The Cubs marked their 7-1 victory over the Pirates in Sunday night’s Little League Classic by beefing up their bullpen, signing four 12-year-old pitchers to big league contracts.
“Anytime you can add talent to a depleted bullpen, you go out and do it,” said Cubs President Theo Epstein. “We’re confident these kids will make an immediate impact.”
The Cubs have lost 13 games when leading after the seventh inning this year. Since Little League games only go six innings, it’s not known how the young pitchers will fare late in games.
“Yes, it’s an unknown, but we feel good about it,” said Epstein. “It’s not like they can do any worse than what we’ve seen this season.”
For their part, the newly signed Little Leaguers were ecstatic about their new jobs, even though signing with the Cubs means immediately forgoing their amateur careers, including the teams’ remaining Little League World Series games.
“I’m so excited,” said Connor Johnson of the Midwest Region’s Bowling Green Eastern. “I can’t wait to get Anthony Rizzo’s autograph, play catch with Javy Baez, and bean Joey Votto with my 60-mile an hour heater.”
Added Johnson: “I heard they have unlimited bubble gum in the dugouts too. This is going to be awesome.”