The Chicago Cubs have made a couple of procedural roster moves that will help with depth down the stretch.
First, the long-awaited answer to the question of what the Cubs will do when Tsuyoshi Wada’s rehab assignment at Iowa ends: not much.
That is to say, the Cubs took the easiest path, simply optioning Wada to the team where he was already pitching. Since Wada had minor league options left, you may be wondering why I was wondering what the Cubs would do in the first place. After all, keeping him at Iowa is the most obvious choice. But, because of Wada’s contract situation, he actually had to consent to the option, so it wasn’t quite a given that the Cubs would be able to go that route. That said, if he didn’t consent, he would become a free agent and lose the rest of his $4 million contract, which may not have been a risk he was willing to take. (It’s also possible that I’m misunderstanding this aspect of player transactions (it doesn’t come up that often).)
In any case, the upshot is Wada is at Iowa, he is still on the 40-man roster, and the Cubs still have him at the ready should a need appear in the big league rotation over the next couple months. Given the natural attrition you see in pitchers, that seems like a probability at some point. I’m very glad that the Cubs will have Wada around.
(Relatedly: we’re still waiting on the resolution of Clayton Richard’s recent DFA. Hopefully the Cubs will be able to keep him, too.)
It looks like the Cubs were able to hang onto catcher Taylor Teagarden, too, as he’s been outrighted to AAA Iowa after he was designated for assignment last week. Even as Miguel Montero figures to return in the coming days, and even as Kyle Schwarber has gotten good experience catching in the bigs so far, it doesn’t hurt to have a big-league-capable receiver at Iowa in case a need develops. Montero’s thumb could start barking again, and David Ross, who is 38, could have something pop up. You just never know, and depth is good.