Although today is known the waiver trade deadline, it’s really more like the “get that guy into your organization before the day ends” deadline. Because if the guy isn’t in your organization, at some level, before midnight, he can’t be eligible for the playoff roster, should you want to include him.
It’s against that backdrop that something surprising like this comes out today:
Source: LHP Jaime Garcia likely to sign with Cubs.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) August 31, 2018
#Cubs are signing Jaime Garcia to minor league deal. With #Bluejays this year held LHs to .188 BA. Cubs plan on having him make a few minor league relief appearances this weekend to see what he looks like in the role. @Feinsand was 1st to say Garcia signing with Cubs was likely
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) August 31, 2018
Much like when the Cubs signed Jorge De La Rosa, the veteran lefty is currently a free agent whom the Cubs could sign right now and then subsequently add to their 40-man roster. Thus, he’d be theirs for September (expanded rosters) and could even be on the postseason roster if it came to that.
Garcia, 32, had basically been pretty solid the last few years after finally returning from some seasons lost in the injury wilderness. This year with the Blue Jays, however, was a massive disappointment, and he was recently released. Garcia’s walk rate climbed over 10%, his previously elite groundball rate plummeted, and he started giving up homers at a hellacious clip.
That said, at a minimum, Garcia was still really tough on lefties this year: .183/.250/.388, 24.7% K rate, 6.7% BB rate. My guess is the Cubs believe he’s still got something in the tank, perhaps with a tweak or two.
When he’s in the big leagues, Garcia will cost the Cubs just the prorated big league minimum (which the Blue Jays would then save), so it’s not really much of a cost move. It would be some more lefty depth for the rotation and/or the bullpen – can’t have too much, and, when rosters expand tomorrow, it’s not too hard to accommodate when the time comes to bring him up to the big leagues.
Since it’s a minor league deal, you need not necessarily expect the Cubs to clear out a 40-man roster spot before tonight’s game in Philadelphia. Instead, they could add Garcia to the 40-man in a day or two, after rosters have expanded, and then he can still be on a postseason roster as an injury replacement if it comes to that.