After a large batch of releases earlier in the week, the Chicago Cubs have released another two minor leaguers who had been acquired by the team this offseason. It’s the time of year when minor league rosters are being finalized, and, where available, contractual obligations are implicated by timing, so you see a variety of these kinds of transactions.
Today’s iteration features the release of outfielder Mike O’Neill and first baseman Jesus Guzman.
The Cubs plucked O’Neill from the Cardinals in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft, and this is what I had to say:
Mike O’Neill, OF – Taken from the Cardinals. While you love the crazy high contact and OBP, the problem with players of O’Neill’s profile (absolutely no power whatsoever) is that, when they reach the big leagues, the pitchers are too good to give up too many walks to him – without any threat of pop whatsoever, he’ll constantly be challenged in the zone. So, the walks go away, and you’re left hoping he can put up a .280/.320/.340 line, and how useful is that, really? Further, without the threat of power, outfield defenses align better to take away hits, further driving down the batting average. So, it’s nice to dream on a guy like O’Neill, but it’s also easy to see why he never got a shot with the Cardinals despite the huge OBP.
As for Guzman, he was a minor league signing, and you can read up on him here, courtesy of Michael. The short version is that he could have been veteran depth at first base at AAA, capable of hitting lefties well in the big leagues, but that was about it. With first base at bats at AAA likely going to Dan Vogelbach, Jeimer Candelario, and maybe Taylor Davis, too, there weren’t going to be too many leftover for Guzman. He’ll latch on somewhere, I expect.