The Chicago Cubs have made a few moves that bear on the big league bullpen depth.
First, in an expected move, the Cubs have released lefty Phil Coke, according to the team’s transactions page. Coke was designated for assignment eight days ago, and, because of his contract and service time status, a release was all but inevitable. Now Coke will look for a new job – though he could theoretically sign a minor league deal with the Cubs (very unlikely) – and his $2.25 million salary with the Cubs is fully guaranteed. If he makes another team’s big league club, the Cubs will save a pro-rated portion of the Major League minimum. The guess here is that he signs a minor league deal with another team, and likely appears in the big leagues again this season.
Speaking of deals that don’t save the Cubs a ton of money – but some! – Anthony Varvaro has been returned to the Red Sox, presumably for a refund of the relatively small waiver fee. No, that’s not something that normally happens. It turns out that Varvaro, whom you may remember the Cubs claimed before outrighting to Iowa, had a torn flexor tendon when the Cubs claimed him, so the waiver was essentially voided. It’s too bad, as Varvaro was big league-caliber depth at AAA for the Cubs.
Returning to the Cubs, though, is Blake Parker, who’d previously been released to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Parker is recovering from an elbow injury – Tommy Birch reports that he’s rehabbing in Arizona – and the release/re-signing was likely planned and procedural. The extent of Parker’s injury is still not quite yet known, but hopefully he’s able to be back at Iowa before the end of the year, and available if a need should arise in the big league pen.