After announcing a flurry of coaching changes earlier today (including a new hitting coach in Chili Davis), the Cubs are moving some players around, too, having today claimed former outfield prospect Jacob Hannemann off of waivers from the Mariners, and designated Mike Freeman for assignment.
Boy, teams are really taking advantage of this World Series off-day, aren’t they?
Hannemann, you’ll recall, is a former Cubs farmhand/prospect who was lost to the Mariners at the beginning of September, when he was designated for assignment (and immediately claimed by the Mariners) to make room for Taylor Davis on the 40-man roster.
At the time of the DFA (and loss), Brett was moderately (and justifiably) bummed to lose such an athletically gifted player like Hannemann, especially because he’s basically just a cheaper version of Leonys Martin (who’ll probably make around $4-5 million next season if the Cubs tender him a contract (whereas Hannemann will make the league minimum)). Now, it seems, the Cubs will try to make it work with Hannemann once again – and we’ll wonder if this might signal something about their intentions with Martin this offseason.
If the Cubs keep Hannemann throughout the winter, he figures to begin the season at AAA Iowa as outfield depth with upside.
On the flip side, the Cubs may lose some infield depth in Mike Freeman.
Freeman, 30, was never going to be an everyday player on this Cubs team, but like we saw last year, an injury to Addison Russell makes things tense almost immediately. Javy Baez is obviously a more than capable backup, but you never want to play just one injury away from Freeman as your everyday shortstop.
The Cubs will now have seven days to waive, trade, or release Freeman, at which point it’s always possible that they can renegotiate a new Minor League deal and keep him in the organization. Given the dearth of quality shortstop options in the upper minors, the Cubs will want to make additional middle infield depth a priority this offseason.