Cubs RP Tony Barnette Still Battling Shoulder Soreness, Doubtful for Opening Day

A murky bullpen situation got even cloudier for the Cubs Friday when Joe Maddon revealed that righty Tony Barnette remains shut down with shoulder soreness. A relatively unheralded signing in February, Barnette figured to play a significant role this season after putting up excellent numbers for the Rangers in an abbreviated 2018 campaign.

He posted a 2.39 ERA (2.97 FIP) with 26 strikeouts and only five walks in 26.1 innings (22 appearances) for Texas, but was shelved in July with a shoulder strain. Though Barnette was cleared for full participation at the start of camp, he hasn’t appeared in a game since March 3 and it’s now doubtful he’ll be ready by the start of the regular season.

This is particularly worrisome not just because it’s a shoulder issue that may still be lingering from 8 months ago, but because the Cubs are already short-handed at the end of the ‘pen. And Barnette, a former closer with NPB’s Yakult Swallows, could have served on the closer committee or at least slid into a higher-leverage role for a short while.

With Brandon Morrow also out and Pedro Strop‘s return not set in stone, the door is open for young pitchers like Dillon Maples or Dakota Mekkes to step up and take a roster spot. Both are scheduled as options in Friday’s game, so perhaps their appearances will take on a little additional meaning.


Evan Altman

Evan Altman is the EIC and co-founder of Cubs Insider and has proclaimed himself Central Indiana's foremost Cubs authority. He is a husband, father, homebrewer, and award-winning blogger with entirely too much pop culture knowledge. Evan's greatest accomplishments include scoring 400 points in Magic Johnson's Fast Break, naming all 10 members of the Wu-Tang Clan in under 3.5 seconds, and winning the Meese Literary Award at Hanover College.

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  1. Theo isn’t that good at FA and non- tanking trades. He needs to leave and go rebuild another team so he can do what he’s good at.

    1. Not even counting Heyward, the crazy price they paid for Chapman or trading DJ LeMahieu for Ian Stewart or giving Edwin Jackson over 50M.

      January 1 2017-Today
      2017 Season
      -Brett Anderson 6 starts 8.18 ERA ripped team on the way out
      -Traded for Jose Quintana 3.93 ERA in 46 starts. Eloy #3 overall prospect in baseball Cease is 21st at MLB/ 38th BA plus 2 more guys.
      -Traded for Alex Avila .750 OPS and Justin Wilson 3.86 ERA with Cubs. Former Top-100 prospect Jeimer Candelario and Isaac Paredes was is 94th in Baseball America’s Top-100 list.
      2018 Season
      -Signed Tyler Chatwood 5.30 ERA and now a expensive bad BP arm
      -Signed Brandon Morrow great when healthy, rarley healthy
      -Signed Drew Smyly paid to rehab
      -Signed Steve Cishek one of Theo’s best recent moves
      -Brought back Brian Duensing on 2 year deal 7.65 ERA
      -Signed Yu Darvish was a solid move despite injury history which blows up in year one
      -Traded for Jesse Chavez turned out be a steal
      -Traded for Cole Hamels which was a great move up until they picked up the 20M option to kill FA
      -Traded for Brandon Kintzler who was terrible and had a option for 5M.
      -Traded for Daniel Murphy who did not as good as they hoped but still was fine.
      2019 Season
      -Traded for Ronald Torreyes to non-tender him.
      -Traded great PH Tommy La Stella
      -Signed Daniel Descalso after a career year, hurt
      -Signed Kendall Graveman to rehab
      -Signed Tony Barnette who is hurt
      -Signed Brad Brach, but not his velocity
      -Signed Xavier Cedeno who is hurt

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