Craig Counsell and the Chicago Cubs are in dire need of an insane run to catch up in the NL Central. The Milwaukee Brewers are practically running away with the division while the Cubs have the same amount of wins as the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds. A spark plug is necessary to help a squad that currently has Javier Assad as one of their primary pitchers. But, their latest move raised a lot of eyebrows. It especially got a lot of attention from New York Mets fans as they notched Jorge Lopez after his incident against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

A big shot after the Mets release

May 20, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jorge Lopez (52) stands on the mound in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
© David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Jorge Lopez has been signed by the Cubs, per Patrick Mooney and Will Sammon of The Athletic. This former Mets pitcher was released after he lashed out when he faced the Dodgers' batters. He ended up hurling his mitt and shouting at the officials at that game. Eventually, the Mets front office deemed this behavior as unacceptable especially when he cussed after the game.

The Cubs are now expected to put Jorge Lopez into the minors while he also retains his salary with the Mets. But, it might not take long before Craig Counsell calls him up. The relievers in their system have not been performing up to standards which is why this signing could be a turning point. To put it into perspective, they are the 24th-ranked squad with a collective ERA of 4.47. The fact that the injury bug has bitten them quite hard with Keegan Thompson and Yency Almonte sidelined for a while means that the timeline for his Cubs debut looms.

A big issue that has affected his performance on the field is his mental health. It clearly reached a tipping point during that Dodgers matchup which led to the release. But, his history as a reliever proves that he is still a worthy pickup for the Cubs as they chase the NL Central title and a shot at the postseason despite a lot of woes.

What are the Cubs getting?

Lopez is not an ace by any means. But, his performances have been serviceable enough to win some games when he was still with the Mets and other teams as a reliever. He notched a 3.76 ERA before the incident happened. But, Counsell's Cubs may want to be wary and develop his pitches. Lopez recorded a 17.1% rate in strikeouts while also hitting ground balls at a percentage of 44.2%.

But, the Cubs could also bank on his potential once his issues eventually get resolved. His 2022 run with the Baltimore Orioles was a huge example of this. Lopez ended up with a 60% rate for ground balls while striking out opponents 27.6% of the time. The sweetest thing to come out of his production was when he restricted batters to an astounding 1.68 earned runs in a little over 48 innings of pitching.

It's a big gamble for the Cubs but they know what they are getting after his time with the Mets. Hopefully, Lopez can rekindle his inner pitching demon and help this team to go atop the NL Central by fall.