Filed:April 22nd, 2009
Cub reliever Luis Vicaino (Cubbie Nation/file)
Luis, we hardly knew ya.
The Cubs made moves Thursday, designating reliever Luis Vicaino for assignment and recalling Jeff Samardzija from AAA, in an effort to stabilize their bullpen.
Let's talk about that bullpen for a moment.
I give manager Lou Piniella a lot of credit. Too many managers would be hesitant to start making changes this early in the season, especially on a team with plenty of veterans.
"Well, this guy will come around", or "Once we get so-and-so going, we'll be fine", or some other nonsense would be spewed by the manager as he privately hoped like hell that his vet(s) didn't cost him too many games before the club attempts to quietly move them near the trade deadline.
Praise Lou for, instead, giving up the ghost, and realizing that this 'pen is DOA. Yeah, the club messed up. When you stop and think about the fact that half the pen is Angel Guzman, David Patton, and Neal Cotts, you need to be afraid.
And I'm intrigued by the fact that the Cubs have now happily dumped two veterans inside of a month.
Between Chad Gaudin and Vizcaino, you're talking about over five million in salary that looks to get eaten, just to make some non-performers go away. It's decidedly un-Cub.
And I love it. I think its official now. Sweet Lou is firmly in control of the organization for now, and all you can do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
The only regret that I have is that he can't figure out the Cotts problem soon enough. Neal has turned one good season—and the fact that he's left-handed—into a career that's akin to "What About Bob?"
Please make him go away.
And the game? Well, you're always in for a treat when you match up Carlos Zambrano and Aaron Harang, who looks to finally be past that bout of Dusty Baker overuse.
Carlos was good, going seven innings in the loss. But the Cubs could do nothing on offense against Harang, and a Micah Hoffpauir fielding error in the seventh made sure that this wasn't going to be the Cubs day.
Oh, and that bullpen under construction? Joey Votto—I'm really starting to hate this kid—took Neal Cotts deep in the eighth for a solo home run, and Samardzija got a pair hung on him in the ninth.
Keep working on it.