The Cubs made a small deal with the Rays Tuesday, sending righties Adrian Sampson and Manny Rodríguez to the Rays in exchange for righty reliever Josh Roberson. Tampa will also receive some international bonus pool money in the trade. Sampson has not pitched in the majors this season after opening the season at Triple-A and then going to the IL as the result of a right meniscus injury. He was subsequently placed on the 60-day IL to free up a 40-man spot and was activated and outrighted on July 24.
Cubs and Rays make a small deal according to sources: Adrian Sampson, Manny Rodríguez and IFA money go to the Rays for minor-league pitcher Josh Roberson.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) August 1, 2023
Rodríguez spent a little time in the big leagues in each of the two previous seasons but has been in Iowa for all of 2023 after being outrighted off the 40-man roster back in January. A hard thrower who put up huge strikeout numbers in the minors, he struggled with the zone in the majors and walked nearly as many batters (21) as he struck out (24) in 31.1 total innings.
The 27-year-old Roberson seems to have some of those same control issues, as evidenced by 115 free passes in 230 innings, but he’s also logged 251 minor-league strikeouts. There are some obvious concerns due to having just reached Triple-A at his age, not to mention the fact that the Ray are famous for both their pitching development and winning trades.
This feels like one of those deals where both teams say “What the hell, why not?” and swap guys who didn’t have futures in their respective organizations. Since it won’t impact the Cubs’ roster for now and probably not this season at all, look for them to add at least one more bullpen arm ahead of the deadline.