There are three points in the baseball season which provide the most roster movement and thus prove to be of great interest for my CATRC and I: the end of spring training, the non-waiver trading deadline and the waiver deadline/September call-up period.
Well, of those three periods, the waiver/call-up period took the cake for busiest time of the year here at Wrigley Roster Jenga HQ. In a span of just a few hours, the Cubs added three new names, via both avenues, to their all-time roster, with more potentially on their way come the end of the MiLB season.
First, the call-ups:
Quintin Berry was signed to a minor league deal last week and it was pretty obvious why. In 117 career MLB games, he has swiped 21 bases and not once has he been caught. Additionally, he put up 35 stolen bases this season while playing in AAA for the Sawx.
If you haven't connected the dots yet, Quintin is Berry, Berry fast and will be a pinch-runner extraordinaire, a la Dave Roberts of the 2004 Bostonian squad.
Seeing this coming a mile away, I was able to score this super shiny refactor from the 2006 edition of Bowman Chrome for just 17 cents with free shipping on the same day he signed. Shiny and cheap, what a combo!
One last thing about Berry, if and when the Cubs first wear their blue alternate uniforms this month, can you guess what that will make Quintin? Huh? Huh???????
A blue Berry!!!! Wocka Wocka.
I hope nobody severely injured themselves while reflexively smacking their forehead. Let's get back to our regularly scheduled program:
While I knew Berry was destined for September duty when he inked his minors pact, I was completely blindsided when I read that Trevor Cahill was getting the call as well. Still, I guess I'm batting .500; so, I'll take that.
After an exceptional sophomore season in 2010 (18-8, 2.97 ERA, All-Star), Cahill has quickly faded to mediocre and then to downright awful. He went 3-12 with a 5.61 ERA last season in AZ and was even worse this year for Atlanta, with his ERA ballooning to 7.52. Yikes!
When the Cubs signed him (just a few days before Berry), it looked to me like minor league depth and that maybe he'd get a chance next spring as an NRI. Well, what do I know? Maybe some bullpen work will serve him well.
For now, this card from the controversial 2010 Upper Deck set will represent Trevor in my CATRC, in hopes that he can reclaim just a little bit of the success he had that season.
But, the Cubs didn't just call up depth pieces, they also swung a fairly significant trade too:
Austin Jackson cost the Cubs only a PTBNL and some international spending money. With Jorge Soler out with an oblique injury and a plethora of defensively challenged outfield options, this deal may loom large.
Even though he hasn't had the same kind of success in Seattle as he had in Detroit, he at the very least upgrades the outfield defense. Not to mention, perhaps a move from the pitcher-friendly Safeco Field will do him some good as well.
This is the second deal the Cubs have made with the Mariners in the past week, having rid them of Fernando Rodney for cash considerations last Thursday.
Most importantly, since Austin was added to the fold before the end of August, he is officially eligible for postseason play. But, in order to make that happen, someone had to be designated off the roster:
Sorry Mike, but the Cubs just couldn't wait for you to regain your stroke any longer. It seems likely that a rebuilding club will claim him though, so here's hoping he lands on his feet somewhere.
Meanwhile, as I mentioned, both Berry and Cahill were minor league signings and thus were not already on the 40-man roster either. Thus, there will be some more goodbyes before the day is over. After James Russell's performance last night, I sure wouldn't mind if he got the axe!
That wraps up the flurry of roster moves made by the Cubs in the last 24 hours; however, that doesn't mean more call-ups are on the way. Prospects like Carl Edwards, Jr. and Christian Villanueva have been floated around to further flesh out the bullpen and the bench once the Iowa Cubs conclude their season.
The mood is tense!
For a roster junkie like me, this time of year can be pretty interesting and 2015 certainly didn't disappoint me, So many moving pieces and so many new faces!
I selfishly kind of hope that they add a couple more new names just so I can add some new cards to my CATRC... but, only if they help out the roster of course.
Plus, it's really nice that these kinds of move actually matter for the Cubs again this year, postseason eligibility, roster-strengthening and all that jazz. It's a good time to be a Cubs fan!