We’ve been wondering for a few days now how the Cubs would accommodate the return of Jason Hammel from the bereavement list, after Jorge Soler had already returned to the club from the disabled list, which necessitated the DFA of reliever Joe Nathan.
And, based on the Cubs’ transaction log, it looks like the Cubs will take the path of least resistance, by optioning reliever Justin Grimm back to AAA Iowa (as of yesterday). Grimm, you’ll recall, was already optioned to Iowa in a similar don’t-want-to-do-it-but-there-are-no-better-choices move back on July 31. He came back when Hammel went on the bereavement list, but it looks like he’s still the guy riding the shuttle.
Grimm cannot come back for 10 days now, unless he’s replacing someone going on the disabled (or bereavement, it turns out) list. I don’t think the fact that he was already shuttled for a bereavement list stint impacts that 10 day period, but I could be mistaken – this particular scenario is a case of first impression for me.
Meanwhile, the option of Grimm would take the Cubs down to just seven relievers, a place they haven’t been much during the Joe Maddon era. But the Cubs’ starters are fresh and generally going deep, and those seven relievers are very good. It’s doable.
Grimm has been great for his last 11 appearances at the big league level, but with only he, Carl Edwards Jr. and Aroldis Chapman having minor league options in the bullpen, the Cubs didn’t have an obvious move here. Grimm is a big league pitcher, but, for now, he’ll have to serve some time in the minors, which allows the Cubs to hang onto everyone. It’s a bummer for him, but it’s the right move for the Cubs.
As for what happens when Grimm is eligible to return … and when the Cubs want Tommy La Stella back on the 25-man roster … and when Trevor Cahill is ready to go … well, as we’ve been saying for weeks, these are all just decisions that will have to play out on the fly until September 1 rolls around, and rosters expand to include the full 40-man. Twenty-one days to go.