According to the Cubs transactions page, infielder Munenori Kawasaki was optioned back to AAA Iowa just before the All-Star break. There was no corresponding move, which leaves the Cubs at just 24 men on the 25-man roster. That’s not an issue, though, as David Ross (7-day concussion DL) can be activated immediately on Friday, bringing things back to normal.
The Kawasaki option caps off an unusual series of moves, which started back when Chris Coghlan hit the DL at the start of July with a rib cage injury (no word on his rehab right now). The Cubs surprised some by calling up 22-year-old infielder Jeimer Candelario to take Coghlan’s spot, even though he had little experience yet above AA. With Tommy La Stella returning soon, though, the move at least made some sense as a short, get-to-know-the-big-leagues type move. But then Candelario stuck around a little bit because of the Ross injury, before being optioned to Iowa this weekend.
Candelario was replaced on the roster by Kawasaki, who was apparently going to be up only for those two weekend games before the All-Star break. The timing of sending Candelario back down was strange, as it did not put him there in time to play in any of Iowa’s games before their break, but also did not allow him to participate in the Futures Game, to which he’d originally been selected (because of his call-up to the Cubs, he was replaced on the roster). So, all in all, probably quite a bummer of a weekend for Candelario.
Why the movement for only two days of a swap? I can’t say for sure, though, given how Candelario had been used mostly as a pinch hitter, it probably did make sense to have Kawasaki up instead (since it was going to be very short-term instead). One positive of the timing is that, by sending Candelario down on the 9th instead of the 11th, he’s eligible to return to the Cubs a couple days sooner, if they decide to bring him back up at some point (optioned players cannot return to the big leagues for 10 days (unless they’re replacing an injured player)).
Like I said, this is mostly academic, since Ross’s return was going to bounce someone from the roster no matter what. It was all just an interesting circumnavigation.
After Ross returns, there will be Dexter Fowler returning from the DL at some point, and then Clayton Richard, plus the likely addition of Joe Nathan. You’ve also got Coghlan and Jorge Soler coming back at some point, so there’s going to be a whole lot of roster shuffling in the coming weeks.
And I didn’t even mention trade rumors …