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The Cubs don’t have any lefthanded relievers and they need to fix that

An all-righty bullpen is a disadvantage.

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Monday, I wrote an article headlined: “The Cubs don’t have enough outfielders and have too many guys playing out of position.”

Lo and behold, just a few hours later the Cubs recalled Nelson Velázquez from Triple-A Iowa, though all he did was play two innings on defense.

If you think I’m taking credit for this, no, I’m not, obviously. That move had to be in the works after Sunday’s game.

But, I thought, why not try it again with lefthanded relievers? The Cubs don’t have one and really should.

Now, Brandon Hughes is on rehab assignment with Iowa and could be back perhaps by the weekend, though this tweet doesn’t indicate any specific timetable past “he’s going to pitch for Iowa on Tuesday.”

Currently, the Cubs have seven relievers on the active roster since they sent Javier Assad to Iowa to add Velázquez.

So who’s going to go when Hughes is activated? It’s not going to be Michael Fulmer, Brad Boxberger, Adbert Alzolay or Keegan Thompson, those four spots appear to be locked in.

So we’re talking about Michael Rucker, Julian Merryweather or Mark Leiter Jr.

The front office and David Ross appear enamored of Leiter because he had good reverse splits in 2022 — lefthanded batters had a .571 OPS against him, righthanded batters .783. In very small sample sizes that has continued this year — LHB are 1-for-10 against Leiter with a walk (.282 OPS) and RHB are 0-for-2 with two walks (.500 OPS). This can’t go on indefinitely, obviously, and the addition of Hughes will help.

Leiter isn’t going anywhere and Merryweather is out of options, so he’s probably sticking around for a while.

Rucker has options and I would assume he’ll head to Iowa when Hughes comes back.

But the Cubs really need another lefthander, in my view. There are three potentially useful lefthanded relievers at Iowa: Ryan Borucki, Anthony Kay and Brendon Little. (Roenis Elias is also at Iowa and could relieve in the majors, but for now is being used as a starter). Borucki, Kay and Little all have MLB experience. Problem: None of them is on the 40-man roster, so adding them would require removing someone.

Me? I’d DFA Luis Torrens and hope he clears waivers. He can hit, a little, and catch, a little, but neither one of those skills is so exceptional that he should be kept instead of a lefty reliever.

Of the three, I think I’d choose Borucki. He’s had some success at the MLB level, though also had some frighteningly bad years. He threw well in Spring Training, he just turned 29 and he’s a Chicago-area native (Mundelein High School).

Get it done, Jed.