In a move that should be made official shortly, the Cubs will option Carl Edwards Jr. to Triple-A Iowa to work on his mechanics and mindset. The lithe reliever has struggled with his command after being forced to abandon a pause he had worked on throughout the offseason and spring training, but the issues run deeper than that.
Edwards has long had trouble getting out of jams and has too frequently allowed adversity to dictate his results. Whether it’s an early ball or an umpire’s borderline call not going his way, there were simply too many times you could tell how Edwards’ performance would go right from the start. Add to that the mechanical changes and his velocity lagging behind career norms, and it was clear that he needed a change of scenery to set things in order.
According to Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic, Edwards will be replaced on the roster by righty Allen Webster, who came up last year in a move that could have cost him a spot in the organization. Webster made his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2013 after several years in the Dodgers system, making the cross-country move as part of a huge contract swap. He bounced around for a while, moving to the Diamondbacks and even pitching in Korea in 2016.
Source says Allen Webster is coming up for Carl Edwards, Jr. Kyle Ryan makes sense for Montgomery (@ESPNChiCubs is reporting he's headed for IL) but haven't heard that for sure.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) April 6, 2019
Now with the Cubs, Webster has a wealth of experience and a fastball with a good deal more velocity than he ever flashed at his previous stops. After sitting in the low 90’s during his time with the Red Sox and D-backs, Webster was hitting 95 last year for the Cubs (in a very limited sample, of course). And at 29, there’s reason to believe he can keep that up. If nothing else, just coming in and throwing strikes without giving up homers is all the Cubs want.
In another anticipated move, Mike Montgomery will likely be placed on the injured list to deal with lingering fatigue from shoulder soreness that forced him to get a late start this spring. That should open the door for lefty Kyle Ryan, who was a candidate for one of the last roster spots when camp broke. Randy Rosario ended up getting the nod, but his role is anything but secure at this point.
It’s way too early to hit the panic button on the season, but it’s well past time to start making changes with some of these bullpen pitchers who have clearly displayed that they just don’t have it.
Update: The Cubs made the moves official Saturday afternoon, which included designating Jen-Ho Tseng for assignment in order to make room for Webster on the 40-man roster. Kyle Ryan, who was signed to a major league deal in November, was already there.