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Today the Cubs claimed 28-year-old reliever Jairo Asencio off of waivers from the Cleveland Indians. The Indians had acquired Asencio earlier in the year from the Braves for cash.

Asencio, a righty, pitched deceptively well for the Indians in 25.2 innings of work. He had an ugly 5.96 ERA, but a decent 1.364 WHIP and a nice 2.63 K/BB rate. He has very good numbers in the high minors in recent years, but you might expect that given his advanced age. He’ll settle into the bullpen and be used, for now, in a middle relief role.

To make room for Asencio, the Cubs had to remove someone from the roster, and that someone is Michael Bowden.

Bowden, 25, has been a disappointment since coming to the Cubs in the Marlon Byrd trade back in April (7.84 ERA and 1.97 WHIP in 9.2 innings). As a player without options left, the Cubs had no choice but to designate Bowden for assignment if they wanted to try and shuffle him down to AAA. The team will have 10 days to trade, release, or waive Bowden, and I’d expect they’ll be trying for the latter. If he goes unclaimed, the Cubs can send him to Iowa.

There isn’t much to be excited about – or bummed about – in this decision. It would stink to lose Bowden for nothing, but he hadn’t shown much worth fretting about. As for Asencio, shrug. There are some nice peripherals, I suppose.

If Bowden doesn’t clear waivers, the Cubs will have only borderline non-prospect Hunter Cervenka to show for the Byrd deal. Then again, Byrd wasn’t worth a whole lot.

  • Cubs Dude

    So the Cubs gave Byrd to the Sox for nothing, and paid his full salary? Great..

    • WGNstatic

      Yeah, guys with an 0.070 BA and a $6.5M contract just don’t bring as much in trade value as they used to.

      • Cubs Dude

        Apparently, they bring back nothing..

        • JulioZuleta

          400K in salary relief and a shitty prospect is worth Marlon Byrd. In 2010 I was screaming from the mountain top for Hendry to sell high on then-All-Star Marlon Byrd. Of course that didn’t happen and this played out.

      • Kyle

        Which is why you don’t sell low.

        • JulioZuleta

          I know, but he became a sunk cost and a warm body taking up ABs and an OF spot that are now being better used. Once his trade value got Hendry’d, it was time just to get rid of him to make room for Campana/Mather/Jackson in an eventual callup.

          • Kyle

            I struggle to call Joe Mather and Tony Campana “better used.”

            • Cubs Dude

              Marlon Byrd was train wreck bad at the plate the first month, no doubt. BUT i struggle to think that he had 0 value. And that is exactly what the Cubs got for him, which i find extremely frustrating. I love the new FO, but this is a move I cannot get behind in anyway. I said from the day they landed that turd for byrd, it was a stupid deal… Turd for Byrd, haha…

            • JulioZuleta

              Due to the fact that we now have a better idea of what both of them are (most of us knew what they were before), those ABs were better used. I can’t understand why anyone would be against that move. He wasn’t going to up his value significantly this year, and clearly wasn’t going to put us over the top this year. The real mistake was not trading him when he was actually worth something.

              • Cubs Dude

                I agree they should have traded him a long time ago, but why not dfa him, so he can fix his issues at the plate? And let him improve and showcase him before the all star break. I hated watching Byrd, but it seems he should have had minimal value at least.

  • Dan

    Hmm, I expect Bowden to go unclaimed but you never know. Hopefully he can join up with DeWitt and fill out the triple A roster for the next couple of years.

  • http://midwaymadness.com Mac Salk

    I don’t think Bowden will ever pan out. I saw him pitch in highschool and he looked mediocre then. I know a lot can change in 7 years or how ever long it has been, but if he wasn’t mowing people over in highschool or in Boston’s system why would anything change. I like this pick up from the Indians though.

    • oswego chris

      umm…I coached against Bowden in high school and he was the most dominant pitcher I have ever seen in high school…the problem is he is the same size he was, and is not throwing any harder than he did in high school…

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Well, the whole idea of a mediocre high school player getting to the pros is pretty ridiculous.  Almost anybody who makes it to the pros at any level is/was a stud at that level.

        • Patrick W.

          Yeah, lots of mediocre high school pitchers get drafted in the 1st round by the Boston RedSox.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I don’t know why we keep on doing this. We keep claiming these under achieving bullpen pitchers. There is a reason they were being sent down its because they just aren’t major league talent. Just because you can do it in the minors doesnt mean you can do it in the majors. Maybe once in a while you’ll find a diamond in rough but that almost never happens. But one guy the Cubs got was Josh Hamilton a couple years ago back in 05 or 06 I can’t remember. But the cubs didn’t stick with him and the Reds picked him up and then traded him for money I believe to the rangers. Could you imagine if the cubs would have held on to him and just given him a chance!?!? What could have been

    • MaxM1908

      No, I don’t believe that’s what happened with Hamilton. It was a pre-arranged deal where the Cubs claimed him (on the Rule 5 draft I believe?) and immediately traded him to another team. He was never “with” the Cubs.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        Oh yeah your right. my bad. I knew we claimed him but gave him to the reds. but still if jim hendry had some brains. He is a smarter baseball man then me and about 99.9% of people but he ruined this team with the contracts he gave. I dont want to hear anything about how the tribune had anything to do with forcing his hand. The soriano contract, no trade clauses, the pitiful drafting and just all the bad contracts set this team back more 5 years. I know I’m bringing up old news but it just irks me. 2007 and 2008 were nice and fun but those teams didn’t have a enough pitching to be a serious world series contender and the lineup was severely unbalanced. Sori was not worth those 2 good regular seasons. I’m just sick of losing and these little petty mediocre moves are just not doing anything to help win. Seriously the traded for bryd was a joke. We got michael bowden a joke and his career will most likely amount to nothing more then a marginal bordline major leaguer. Should have traded him last season or in the beginning of the season when had some value. It also ticks me that zambrano is having a decent season and we got a another borderline guy in Volstad who will never live up to the potential he once had. I am just so sick of losing. I know this rebuild will not be over night but if we realistically look at this team we are 5 years away from being a competitive team, and I honestly don’t know if I can wait that long. I definitely will because I love the cubs to death but if I see in this upcoming draft that Theo and Jed and company draft guys that in 3-5years are not contributing and turn out to be busts which definitely some of them will be because thats just baseball, I will be done with these guys. I trust Theo and Jed its just I thought I could be a patient fan and I want to see this done the right way and building from with in but I’m going to honestly struggle with waiting. Also another thing I wanna see is if we do build from with in and get good young guys in the future that are home grown I wanna see if Ricketts will pony up and spend. Because I hope he doesnt think this franchise will be run on a $100 million dollar budget. I want to see this team in the future have those cheap young home grown guys while also seeing them going out and combining them with a couple big free agent signings. When that day happens I hope Ricketts doesnt be cheap, because we are a major market and one the highest ticket prices so he better be willing to have a pay roll like the Phillies and Red Sox around a $170 million dollar budget. I’m sorry everybody for going on this rant and venting but I am tired of seeing petty almost worthless moves. This is just a die hard who wants to desperately see his team compete. Sorry. Hopefully its worth the wait

    • RoughRiider

      Hamilton was drafted in the rule 5 draft for the Reds in a pre-arrainged deal in 2006. It wasn’t as if the Cubs drafted him and then gave up on him. They just didn’t know what he was going to do and were worried about his past or they would have drafted him for themselves and kept him. Hamilton was traded by the Reds for two players not sold for money.

  • ibcnu2222 (John)

    Enough with what ifs with Hamilton. We drafted as favor to the Reds. We had no intention of keeping him.

    • Shawon O’Meter

      It’s easy not to bemoan over someone we never had. It was a pre-arranged favor deal, can we put this to bed now, please? It’s the Reds that should feel pretty stupid for trading him to Texas. In fact, some believe it rivals the worst trade in franchise history with the Frank Robinson deal.

  • Mike S

    Finally. Even though Bowden was a local guy, he was brutal. I don’t know what Theo & Company saw in that guy.

    • Jesse

      Same with Stewart and Volstad.

    • Joe

      Yes, that was a very bad trade. Well, as Brett said though, Byrd was a done deal no matter what.

  • rhino70

    I’m pretty sure that Theo and Jed have stated that finding bullpen help was the easiest thing to do. Obviously, the DFA and waiver wire route are a couple of the methods they’ll use.

    Unless I’ve missed someone, they’re 1 for 2. They missed on Bowden, who was DFA’ed by the Red Sox before being included in the Byrd trade. They struck gold with Camp, who was released by Seattle.

    Not a bad percentage, considering all it’s really cost them is Marlon Byrd.

  • clark addison

    As I recall, the Cubs didn’t know who they were supposed to pick for the Reds in that Rule V draft. The Reds finally told them when their number came up.

  • Big Joe

    Sorry, but I didn’t need to see more at bats for Campana and Mather to know that they are utility guys, at very best. And this new guy? Same brutal MLB numbers. Another lottery ticket that will end with the same result. Wonderful job, front office.

  • nkniacc

    why not try and see if you can catch lightning in a bottle? its not like the cubs have anyone in AAA that should be in the bullpen right now so why not see if you can get a serviceable player. Be interesting to see who if anyone claims Bowden

  • Big Joe

    ?Seriously? Catch lightning in a bottle? Translation: “Unmm, let’s see if we can get really lucky here”. Good teams aren’t born out of luck. You wonder if anyone will claim Bowden off waivers? Doubtful. There’s only one team in baseball that would. Luckily for us, they happen to be the same team that just DFA’d him.

  • nkniacc

    This was a lets see what we have year anyway. Have you noticed the Cubs aren’t very good this year. So take the chance, don’t start someones arb clock thats not ready yet and see what happens. If no one take Bowden send him to Iowa.

  • Big Joe

    You’re right. Don’t accelerate anyone’s arbitration timeline. I agree. But, don’t replace one shitty pitcher with another one. This year is a year that will show us what we have, both on the field, AND in the front office. I just want to see sound decisions made. This was not one. I realize that it’s taboo around here to question…let alone, criticize Theo/Hoyer…but, they’ve taken on guys with no history of success, and SHITTY numbers, that have been let go by other teams. BETTER TEAMS. I don’t want another team’s trash. Hell, Hendry didn’t make a habit of do that stupid shit. Yes, this is a year to “see what we have”, and these are the type of moves that are/will be indicative of their style…I, for one, am fearful of the future.

    • Eric

      You keep complaining about the what jed and theo are doing in giving 26’ish year old a chance to stick like there is some other option. But guess what, the reason they have to do that is because JH left us with a crap team with hardly any assets. They are trying to build assets out of essentially nothing. And I think they have done a great job so far. IE: Cashner into Rizzo huge improvement, Marshall last year into Wood Sappelt and Torreyes. The guys they are gonna get aren’t gonna be that good unless you let go of one of your better players. What did you want, them to spend $230 million on Fielder? Guess what, LaHair is hitting better than him. They are building this team the right way. And you will see it when you see the result after a couple years of their great work. Until then if you want to complain about legitimate things I understand, but just to rant endlessly is really annoying.

  • @cubsfantroy

    I didn’t read through all of the replies, but I just want to add that I am saddened that he didn’t work out. I was hoping he would be a good reliever for us. Hopefully no one claims him and he can’t work out whatever problems he is having in the minors.

  • Big Joe

    If you think that LaHair will outhit Fielder for the entire year, then you must be drunk. And, if you think ANY of the pieces the Cubs picked up for Marshall will pan out, you are soarly mistaken. I have every right to complain. When we are claiming another team’s garbage, and getting totail shit for, arguably, the best lefty reliever in the national league, there are legitimate complaints to be made. I am not ranting. You just don’t understand what I’m saying, I guess.

    • Eric

      I’m just curious what you want them to do? Without your personal opinion on what would be better, it’s just an annoying rant on what’s bad. I don’t know how you could dismiss all 3 guys they got for Marshall so quickly. I really like Torreyes, he’s got great contact ability. Also have you checked how Marshall is doing this year? it’s a pretty down year for him, what would have been his last year for us. So either we would have had to pay him 36 mil for 4 years so see him leave, and have nothing to show for it. Who knows what will happen with Marshall. Remember Marmol had the filthiest stuff in the MLB for a couple years, now everyone wants to get rid of him, but no one wants him. It’s all about building assets, this team sorely needs them. And they were not gonna compete with Marshall and Fielder on this team. It’s gonna take alot more work than that.

      • Jimmy james

        Agreed, love Marshall but he was a luxury that this squad didnt need….

        • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

          I wanted the Cubs to sign Marshall to a 10 year extension and make him the closer but anytime you can turn a 28 year old setup guy who was going to become a free agent into a 25 year old outfielder with a .287 .344 .419 triple slash in AAA, a league average starting pitcher (who is 25), and a 19 year old second base prospect I say you are not doing too bad.

          You can bemoan that Marshall would be a nice piece in our bullpen but this is a case of the front office selling high and getting something nice in return. Odds are none of these three are impact players but then again Marshall was a setup reliever.

  • Eric

    And I don’t think LaHair is going to outperform Fielder. But the Tigers are paying Fielder and average of almost 25 million a year for the next 8 years. We are paying LaHair near league minimum. And he’s showing he might actually be a legit hitter/late bloomer. Theo and Jed are already laying the foundation of a solid core. Guys like Castro, Garza, and Shark were already here. many people thought we’d have to trade Garza to get Rizzo. But we stole him for Cashner, though while good, is an injury risk reliever. Rizzo is a gold glove defense and has a bright future with the bat. And we still have Garza to extend or trade for even more assets. In one short offseason the new boys are already laying the foundation to a really strong core by making the right moves, and not being in an “OMG WE MUST COMPETE NOW” mode and paying insane dollars for free agents. Rizzo, Jackson, Castro, Shark next year. And I can’t wait to see what Theo and Co get at the trade deadline and next offseason. Even Vitters is starting to look better. It takes patience, but I think we are doing this the right way finally.

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