MESA, Ariz. Randy Wells felt blindsided by the news on Thursday morning. The Cubs feel like theyre taking out a 2.705 million insurance policy in Des Moines.
Wells was optioned to Triple-A Iowa, where he will be stretched out as a starter in case of emergency instead of earning his money as the long man at Wrigley Field. The Cubs saw more upside with Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad in the rotation.
Im not going to sit here and lie and be the guy that says Im not disappointed, Wells said. Its a point in your career where you got to buckle down. You know what you want to do and maybe its a wakeup call to see its not that easy to stay here.
If you want to stay here, you got to work that much harder and hopefully the next time I get called up it will be the last time I have to deal with this.
General manager Jed Hoyer who identified pitching depth as a top offseason priority described the season as a six-month marathon and predicted that Wells will be making many starts for Chicago in 2012.
The Cubs reached a crisis point during the first week of last season, after Wells and Andrew Cashner got injured, wiping out 40 percent of the rotation.
This spring, Wells got only one start and made three Cactus League appearances total, giving up no runs in 7 13 innings. He also pitched in a B game and an intra-squad scrimmage. He was diplomatic when he was asked if he received a long enough look.
I dont know, Wells said. It wasnt up to me. I cant really force my way into the lineup, so they obviously had a plan and they have a direction they want to go. (Ill) go down and work hard and continue to get better. Hopefully, when they need me, (Ill) come up and be ready.
At the age of 29, Wells is at a crossroads. Originally drafted as a catcher in the 38th round of the 2002 draft, he doesnt have pedigree. He briefly pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays as a Rule 5 pick in 2008. He also started the 2009 season in Iowa, before putting together a solid rookie year in Chicago (12-10, 3.05 ERA).
It was obviously a shock, Wells said. It makes you stronger, I guess. You go through these things (and) as big as that feeling in your stomach is the anger or disappointment or whatever it is you got to get past this.
You got to remember its your job. Theyre our bosses and they make the decisions and you just got to keep working.