The 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.