(CBS) The Cubs will face a difficult roster decision soon when infielder Tommy La Stella is due to come off the bereavement list. Barring an unforseen trip to the disabled list for someone, the Cubs must choose one between sending La Stella to Triple-A, exposing outfielder Matt Szczur to waivers via a demotion to Triple-A or going back to a seven-man bullpen.
From the sounds of it, it won’t be the latter option. Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio stressed the importance of having eight relievers in the wake of a weekend series in which the Cubs were swept by the Pirates in large part because of their bullpen struggles. The Cubs opened the season with seven relievers amid a schedule that included a handful of early off days, but they went back to an eight-man bullpen Monday when La Stella went to the bereavement list.
The Cubs carried a 13-man pitching staff — five starters, eight relievers — for much of 2016, when they won the championship and had the best team ERA (3.15) in baseball by a wide margin.
“If it’s not broke, don’t try to fix it kind of thing,” Bosio said in an interview with Mully & Hanley on 670 The Score on Wednesday morning. “It worked for us. It gave Joe (Maddon) a little more options. We’ve got some versatile players on our team within our roster. So you’re probably going to see, just like other teams take advantage of the possible eighth reliever or the extra position player, I don’t think that’s that big of a deal. It just depends on the schedule, who you’re playing, workload. We opened on the road coming out of spring training, so here’s our chance to give our manager another option with a pitcher. We’ve got an American League matchup (with less of a need for extra bench player) coming up on the end of this road trip.
“There’s times during the season you do it, there’s times you don’t. I think it’s just part of the schedule.”
Listen to Bosio’s full interview below.