designation for assignment (and a subsequent claim by one of the various rebuilding teams) or a trade for a lottery ticket. I can’t imagine the Cubs giving him up for nothing, and I’m not actually sure they want to give him up, period.
- Which brings us to La Stella, who does have options remaining and may be OK with an assignment to Iowa, where he might get a bit more playing time than the few pinch-hitting assignments he’s received so far. Then again, with guys like Ian Happ and Jeimer Candelario beating the tar out of the ball, he might not even get the playing time he wanted…but if he’s willing to be a team player, this would buy the Cubs some time to move La Stella or figure out an alternative plan.
- If the Cubs decide to keep five bench players (i.e. both Szczur and La Stella stick around), then they will either have to put Rondon on the disabled list, or buy Edwards or maybe Justin Grimm some time in Iowa since both have options.
This is a situation worth monitoring going forward. It’s not like the Cubs were going to get through the entire 162 games with the same guys on the roster, anyway.
UPDATE 4/17 5:21 PM: There were indications from the media about this move, but the Cubs just made it official:
The #Cubs today activated RHP Carl Edwards Jr. off of the bereavement list and placed infielder Tommy La Stella on the bereavement list.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 17, 2017
It sucks that people close to the players keep passing away, and we send our condolences to the families. It seems the roster will now shift to 13 pitchers and 12 position players, which is fine given the Cubs’ versatility. But in about a week, we will get back to the same roster shuffle situation. Hopefully it will be resolved without any familial issues next time, but as we can see, life is unpredictable.