Cubs lefty Brad Wieck underwent a cardiac ablation procedure to prevent the recurrence of an intermittent atrial flutter that was discovered during his annual spring physical, the team announced. He’ll rest and rehab from the procedure next week before being reevaluated, at which point a timeline for his return to the mound will become clearer. A return in a few weeks’ time isn’t out of the question though, ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers tweets.
The Cubs acquired Wieck, 28, in the trade that sent righty Carl Edwards Jr. to the Padres prior to last year’s trade deadline. The lefty didn’t make his Cubs debut until being brought to the big leagues as a September call-up, but he gave the team some reason for optimism when he held opponents to four runs on two hits and four walks with 18 strikeouts in 10 innings (3.60 ERA, 2.71 FIP).
Wieck’s previous work with the Padres had been unsightly (18 runs in 24 2/3 innings), but his ability to miss bats was on full display there as well. In total, Wieck has tossed 41 2/3 innings in the big leagues, and while his 4.97 ERA in that time isn’t much to look at, his 59-to-13 K/BB ratio is certainly intriguing. Notably, he’s fared better against righties (.287 wOBA) than lefties (.307) in his young career.
If Wieck isn’t ready to go to begin the season, Kyle Ryan becomes the Cubs’ lone plausible left-handed bullpen option on the 40-man roster. Prospect Justin Steele is on the 40-man but has yet to pitch above the Double-A level (where he struggled in 2019). The only other lefties on the 40-man roster are Jon Lester and Jose Quintana.
That could open the door for a non-roster invitee like Tyler Olson, Rex Brothers, Danny Hultzen or CD Pelham to get a look, although the Cubs could also just roll with a primarily right-handed relief corps early in the season as well. Wieck himself wasn’t a lock for a spot, given that he has a minor league option remaining, though his September showing put him in a good position.