6:59pm: Wick is indeed coming up, the Cubs announced.
12:17pm: The Cubs have optioned right-hander Carl Edwards Jr. to Triple-A Iowa, Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago reports (via Twitter). The team has yet to formally announce the move, but Rogers adds that righty Rowan Wick is a possible replacement for the struggling Edwards.
It’s been a rough season for Edwards, who has missed time due to a thoracic strain and hasn’t generated quality results when healthy enough to take the mound. This is the second time he’s been optioned to Iowa, and while Edwards has performed well in Triple-A in 2019, he’s sporting a 5.87 ERA with nine walks, a hit batter, two wild pitches and a balk in 15 1/3 innings. Edwards does have 17 strikeouts, but he’s actually seen his swinging-strike rate dip precipitously (14.4 percent in ’18, 10.2 percent in ’19). His average fastball velocity is also down a half mile per hour from 2018 and 1.2 mph from 2017.
In 154 1/3 regular-season innings from 2016-18, Edwards turned in a 3.03 ERA with better than 12 strikeouts per nine innings pitched, so getting him back on track would be a boon to a Cubs ’pen that has been, at best, a middle-of-the-pack unit. Chicago has yet to receive so much as one inning from projected closer Brandon Morrow in 2019, and the front office felt strongly enough about the need to add bullpen help that it signed Craig Kimbrel to a $43MM contract following the June draft. President of baseball ops Theo Epstein, GM Jed Hoyer and the rest of the Cubs’ front office are reported to be on the hunt for bullpen upgrades between now and the July 31 trade deadline.
In the meantime, if Wick is indeed the corresponding move, he’ll get his second look with the Cubs. The catcher-turned-outfielder-turned-pitcher gave up five runs (three earned) in seven innings with the Cubs earlier this summer and has been excellent in Iowa. Through 35 innings there, the 26-year-old Wick has a 1.80 ERA with a 44-to-9 K/BB ratio and just three homers allowed.