Today, the Chicago Cubs announced that they’ve acquired reliever Justin Germano from – surprise – the Boston Red Sox for cash considerations. In a corresponding move, the Cubs designated reliever Jairo Asensio for assignment.
Germano, 29, made just one appearance for the Red Sox this year – a 5.2 inning relief appearance, in which he looked good. But, when Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford were ready to return to the team, the Red Sox needed 40-man space, and DFA’d Germano. The Cubs presumably claimed Germano when he was waived, and then the two sides worked out a cash deal (the Cubs probably paid the Red Sox a nominal fee for taking on Germano’s contract, a minor league deal).
Before this year, Germano was an up-and-down reliever for the Indians in 2010 and 2011, with modest success in 2010, and very little success in 2011. He’s a cheap lottery ticket with a low payout, and it’s fine with me that the Cubs picked him up. After a 5.2 inning outing with the Sox, who knows? Maybe the Cubs will try to convert him into a starter and see what happens. Indeed, Germano pitched quite well as a starter this year for AAA Pawtucket (2.40 ERA and 0.905 WHIP in 16 starts). I suspect the Cubs will have an open rotation spot or two soon.
Actually, the more I think about it, I think that’s exactly what will happen – when/if Ryan Dempster and/or Matt Garza are traded, Germano will get a shot in the rotation. It’s not as if he’s blocking a host of other great options.
And, the more I think about it, I think Germano might even be taking Dempster’s spot in the rotation as soon as tomorrow. That’s why the Cubs can say, honestly, that Casey Coleman is heading to St. Louis in case Germano can’t get there in time – Coleman isn’t technically the back-up for Dempster. He’s the back-up for Germano. But Germano is the back-up for Dempster. Coleman might stick in the bullpen right now either way, because if Dempster is dealt, the Cubs will need an additional pitcher anyway.
As for Asensio, he put up a decent ERA in his 14.2 innings with the Cubs (3.07), but was obviously way down on the totem pole, and his peripherals weren’t exciting (including an hilarious 0.73 K/BB ratio). He had no future with the team, so they’ll prefer to take a chance on Germano.