Over the course of his Thursday conversation with 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight, Theo Epstein twice mentioned lefty reliever Brad Wieck (sounds like Wick) as a minor leaguer who’d be joining the Cubs when rosters expand. Acquired from San Diego at the deadline in exchange for Carl Edwards Jr., Wieck has bounced back and forth between Triple-A and the majors over the last two seasons.
The 6-foot-9 reliever posted a 6.57 ERA with 31 strikeouts and nine walks across 24.2 innings with the Padres, and his 6.11 ERA in the minors wasn’t much better. Ah, but his 34 strikeouts to six walks in just 17.2 innings sure seems nice. Since joining the Iowa Cubs, Wieck has struck out 10 with three walks in five innings.
Primarily a fastball/slider pitcher, Wieck uses his mid-90’s heater to set up the breaking ball. But that slide-piece had been a cement mixer throughout the first several months of the season as Wieck allowed 12 homers in just over 42 innings. Some of that may have been the result of both the mental and physical strain of the testicular cancer surgery he underwent in January.
The 27-year-old has yet to allow a homer since the trade and has given up just one run on four hits in that time. If the Cubs have figured something out with him, or even if it’s just another example of that analytics-damning phenomenon known as “change of scenery,” Wieck could be an interesting option out of the bullpen down the stretch.
He isn’t a lefty specialist, though, and has actually pitched to mild reverse splits over the course of his career. So if he’s able to keep the command tight and locate the slider properly, his big fastball and domineering presence on the mound could really play.
Because Wieck is already on the 40-man roster, there won’t be a corresponding move if and when he’s brought to Chicago. However, another lefty in the ‘pen may result in a DFA for either Derek Holland or Randy Rosario to make room for Ben Zobrist’s return. The former is currently on the IL with a wrist contusion and the latter has not flashed the same ability that led to 44 appearance with the Cubs last season.
Stay tuned, as you will likely hear Wieck’s name when rosters expand this weekend.