The Cubs have galvanized their roster with a trade that brings lefty reliever Justin Wilson and veteran catcher Alex Avila to Chicago. Thing is, their addition will require a little shuffling of the lineup. Not only are the Cubs at the limit of the 25-man roster, but Isaac Paredes not even being on the 40-man means a move there as well.
The addition of Wilson gives the Cubs yet another trustworthy reliever who can function in pressure situations, thereby moving others down a notch and solidifying the bullpen too to bottom. Jose Quintana fills out the rotation for the remainder of this season while allowing plenty of room on the payroll to replace the starters they’ll lose this winter.
Barring injury, there’s no longer a need to continue streaming arms at the back end of the pen. Then you’ve got Mike Montgomery as an insurance policy against any serious rotation issues. And with only a month to go before rosters expand, there’s not as much fear of burning guys out early. So what happens?
First, the easy moves. Victor Caratini will be optioned back to AAA Iowa in order to play every day and continue his development as a receiver. In all likelihood, Justin Grimm — who has an option remaining and whose performance has left a little to be desired –will share the shuttle with Caratini. There’s also a little-known codicil in the Cubs team bylaws that says they’re not allowed to carry two relievers named Justin, thereby ensuring Grimm’s (at least temporary) departure.
Wow, that was easy. With the 25-man set, we move on to the matter of clearing space on the larger roster. The Cubs have several pitchers stashed on the 40-man, many of whom are quite expendable despite harboring a decent measure of potential.
Aaron Brooks (RHP) has posted a 6.18 ERA across 119 innings at AAA and, at 27 years old, he’s getting a little overripe in terms of prospect status. Seth Frankoff (RHP) has posted slightly better numbers than Brooks, but he’ll turn 29 in less than a month. Then you’ve got Jack Leathersich (LHP), the 27-year-old strikeout machine who needs to cut down on walks if he wants to catch on at the next level.
Because of their age and performance, my money would be on one of those three. Alec Mills (RHP) and Dylan Floro (RHP) could be in that mix as well, though I’d be pretty surprised to see either culled from the roster at this point. The Cubs will have some decisions to make on further changes to the 40-man this winter, though, and we’ll see more movement in the offseason.
These moves are expected to come Tuesday when the Cubs are back in action and must finalize the roster.
So much for my predictions…
#Cubs make trade official. They DFA Dylan Floro. 25-man moves to come before Tuesday's game vs. Diamondbacks.
— Bruce Miles (@BruceMiles2112) July 31, 2017