With Brett Anderson leaving Saturday’s game with an apparent back injury (something that’s bothered him throughout his career), he’s almost certainly headed to the disabled list.
This means the Cubs will need a starting pitcher to take Anderson’s rotation slot — at some point. They could, in fact, skip that turn in the rotation the next time it comes up. Four days’ rest for that slot in the rotation would put the next turn on Thursday, which is an off day. That would give the Cubs some extra time to figure out what they want to do with it.
Incidentally, give Anderson credit. He made no excuses for his horrific outing Saturday:
#Cubs Anderson calls his outing "embarrassing." Said he felt something after fielding the bunt— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) May 7, 2017
It’s most likely that Eddie Butler will be recalled from Triple-A Iowa to take Anderson’s spot. Butler has the most major-league experience (28 starts, all with the Rockies) of anyone in the Iowa rotation. Butler came off the Iowa disabled list Saturday and threw six shutout innings against New Orleans. That’s a pretty good indication that he’d be ready to take over a big-league rotation spot soon.
I’d imagine the Cubs are not going to go with 14 pitchers for too long — that leaves only three bench players. My guess? Felix Pena heads back to Iowa and Tommy La Stella will be recalled, quite possibly even for Sunday’s game.
If and when Butler comes to the big-league Cubs, they will need someone at Iowa to take his place, and this is where I get to the point made in the headline.
This thought was suggested, actually, in the comments here a few days ago. Doug Fister is 33 years old and still a free agent, unsigned by anyone after he pitched for the Astros last year.
Fister is by no means great, but he did post a 4.5 bWAR season as recently as 2014. Last year he went 12-14 with a 4.64 ERA, 1.425 WHIP and 0.0 bWAR for Houston. Yes, I realize those numbers aren’t great. He does have significant postseason experience (nine appearances, eight starts, with the Tigers and Nationals from 2011-14).
But why not sign him to a minor-league deal to replace Butler in the rotation? He’d at least be rotation depth. If he’s bad after that, he could simply be released.
What do you think? Would this be a decent, low-risk, low-cost move for depth? I think so.
In the meantime, it’d be nice to salvage one game from the Yankees series tonight.
Should the Cubs sign Doug Fister to a minor-league deal?
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