The latter part of the titular pair of transactions has been known for some time, and we also knew that someone would have to go down as a result. My thought from the start had been Felix Pena, to the extent that I had even said his return to Iowa was the Occam’s razor answer. So, naturally…
Grimm hasn’t been the most consistent reliever in the world, though “consistency” and “relief pitcher” are about as far apart in reality as they are in the dictionary. After riding his fastball/curve combo to pretty fantastic results in 2015, Grimm struggled early last season and ended up shuttling back and forth between Chicago and Iowa a couple times.
But he handled the options like a champ and came back pitching better than ever between and following his AAA stints. At one point, Grimm went 18 straight — and 28 of 30 — appearances without surrendering an earned run.
Interestingly enough, it’s the very things that ingratiated the veteran reliever to teammates and the front office that may have spurred his demotion. His decreasing strikeout rate and increasing walk rate may have added to that, too. Besides, the Cubs want to keep Pena around to get big league experience.
We’ll see what becomes of Grimm moving forward, whether he can regain a little command and bounce back in the same manner as last year. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion, though, that we may be seeing the beginning of the end for the Grimm Reaper as a Chicago Cub.