To the devastation of many fans, today the Chicago Cubs designated Tony Campana for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for recently-signed outfielder Scott Hairston. The Cubs will now have 10 days to trade, release or waive Campana.
Hairston, 32, got a two-year, $5 million deal (with another $1 million in possible incentives), and it was always logical that, if the Cubs had to resort to dumping someone off the roster (rather than a trade), it was going to be an outfielder getting bounced. Campana, for all the fanfare, has a relatively limited skill set. He’s crazy fast, but he doesn’t offer much at the plate, or much on defense (except for that which is granted by the aforementioned speed). If someone had to be bounced, I think the Cubs made the right choice.
What happens now? Well, I still believe that Campana has value to the right team as a 25th man. That game-changing speed would look mighty nice coming off the bench for a competitive team. Perhaps the Cubs will be able to work a minor trade for Campana.
Otherwise, they’ll be forced to waive him, and I’m not convinced he’d clear waivers. Fortunately for the Cubs, right now is a very crowded time on teams’ rosters, so it’s tough to pick up a guy without dumping someone on your own roster. Unfortunately for the Cubs, the right team might be willing to do that for Campana, if he’s a perfect fit. If he does clear, he can be sent to Iowa, where he’ll have to earn playing time in an outfield that could feature Brett Jackson, Jae-Hoon Ha, Josh Vitters (at times), Junior Lake (at times), and Brian Bogusevic (if he doesn’t make the big club). Of course, in the interim, he’d stick around at big league camp and fight for a big league roster spot just like he would have been anyway.
We’ll see how this plays out. I’d obviously rather the Cubs didn’t lose Campana for nothing, but his departure wouldn’t be a crushing blow to the 2013 Cubs or beyond.