CHICAGO -- The Cubs have done the heaviest lifting they will do before the trade deadline, in acquiring Aroldis Chapman, one of the two best relievers available. But with a little less than 20 hours before Monday's trade deadline, they will drop one more veteran player into the rumor mix, with a national television audition.
The Cubs have rearranged their rotation, pushing other starters back by one day, so that they could call up left-hander Brian Matusz from the minors to start against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday Night Baseball. The 29-year-old lefty has more than six years in the big leagues with the Baltimore Orioles, mostly as a reliever, but he was cut loose by the O's earlier this season.
He has an out in his contract with the Cubs, and the team needed to decide by Tuesday whether to add him to the major league roster.
Matusz, a former No. 1 pick with a lot of experience, is someone the Cubs think is better than he showed with the Orioles earlier this year. So Matusz will have a chance to show the Cubs what he has against a Mariners lineup that generally leans left, with Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, etc.
He also gets to show 29 other teams how he has made adjustments. The Cubs could keep him for themselves, or perhaps Matusz will draw interest from other teams before the trade deadline, in a market that is regarded to be historically thin in starting pitching.
After Matusz reached free agency, the Cubs sent him a presentation, in an effort to sign him, about specific adjustments they thought he could make with his legs in his delivery; Kyle Evans, the team's director of major league scouting, generated the ideas.
The Cubs have felt those changes have helped Matusz, and in particular, they've helped his changeup. In two starts with Triple-A Iowa, Matusz allowed two earned runs, seven hits and three walks, striking out 11.
This represents a chance for Matusz to jump-start a career on a big stage, against Seattle's Felix Hernandez, with the whole baseball world watching for the next best deal.