by Andy Paschen
Tasteless title I know, but it is 100% factual in every sense of the word. LHP B.J. Ryan, formerly the closer of the Toronto Blue Jays has signed a minor league deal with the Cubs and is currently rehabbing his elbow in hopes of helping Sean Marshall with some of the left-handed bullpen load.
Ryan was released after becoming the Fred Taylor of fantasy (and real) baseball by performing at an All-Star level one year, injuring himself in the next year, performing an an All-Star level the next year and injuring himself the year after that. This on, off, on type of shit apparently doesn’t fly in the Great White North, but I must say I’m happy to see the Cubs take a flyer on such a low risk, high reward guy.
Granted, this season Ryan has a 6.53 ERA in only 20.2 IP with a K/9 IP at around half of his usual 9-10 (which would make the current number around 5), but this is a man who has ERAs of 2.28, 2.43, 1.37 and 2.95 in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008.
The one thing I don’t understand is the media speculation that this will free-up Marshall to reuturn to the starting rotation. Really? Sean Marshall has stranded 23 of 24 inherited runners since moving to the pen, has been the only thing resembling a quality south paw outside of Ted Lilly and you want to throw him back in the rotation for what reason? For the few starts he’ll receive while Ryan Dempster is rehabbing the injury on this little piggy? Is Rich Harden really in that much danger of losing a starting spot? I don’t think so.
My advice: keep Marshall and Ryan in the pen, use a combination of AAA or AA pitchers to spot start until Dempster returns, and thank God the Toronto Blue Jays are trying to shed money like a cat during spring. Personally, I can’t wait to cheer for a B.J. without fear of being slapped by a young lady.