The Cubs claimed a player from the Reds today, while designating one of their own for assignment, even as we sit on the doorstep of the NLDS. If that sounds crazy, then you don’t know the tireless effort of the Cubs front office.
Case in point: on November 2, 2016 – that date sound familiar? – the Cubs claimed Yankees righty Conor Mullee off waivers:
My god. This organization really does never stop working. pic.twitter.com/xDKr7P3Ake
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) November 3, 2016
It’s not unusual for teams to claim other players, especially pitchers, of course, but if you remember back and think really hard, you might remember that November 2 was … the day the Cubs beat the Indians in Game 7 of the freaking World Series.
Yeah, the front office doesn’t stop working, even at the single most intense day in, well, franchise history.
In any case, today’s claim, then, shouldn’t surprise you, even if the NLDS is just a day and a half away:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 4, 2017
Farrell, 26, is a right-handed minor league starter, who only recently got a taste of the Major Leagues with the Reds. Taken in the sixth round of the 2013 Draft by the Royals out of Northwestern, Farrell was shipped to the Dodgers at the trade deadline earlier this season, before quickly being claimed by the Reds on August 9 (Dodgers were probably trying to stash him just like the Reds were now, and like the Cubs may well try to do next).
There’s also a Cubs connection here:
Cubs have claimed RHP Luke Farrell off waivers from CIN & DFA'd Felix Peña. Luke is son of RSox manager John & bro of Cubs area scout Shane
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) October 4, 2017
Farrell appeared solely out of the pen for the Reds this season, throwing 10.1 innings with a solid 2.61 ERA and less solid 5.09 FIP. Interestingly, he faced the Cubs twice this season, throwing a total of 4.0 innings while giving up just one hit, two walks, and no earned runs against two strikeouts. Should he survive the offseason in the organization, he’ll likely head to Triple-A Iowa to serve as depth for the Major League rotation while the Cubs see what they have in him.
Felix Pena, 27, got his first healthy dose of the Majors this season (34.1 IP), but struggled mightily throughout (5.24 ERA, 5.78 FIP) despite a great deal of success the last few years in the minors.
With the annual offseason 40-man roster churn looming, the Cubs must have decided that they weren’t going to keep Pena on the 40-man all offseason anyway, and so now they’ll see if they can keep him without taking up a 40-man spot. Per the DFA rules, the Cubs will have 7 days to waive, trade, or release Pena. If he clears waivers, he can be outrighted to Triple-A.
Just to be clear, Pena was not going to be making the postseason roster this year, so there are no playoff implications here.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.