HE SEES YOU AND HE IS COMING.
Iowa Cubs catcher Taylor Davis is most recently best known for having the wildest, most unsettlingly hilarious stare in all of baseball, but he’ll soon be known as a guy getting a shot with the big league team.
As first reported by John Manuel, Davis, 27, will be called up to the Cubs to be the fourth catcher on the roster (and that doesn’t include Willson Contreras). It’s a bit strange to see so many catchers on the roster, though Davis is probably better known for his bat and his clubhouse presence. He’s currently hitting .297/.357/.429 at AAA (104 wRC+).
Hopefully his addition doesn’t suggest an issue with any of Alex Avila, Victor Caratini, or Rene Rivera. It definitely doesn’t sound like there are any new issues with Contreras:
Willson Contreras is into the final stages of his rehab from a hamstring injury. "He's close" says Joe Maddon.
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) September 4, 2017
Moreover, Davis can play the corner infield spots, and probably a corner outfield spot in a pinch.
To open up a spot on the 40-man roster for Davis, MLBTR indicates the Cubs will designate outfield prospect Jacob Hannemann for assignment. (UPDATE: Already claimed, see below.)
Having already added Leonys Martin, the Cubs must have felt they had their defensive-and-baserunning specialist ready to go, and preferred Martin to Hannemann.*
It’s been an extremely disappointing run for Hannemann, 26, whom the Cubs took in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft, and paid a seven-figure signing bonus to sign away from BYU football. There were so many physical gifts there, but Hannemann dealt with injuries, contact issues, and slow-to-develop power. He’s been hitting .265/.324/.404 at AAA this season.
It’s a surprise to see the Cubs ready to expose him to waivers at this point, but the Cubs were going to have to start adding guys to the 40-man roster after this season in advance of the Rule 5 Draft, and Hannemann was probably going to be a guy on the bubble.
The Cubs will probably hope that Hannemann clears waivers – a rebuilding club with 40-man space to spare might take a flyer – and then hope they can retain him for another year in the minor league system.
UPDATE: Nope …
OF Jacob Hannemann claimed on waivers by Seattle
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) September 4, 2017
It stinks to lose an athletically gifted player like Hannemann for nothing, but he still has a ways to go (at age 26) before becoming a big league-caliber bench player (or more).
*The longer term consideration in Martin versus Hannemann, though, is that, while Martin has had success in the past in the big leagues, he’s been brutal at the plate for a few years now. He’s arbitration-eligible for next year, but made $4.85 million in 2017. Even if he gets the max drop allowed, the Cubs would still have to pay him something like $4 million to keep him for 2018 if they tender him a contract. Hannemann, by contrast, would make the minimum. I’m not saying I’d choose Hannemann right now of the two for 2017, but the 2018 consideration does give you pause.