Chicago Cubs Claim Mat Gamel Off of Waivers from the Brewers

brewers logoThe season may be over, but the Chicago Cubs’ waiver-grabbin’ ways will never rest!

Today, the Chicago Cubs claimed utility man Mat Gamel off of waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers. There was a time when Gamel was a top 50 prospect in all of baseball, but a rough debut in the bigs in his early-20s and then a myriad of injuries left him an odd man out as the Brewers figured out what they wanted to do this Winter as they reconstruct their roster.

In May 2012, Gamel tore his ACL, and missed the rest of the year after surgery. In Spring Training this year, Gamel tore it again. Once again, his season was over. That seriously sucks.

The 28-year-old can play first base, third base, as well as in the outfield – well, assuming he recovers from the second knee surgery – and could be a cheap bench option next year. He bats left-handed, and had a great walk rate in the minors (though it didn’t translate to the bigs in limited duty). He also hits for a great deal of power.

The Cubs had the second priority slot on Gamel (behind only the Marlins), so he didn’t make it very far before being grabbed. We’ll see if he actually lasts all offseason on the 40-man roster, or if this is a precursor to a subsequent procedural roster move. Either way, it’s a low-risk, decent-upside play on a guy who has talent, and who would be nice to have in Spring Training next year.

As for the immediate roster implications, I’ve got the roster at 40 before the Gamel move. There are a number of guys who will be departing soon, however, so there’s no real issue. We may just see someone DFA’d shortly before they would have been turned loose into free agency anyway.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

66 responses to “Chicago Cubs Claim Mat Gamel Off of Waivers from the Brewers”

  1. Kyle

    Over/under on Gamel’s next waiving? 3 weeks

    1. ETS

      When do rosters need set for rule 5 purposes?

      1. hansman1982

        November 20th-ish

    2. King Jeff

      He will have been claimed and waived by the Blue Jays twice already by then.

    3. jt

      Could Gamel be a hedge against possible near future trades?
      If they don’t trust Olt and move Valbuena or Barney they would at least have another (bad) option.

      1. JM

        That’s a whole lot of not trusting in your players. Hope that’s not the case.

  2. Pat

    Meh. It’s not a Tommy John rehab guy, but I guess it will do.

    1. King Jeff

      Off subject, but I read a Will Carroll article that said that 1/3 of all pitchers on opening day rosters last year had at one time undergone TJ surgery. Crazy.

    2. JungleDrew

      ACL is like the Tommy John of knees… I had my ACL replaced a couple years ago after an unfortunate Kareoke injury and I was in PT with Jamie Parr (Braves Pitcher recovering from Tommy John) and we got to compare scars and rehab stories…. The point I was trying to make is if we’re going after Tommy Johns for pitchers ACL’s seem appropriate for Hitters

      1. On The Farm

        “an unfortunate Karaoke injury”

        Well there is something you don’t hear very often.

        1. willis

          Hey Jamie, how did you injure your elbow which lead to your surgery? I’m a major league pitcher. One day it just snapped. You?

          Karaoke.

          There has to be a good story behind this. Do tell.

        2. CubFan Paul

          Ever get “texting elbow”?

          1. On The Farm

            No, but I have had Wii elbow. Had to retire from Dance Dance Revolution because I can’t experience that kind of pain again.

          2. jayrig5

            I had golf elbow. Similar to tennis, although it might be a slightly different tendon, since the movement isn’t the same. Left arm. (I’m right handed.) I felt it after I finished playing, and it hurt for 3 days. (Slight pain at rest, great pain when moving/lifting anything.) Haven’t had a recurrence since.

            Just realized that it’s very likely no one cares.

            1. auggie55

              I had golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) also. I got it simply by doing a lot of bike riding one summer before I started wearing gloves. I had it in both elbows. It was amazing how much pain I felt doing simple things like putting canned foods away in the cabinets. I don’t dare ride a bike without gloves now.

        3. CubsFaninMS

          I guess that is better than an “unfortunate schmelting accident”.

        4. JM

          And at least a pretty good story, undoubtedly involving copious amounts of alcohol…

      2. Voice of Reason

        Were you doing Kung Fu Fighting and started kicking on the stage and blew it out?

      3. hansman1982

        “…seem appropriate for Hitters”

        Because of the discussion from earlier today, my brain read this as:

        “…seem appropriate for Hitlers”

  3. Aaron

    Other than his injuries, the knock on Gamel has always been his defense. 1b was the only place he seemed able to play acceptably. As of now, I just don’t see where he fits with the Cubs apart from organizational depth. But taking up a 40-man spot? Hmm..Although I’m seeing he remains on the 60 day DL for now at least.

  4. Coldneck

    I can’t imagine him staying on the roster long. Hopefully we can waive and stash him in AAA. Otherwise, someone else can have him.

  5. Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Can he play catcher?

    1. ETS

      nice.

  6. Professor Snarks

    Off topic, but this is from K.Law’s chat today.

    Bill (Chicago)

    Thank you for providing your opinions online for the casual fan. I don’t care if you are wrong or right…it is fun to read. Do you think the Cubs could or should try to trade for Stanton? Would Baez and Almora be a good offer, too little or too much?
    Klaw (2:09 PM)

    I’m glad you don’t care if I’m wrong or right since I’m wrong a lot. I think that’s too much – could easily see that being two players who both end up about as valuable as Stanton is.

    1. Eternal pessemist

      Wow!!!!

    2. Cyranojoe

      Hahaha that would be so awesome if it pans out that way.

    3. hansman1982

      “I think that’s too much – could easily see that being two players who both end up about as valuable as Stanton is.”

      Awwwww shit, Blub is floating face down in his cheerios.

    4. Jon

      Maybe we can center a Stanton deal around Darwin Barney, instead of Almora, since they are the exact same type of player.

      1. fortyonenorth

        huh?

        1. On The Farm

          Jon is playing out a joke in which Blublud said Almora and Barney are exactly the same player. Seems to cause more confusion that laughs this week.

      2. ssckelley

        lmao, nice one Jon!

  7. Scotti

    “He … had a great walk rate in the minors (though it didn’t translate to the bigs in limited duty).”

    His walk rate seems to be around 9% in MLB. I think that qualifies as translating. It was around 12% in his only real extended stay.

  8. willis

    So, they’ve moved from a TJS obsession to ACLs? I guess that’s progression.

    1. YourResidentJag

      :) Welp, willis, there’s our offseason. Bring on 2014!

      1. willis

        Hahaha…sky’s the limit.

  9. Sacko

    Ist and 3rd base are well occupied so..oh yea we have an opening for manager!

  10. MightyBear

    http://www.milb.com/news/awards/y2013/index.jsp

    Luke was probably going to post this but the minor league Milby awards are up for vote and there is a lot of Cubs prospects and a lot of Baez. Vote if you have time and want to help.

  11. Lou Brock

    Cubs should pluck Dean Anna from Padres as their Rule V pick this year. 26 year old LH hitting 2B, SS, 3B who led the PCL in hitting this year. Carpenter from the Cards did not make it to bigs until he was 27. This guy is same type of player.
    He at least will hit better than Baeney or Valbuena and could be the bridge to Alcantara.

    1. ETS

      I see what you did there

      Campana steals a run
      After swiping second base, Aces speedster Tony Campana decided that he liked it so much he would go for third as well. He completed the hat trick of thefts by stealing home — all with two outs in the inning.

    2. ETS

      okay I swear I clicked reply to the other post. Sorry about that.

    3. CubFan Paul

      nice walk rate.

  12. Lou Brock

    Sorry that’s Barney.

  13. jon

    yawn

  14. kubphan82

    Bad teams feasting on bad teams discards…
    Lovely ;)

    I’m joking, well, with some truth to it, there was a time for Gamel, here’s to his upside?

  15. Frank

    Someone tell Theo that Quasimodo is a fictional character and cannot be picked up on the waiver wire.

    1. Jason Powers

      Rudy Rudy Rudy!
      rudy1.jpg

  16. Jon

    Shots fired @ the Capitol in DC, if anyone is following the major news outlets.

  17. Die hard

    Cubs lead the league in one stat– Dumpster diving

  18. Jason Powers

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/540696 For the select group of people who think they walk on water…doitlive.jpeg

  19. Blackhawks1963

    Gamel is the new Matt Murton / Tyler Colvin for the Cubs. Or in other words, a AAAA player that is now here to become Triple A filler and not much else. Not a move worthy of much response.

  20. Spearman

    This takes up a rule 5 slot, correct?
    I’m not sure I like that. Of course, they don’t care what I like.

    1. On The Farm

      He is not a lock to keep that spot, they could have claimed him just to see if they can DFA him and hopefully no other team claims him.

      1. Blackhawks1963

        Every team needs warm bodies in Spring Training and to round out their Triple A roster. That’s precisely what Matt Gamel is going to be for the Cubs…assuming of course he even makes it to spring before being cut by the Cubs. Gamel = organizational filler. See Donnie Murphy as another example.

      2. Spearman

        Maybe so.

  21. cubzforlife

    How much do these guys earn in the minors?

    1. hansman1982

      It’s a sliding scale based on years of service at each level and what level they are at but somewhere between $18,000 and $60,000 a year.

  22. itzscott

    Yeah Baby….. Setting themselves up for next year’s trading deadline! Another potentially flippable “asset”!!

    I think I’m going to start calling Theo “Flipper”

  23. Seth N.

    we give them grief, but I think this is a sound, low risk, strategy available to us as a currently BAD team. And his track record has been better than meh.

    1. AlwaysNextYear

      His track record is like a bowl of Rice Krispies, Snap-Crackle-Pop.

  24. October Baseball Doing Its Thing and Other Bullets | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    […] also spoke to new utility man Mat Gamel (claimed off of waivers from the Brewers), who says he feels like his second ACL surgery was a success. His second ACL injury occurred in […]

  25. The Dodgers DFA Alex Castellanos and I Start Rambling About a Flyer and Other Bullets | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    […] Why did I devote a lengthy first Bullet to Castellanos? Well, he’s the kind of guy I could see the Cubs considering in their early offseason roster shuffling. He costs just a few bucks and a roster spot to grab, and then you have over a month to decide whether he’s worth keeping on the roster all offseason (you could even try to grab him, chat him up like a bar hotty, and then waive him in the hopes that he’ll clear and you can retain him on a minor league deal later in the year). Although his 2013 season was down, he hit .320/.386/.573 in 2011 between AA and AAA, and then .328/.420/.590 at AAA in 2012. He’s got a decent walk rate (9.1%), and doesn’t strike out too much to concern you. He bats righty, which is something the Cubs could actually be lacking in the outfield at the AAA/MLB level. Moreover, he played all over the outfield this year, and played all over the field in 2012. While it doesn’t seem likely, the possibility of a super utility type is there – at least, it’s “there” enough that it might be worth a waiver claim and then a short-term evaluation process in Arizona. It’s a flyer, and it’s one of the cheapest kinds – not unlike the one the Cubs have already taken with Mat Gamel. […]

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