The Chicago Cubs must have decided that now was the time to try and sneak a couple guys through waivers.
According to Mark Gonzales, the Minnesota Twins have claimed lefty Brooks Raley off of waivers from the Cubs (UPDATE: Cubs confirm). Raley, 25, has seen time with the big league club each of the last two years, but his long-term future with the organization was uncertain. It had started to look like, if he was going to stick around, it was going to be in a bullpen role. But, with James Russell, Wesley Wright, Chris Rusin and Zac Rosscup in the fold, among others, it was probably going to be something of an uphill climb. In that regard, seeing Raley risked on waivers isn’t a huge surprise.
On the other hand, with Brett Marshall claimed by the Reds on waivers today, the Cubs had already opened up a spot for Jason Hammel. Why waive Raley, too? He had an option left, and the Cubs could have kept him on the 40-man until they absolutely needed a roster spot.
Perhaps it’s a signal that there’s another move on the way that requires a 40-man spot? Maybe. But more likely, as the opening line suggests, the Cubs simply felt like now was a decent time to try and slide a couple guys through waivers. No dice, apparently.
Side note: as recently discussed in the context of the Dodgers placing Scott Elbert on the 60-day DL to open up a spot for Paul Maholm, I have to wonder if the Cubs simply wanted to open up a spot for Hammel, could they have just placed Kyuji Fujikawa on the 60-day DL (Tommy John surgery)? If they could have done so, this is a further suggestion that the moves weren’t just about the roster spots, at least not immediately. Eventually, the Cubs may need a spot or two if they want to try and grab some of the inevitably available guys that are waived late in Spring Training, or if they want to add a guy or two that was brought in on a minor league deal.