Following his second straight outing with four walks in less than four innings, Randy Wells was designated for assignment by the Cubs today (first reported by Bruce Miles on Twitter, as best as I can tell).
It's been a rough season and a half for Wells. After a solid, 3 fWAR rookie campaign he posted a mixed bag of a sophomore campaign. His ERA was riding high for most of the season before dipping down to a good but not great 4.26 ERA on the strength of a few forgettable September starts, and he was dogged by rumors of spending far too much time in various Chicago bars. On the other hand, Wells's FIP and GB% were almost exactly right in line with his 2009 numbers so it didn't look like there was much to worry about.
Wells started 2011 with a solid six strikeout, six inning outing against the DBacks but hit the DL the next day with a forearm strain. Cubs fans were already braced for bad news since Cashner was pulled from his starting rotation debut the same day, and the double dose of bad news killed whatever slim hope the team had for a playoff spot that year. In the interim, Casey Coleman, Ramon Ortiz, Doug Davis, Rodrigo Lopez, and James Russell combined for a truly epic amount of shitty pitching, which understandably led the Cubs to bring back the previously reliable Wells as soon as possible. Wells was clearly not ready, having lost several mph off his fastball and was hit hard by opposing hitters. He seemed to right the ship late in the year, but given the results this spring and in AAA/MLB this year, it looks like he just isn't the same pitcher.
Wells still has two solid seasons under his belt so he'll probably catch on with some other team, but this is still a bummer to see. He spent a long time getting to the majors after converting from catcher, and it's discouraging to lose the handle as soon as it seems you're making the leap. He can be added to the long list of players (e.g. Rich Hill) that are poster children for how ephemeral success can be as a starting pitcher in professional baseball.