Not sure if GM Jim Hendry and Manger Lou Pinella really know what they want to do with Jeff Samardzija. As spring training broke, the Cubs decided to send Jeff Samardzija down to the minor leagues to develop a 3rd pitch and work on his starting pitching. Instead of keeping Samardzija at the major league level, they elected to go with Angel Guzman (who was out of options) and David Patton (who the Cubs had to keep in the big leagues or release without compensation).
Within 2 weeks, however, the Cubs released Luis Vizcaino (who had not allowed a run in his 4 2009 appearances) and called up Samardzija who had pitched well in 3 starts at Triple-A Iowa. And with no room in the starting rotation, the Cubs moved Samardzija into the bullpen. Does this make any sense at all, given what Hendry and Pinella had said just 2 weeks earlier? No.
Samardzija struggled in the Cubs bullpen – 5 appearances, only 3 1/3 innings, 3 earned runs, 7 hits, 2 walks, 5 K’s and a hefty 8.10 ERA. Now I’m not making excuses for Samardzija – he did not pitch well – but you have to have a plan with a young player. And it seemed like Hendry and the Cubs were comfortable with Samardzija going back to the minor leagues to get stretched out again to work on pitches as a starter. To change that plan within 2 weeks just doesn’t make any sense at all and could ultimately hurt Samardzija in the long run. One would think that Samardzija is a guy that the Cubs want to use as a starter in the future. Let him grow and learn and get more innings in at the Triple A level. Let him work on new pitches and get comfortable throwing those pitches. Having Samardzija on a carousel back and forth to Iowa just doesn’t make sense – let’s hope it doesn’t hurt him in the long run.
Chad Fox appeared in 3 games for the Cubs in 2008. He was 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. The Cubs plan to use Fox in the 6th and 7th innings of ball games.