After months of struggling, the Chicago Cubs have finally decided to send Junior Lake to AAA Iowa, where he’ll finish out the minor league season over the next few weeks (Gordon Wittenmyer). Presumably he’ll then come back up to the Cubs went rosters expand in early September, and, depending on the Iowa playoff situation, he might not even use up an option year in the process (if he’s down fewer than 20 days total, no option used).
Lake is being sent down to accommodate the theoretically-temporary call-up of Dan Straily, who starts tomorrow against the Mets. So far, the Cubs have said it’s a one-start thing, which would mean Straily will go back down to Iowa immediately after the game (when the Cubs will play short a positional guy).
Since Lake can’t come back to replace Straily, and the Cubs will need a positional guy … it’s going to be interesting. Does Mike Olt come back after crushing at AAA Iowa? But are the strikeout issues really behind him?
Or do the Cubs bring up an outfielder like Jorge Soler? We discussed his timeline earlier this week, and I leave open the possibility that he could come up before September, and, like Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara before him, start the process of adjusting to and learning from big league pitching in advance of 2015.
Maybe the Cubs will stay conservative and give Josh Vitters one more look, or bring up another outfielder already on the 40-man, Matt Szczur. Neither is performing all that well offensively at AAA Iowa this year, but you never know.
It’s also possible that there are other, conjunctive roster moves this weekend that clarify things further. The Cubs do have an extra 40-man spot right now, having traded Brett Jackson to the Diamondbacks.