The Cubs have added lefty reliever Derek Holland to the active roster a day after acquiring him from the Giants for cash considerations. Holland has a rough stat line this season and lost his starting role as a result, but he’s been murder on left-handed hitters after honing his repertoire. He could be a sneaky good pickup if he maintains that pace and is deployed correctly, something Theo Epstein spoke to Friday in Milwaukee.
“He’s throwing the ball really, really well against lefties,” Epstein said. “It’s been a long track record of success against lefties, especially this year. He’s really been dominant against them. The Giants, they have three really good left-handers in the ‘pen already, so we can alter his role a little bit.
“Obviously, he started the year starting for them and then went into more of a long role. But, I feel like we have a chance to maybe, initially at least, target his role where he’s matching up against lefties. Put him in a position to succeed. I think there’s a real chance he can help us.”
We’ll see if that’s really the case or if Joe Maddon gets a little too antsy and wants to play with his new toy when he’s not supposed to. The Cubs bullpen has been less than stellar when it comes to holding leads, especially in the setup innings to get the game to Craig Kimbrel, so a fresh arm might just be called upon for the hell of it.
In order to make room for Holland on the roster, the Cubs placed Daniel Descalso on the IL with an ankle sprain. The move came almost three months too late, as Descalso originally hurt the ankle back on May 6 in a game against the Cardinals and has seen his numbers tank in the time since.
Jed Hoyer admitted recently that Descalso had fallen into some bad habits after getting hurt, but the Cubs didn’t see fit to use the IL at the time because, well, that’s kind of been their MO. That last part is me talking, by the way, not paraphrasing Hoyer. When a guy goes from batting .253/.340/.386 with a .316 wOBA, a 94 wRC+ over his first 94 plate appearances to .114/.228/.139 with a .182 wOBA and a 6 wRC+ over 93 since, that’s more than just bad habits.
This has the feel of one of those phantom injuries — which is kind of ironic since Holland had beef with the Giants for doing that to him — that helps the Cubs clear roster space temporarily. Regardless, another decision is going to have to be made when Cole Hamels comes off the IL. I don’t envy the front office when it comes to these decisions, nor am I going to cut them any slack for doing something that should have been done a long time ago.