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Cubs pitcher Codi Heuer underwent Tommy John surgery on Monday, meaning he will miss all of the 2022 season.
Heuer posted a photo on Instagram with his arm in a sling on Tuesday.
It’s undoubtedly a huge loss for the Cubs bullpen headed into the future, even beyond the 2022 season. While more players have been able to come back from the year-long rehab post surgery, it still leaves his future with the Cubs with many questions.
As for the present, if and when the lockout ends, the Cubs will have a big hole to fill in the back end of their bullpen. Heuer finished the 2021 campaign with a 3.14 ERA in 25 games with the Cubs after struggling with a 5.12 ERA in 40 games with the White Sox.
As of right now, Rowan Wick and Manny Rodriguez are locked in to be part of the Cubs bullpen. The Cubs have Wick, Rodriguez, Michael Rucker, Scott Effross, Cory Abbott, and Adbert Alzolay listed on the 40-man roster.
The Cubs bullpen should look much different than the end of the 2021 season. Here are some internal options that could help ease this loss for the Cubs.
Keegan Thompson was one of the nice surprises from the 2021 season. Thompson made his debut in May and earned his way into high leverage spots soon after. In 40.1 innings out of the bullpen, Thompson was nails posting a 2.22 ERA with a 9.52 K/9. He had 43 strikeouts to 22 walks and opponents had just a .199 batting average.
As a starter in the second half, Thompson posted a 7.11 ERA in five starts.
The signing of Marcus Stroman allows the Cubs to move Thompson back to where he succeeded most in 2021.
Before Brad Wieck went down with atrial fibrillation resulting in heart surgery, he was perhaps the best southpaw in the ‘pen for the Cubs.
In 15 appearances, he allowed zero earned runs and recorded 28 strikeouts in 17 innings. That’s good for a 14.28 K/9. That’s, uh, pretty good. Wieck has been training at the Major League Baseball Players Association reserved fields and facilities during the lockout, training with Justin Steele and Kyle Hendricks. It seems he’s on track to be ready for spring training, if and when that actually happens.
MLB Pipeline’s No. 86 overall prospect Brailyn Marquez is finally healthy after setbacks from a shoulder strain injury and COVID-19. It’s unlikely he starts with the Cubs this season, but it could be a mid-season call up.
Marquez, a left-handed pitcher, has been highly touted for years. He made his major league debut at the end of the shortened season in 2020, but has not pitched since.
How Marquez looks in spring training will dictate how the Cubs go about his situation.
The Cubs’ 2018 fourth-round pick raised eyebrows at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa in 2021. He was one of Tennessee’s best relievers, posting a 1.97 ERA with a 12.66 K/9 in 24 games. His 36 percent strikeout rate was the highest of his professional career. Opponents hit just .143 against him.
His numbers dipped a bit in Iowa, but batters still hit just .218 against him in 15 games. Like Marquez, Roberts will likely begin next season in Iowa, but if he posts a strong spring training, it could boost his major league call up time.
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