As we discussed this morning, the Cubs needed to open up a roster spot before tonight’s game, being that they were at 26 players for the 25-man roster.
As it turns out, Trevor Cahill will indeed be sticking around after his excellent fill-in performance yesterday in the rotation, and it is indeed Joe Smith whose spot he’ll be taking. But, according to the Cubs’ transaction log, Smith hasn’t been sent out, he’s simply being placed on the disabled list with a hamstring strain.
Smith, whom the Cubs acquired at the trade deadline, has been summarily terrible with the Cubs so far – even worse than he’d been in a down year with the Angels before the trade. Sufficiently bad that it makes you wonder if he was pitching through a nagging injury? Well, maybe so. Maybe just barely enough of an injury since the Cubs needed a roster spot anyway? Yes, maybe so.
Whatever the case, Smith will go on the DL for at least 15 days, which will take him into September, when rosters expand to the full 40-man, and 15-day DL stints no longer matter. That is to say, Smith can and will be back in September, presuming his hamstring injury is not season-ending. Whether he’ll have enough time to show the Cubs he deserves a spot on the playoff roster, however, remains to be seen. Hey, maybe he comes back from the injury and it was just a leg issue holding him back all along. Stranger things have happened.
The timing works for the Cubs, though, as they do not have to risk losing anyone on waivers at this time.