Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs designated pitcher Mitch Atkins for assignment, which removes him from the 40-man roster. The Cubs will have 10 days to trade or release Atkins, or, if he clears waivers, they can outright him back to the minors.
It’s possible the Cubs looked ahead to next year, and saw that there wasn’t going to be a spot for Atkins, who has clearly reached the age and stage where he’s either going to make the bigs or not. In that regard, the Cubs may be trying to do him a favor. Or, they may simply be trying to keep him, but take him off the 40-man roster.
The timing seems a bit strange, as the Cubs will not be adding anyone to their 40-man roster until after the season (likely prospects they’re seeking to protect from the Rule Five Draft), so I don’t really understand the need to do this right now, as opposed to a couple week from now.
Atkins, 25, had a 5.25 ERA for the Cubs over 12 relief innings in 2009 and 2010.