As I noted in my Wild Card preview, the Cubs bullpen is taxed, thanks in part to both Brandon Morrow and Pedro Strop being injured. I don’t know if Strop is still injured or not, but he’ll be in uniform tonight. The Cubs just activated him for the Wild Card game.
Strop, who took over as the closer from the injured Morrow midseason, went down with a hamstring injury while running the bases against the Nationals in a mid-September game, sending him to the disabled list. He’s been saying all along that he thinks he can make it back for the playoffs, but until today the Cubs said nothing definitive on the matter. Now they have.
Strop is 6-1 with a 2.26 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 57/21 in 59.2 innings on the year. Getting him back for tonight’s one-and-done game is a big deal.
Pierre Noujaim of Fox9 Minneapolis reports that the Twins and free agent starter Michael Pineda have agreed on a two-year contract. The Athletic’s Dan Hayes confirms Noujaim’s report and adds that the deal is for $20 million.
Pineda, 30, signed with the Twins in December 2017 while he was in the process of recovering from Tommy John surgery. He missed the entire 2018 season but began the 2019 season on time. Pineda went on to post a 4.01 ERA with 140 strikeouts and 28 walks across 146 innings. He was suspended 60 games in early September after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. There are 39 games remaining, so he won’t make his season debut next year until mid-May.
Pineda will rejoin a Twins rotation that features José Berríos and Jake Odorizzi. The Twins are likely not done hunting for rotation help.