Matt Szczur Designated, Rob Zastryzny Recalled
The question of how Matt Szczur would fit into the Cubs’ long-term plans may finally have been answered. After all the trade speculation, he was DFA’d Saturday to make room for Rob Zastryzny on the roster. Joe Maddon described the move as necessary because the starting pitch staff has failed to go deep into games as of late.
Joe says #Cubs bullpen is the best in NL, but strained by starters not going as deeply into games as they did last year at this time.
— Bruce Miles (@BruceMiles2112) May 6, 2017
Drafted in the 5th round of the 2010 draft, Szczur was always held in high regard despite being surrounded by a plethora of top prospects. Never complaining and seemingly always enthusiastic about the sport, he consistently shuttled between Iowa and the MLB squad in 2014 and 2015 before accumulating 200 PA in last year’s World Series run.
Szczur’s DFA comes as a surprise to many Cubs fans who thought the outfielder could stick with the team for the majority of the season, especially since the Cubs were able to send Tommy La Stella to AAA, presumably to keep Szczur. The Cubs have 10 days to either trade or release Szczur, and there is always a possibility he gets through waivers and the Cubs can assign him to Iowa. But given the recent injuries around MLB (e.g., Adam Eaton, Christian Yelich, Bryce Harper, etc.), we might have seen the last of Szczur wearing blue pinstripes.
Rob Zastryzny presumably takes on a long-relief role despite poor outings in Iowa in which he totaled a 6.88 ERA, 5.23 FIP over 17.0 innings. He could provide a boost to a depleted pitching staff. Maddon seems comfortable with the lefty, who actually pitched in the 2016 NLCS after pitching 16 innings of 1.13 ERA ball during the regular season.
Best wishes to Matt.