Joe Maddon probably spent a lot more time than he’d have liked talking about Addison Russell‘s lack of focus and the coaching staff’s fruitless work with the infielder since he was called up in 2015. But there are actually other players on the roster, including one or two you may have forgotten about given their sparse usage, and Maddon offered updates on some of them prior to Tuesday’s game.
One of those was Tyler Chatwood, who has become the pitching staff’s Daniel Descalso (five plate appearances in July) with only two appearances since June 27. He faced only seven batters in that time, allowing one hit and striking out one batter with no walks. He’s not hurt and he’s been effective, so what gives?
Maddon said it was just a matter of circumstance and that Chatwood had gotten up on other occasions, but then the situation changed and he wasn’t needed. Okay, cool, but there’s got to be a point at which the manager is looking at a bullpen that has been pretty heavily taxed and thinking that maybe it’d be a good idea to not bury a capable pitcher for weeks at a time.
One imagines Maddon will be a little more vigilant when deploying his three catchers once Willson Contreras comes back, which will indeed be the case for at least a week. Unless the Cubs make a move involving Victor Caratini, they’ll make like 2016 and keep a backstop trifecta. That could mean more time in the outfield for Contreras, especially if Maddon wants to keep him fresh down the stretch.
A lot could still change between now and the deadline, though, as the Cubs have several roster spots that really should be churned. Or maybe they can just maintain the status quo and hope it’s enough to get them to the postseason again.