Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Bullpen looks set

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Barring a trade or an injury, Lou Piniella has his seven-man bullpen staff set, and the quick return of probable closer Kerry Wood from back spasms only firms up a list that includes only one left-hander, Scott Eyre.

Piniella rattled off the names of the other relievers in his pen before Thursday's game: Wood, Carlos Marmol, Bob Howry, Michael Wuertz, Kevin Hart and ``one of the right-handers who doesn't make the rotation.''

With Ryan Dempster and Jon Lieber all but assured of nabbing the two rotation openings, that makes Jason Marquis the guy going to the bullpen if he's not traded.

Piniella's math also means that Sean Marshall is out when it comes to the Cubs' opening roster, regardless of what he does in Friday's start against Colorado and despite a 3.24 ERA. He's another guy who could be moved in a trade, or he'll wind up in the minors as important insurance for the rotation.

One easily overlooked byproduct of the equation is that left-hander Carmen Pignatiello, one of only two pitchers left in camp who hasn't allowed a run this spring, has no chance to make the club.

``Unless there's a trade here, there's just not going to be room. Let's not kid ourselves,'' Piniella said. ``It's been a good experience [for Pignatiello], but I just don't see where there's room for some of these [young] guys that have pitched well in camp. It's a shame, but it's the truth.''

Of course, if there's a trade, then there's also the issue of trying to make room for Rule 5 pick Tim Lahey, who despite recent struggles is a strong enough prospect the Cubs would like to try to keep him. But that requires keeping him on the 25-man roster, and unless somebody else is traded, Lahey is more likely to get traded than waived (he's well regarded enough that he would certainly be claimed and lost for nothing in return if the Cubs waived him).

Not the worst problem a team can have at this point in camp.

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6 Comments

I don't understand why Sean Marshall has been so disregarded, unless he is on the table in the Roberts deal. The guy put up identical numbers to Hill last year and has had a better spring. At least keep him in the bullpen!

I don't see why Pignatiello isn't considered if you ask me I'd say he has a lot more value than Eyre or Marquis.
Marquis should be traded because he's not mentally tough and has already complained this spring.
the cubs should get Brian Roberts and make room for Lahey and Pignatiello and possibly Marshall in the bullpen

There is not a chance that Dempster and/or Lieber will pitch the entire season. They have to keep Marshal in the wings somewhere. Could easily end up the 3 rd or 4th best pitcher on the staff. In Lou we trust!!!

Another season of..."Oh, the Cubs have so much pitching depth." Sounds pretty much what people said last year. How did that turn out. Keep as many quality arms as possible until you get the best deal for them. Until the Cubs get a tremendous deal for their "pitching depth" I say keep 'em. John Lieber and Kerry Wood. They may have the experience but can their bodies hold up for one year?

you guys are wrong. Both are not that sharp if you have Marquis out of the rotation

The cubs pithching is not strong at all!!Gordon,what r u thinkin?Jon Lieber,Kerry Wood,Marquois,and Dempster are all old and not mentally tough like kyle said.I dont think the cubs pitching espcially the bullpen is stable .I dont think the cubs have it straight.If the Cubs dont make pitching changes,they WILL NOT go to the big dance!!!There Offense is great but pitching wins you a World Series!just ask the mets do i dare say Johan Santana!

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on March 20, 2008 9:25 PM.

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