Well there’s your roster move, as hinted by the word that Randy Rosario was going back to the minors, and it’s kind of a big one (for August, anyway).
To make room for De La Rosa on the 40-man roster, RHP Yu Darvish has been transferred to the 60-day DL. pic.twitter.com/6etb6XbJst
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 10, 2018
De La Rosa, 37, was DFA’d by the Diamondbacks at the end of July, and then was ultimately released. It seems he didn’t take long deciding on his next club, and he gets a big league deal with a team that really needs a lefty in the bullpen. Win-win.
But … is he any good?
Well, for years, De La Rosa was quietly a very solid starter for the Rockies before going to the Diamondbacks in 2017 as a reliever. There, he was fine in 2017 (8% better than average by ERA-), but things fell off dramatically in 2018, with his strikeout rate plummeting, his walk rate climbing, and his hard contact rate skyrocketing.
So why are the Cubs even interested? Well, they have a bullpen that is pretty devoid of guys who are specifically designed to get out lefties, and De La Rosa’s been pretty good at that in his career. That said, he hasn’t been especially great at it here in 2018: .210/.309/.407, 24.3% K rate, 11.4% BB rate, 1.56 HR/9. That K rate is fine, but the rest is uninspiring.
There’s not much to like in his trends, either, as June and July were his worst months.
The Cubs must have seen something they liked, and also felt desperate enough for a lefty to make this move. I’m sure we’ll hear more soon, but I think it’s probably going to be as simple as: he was available, and he’s probably slightly more effective right now than Rosario.
As for the other roster moves here, Rosario has struggled in the big leagues, so it’s not as if this is a negative swap. He has options remaining, so he heads to Iowa. Darvish has been out for more than 60 days anyway, so the 60-man move to open up a 40-man spot for De La Rosa is a non-move at this point (though when he’s ready to return, another 40-man move will be required).
I will say that adding De La Rosa now makes me all the more dubious that either Brandon Morrow or Anthony Bass will return in August, before rosters expand in September. Of course, if they do, it’s not as if the Cubs are locked into keeping De La Rosa forever.