Down a utility man and a reliever thanks to yesterday’s trade, today the Chicago Cubs called up a utility man and a reliever from Iowa.
The identities are interesting, though. As we discussed this morning, the position player is Chris Valaika, who’s played well at AAA this year, and can play all over the diamond. He was not on the 40-man roster, so he has been added to one of the vacated spots. His selection came over guys like Logan Watkins and Josh Vitters, who are already on the 40-man roster, but who apparently do not figure prominently into the Cubs’ future plans. With Vitters’ abysmal 2014 season, that’s understandable, though Watkins hadn’t been that dramatically outplayed by Valaika.
In any case, it’s clear that the Cubs want to give Valaika a look before the season ends, and perhaps to determine whether he’s a fit for their bench next year.
On the pitching side, it’s Blake Parker getting called back up, and that’s a surprise. Why? Because Parker was just optioned to Iowa two days ago. My understanding is that an optioned player cannot be recalled for 10 days after being sent down. I know that if he’s replacing an injured player, there’s an exception to that rule. But Parker’s replacing a traded player, not an injured player, right?
Well, if the Cubs added Felix Doubront to the roster before placing him on the disabled list – which they would logically have to do – then Parker is technically replacing an injured player. It’s just that the injured player never actually played for the Cubs. Make sense?
(Aside: I don’t think there’s an exception for replacing a traded player, but maybe there should be. If the 10 day rule – which I apologize that I cannot seem to find in the CBA, though I’m pretty sure it’s a thing – is designed to prevent teams from effectively expanding their 25-man roster by constantly flipping guys up and down, then having an exception for replacing traded players makes sense (because teams can’t really game that exception). MLB’s roster rules are abstruse, lengthy, complicated, and inaccessible, but I do try to learn – and share – those rules to the best of my ability when confronted with the opportunity to do so. I think this is one of those opportunities, so I thought this was an interesting aside.)
At some point, the Cubs will have to figure out what they’re going to do with Kyuji Fujikawa, by the way, and they’ll also have to open up a bullpen spot for Neil Ramirez when his DL stint is up next weekend. It’s a fair guess that Chris Rusin could be bumped for one of those two, and maybe Parker gets bumped once again for the other. We’ll see.