The stash plan works.
About a week ago, the Chicago Cubs claimed 25-year-old reliever Alex Burnett off of waivers from the Orioles. They immediately plugged him into the bullpen, and he pitched a scoreless frame. Sweet.
But then the Cubs optioned Burnett to AAA Iowa, in favor of calling up fellow 25-year-old righty Zach Putnam. No biggy. Burnett had an option year left, and the Cubs probably wanted to get a look at Putnam.
But then the Cubs designated Burnett for assignment, and the Burnett plan became clear. Jed Hoyer recently mentioned that the Cubs had liked Burnett for a while, and had been hoping to have an opportunity to acquire him when the timing was right. Well, the timing was clearly right for the Cubs to pull it off: which is to say, it was obviously always the plan to grab Burnett off of waivers, and then time the subsequent transactions just right so that the Cubs could not only acquire Burnett, but they could then stash him at AAA Iowa without a 25-man OR 40-man roster burden attached to him.
That’s how it played out, and the Cubs essentially acquired an interesting 25-year-old AAA relief prospect scot free.