So, the Cubs are going to make some roster move(s) today, likely bringing up another reliever for today’s game, but they may also swap out position players.
We know one thing is happening for sure, as it’s already been listed on the Cubs’ transaction wire: outfielder Mark Zagunis is headed back to AAA Iowa.
The sparsely-used Opening Day left fielder managed just 39 plate appearances through the season’s first two months, which seems crazy to me when the Cubs are going with a four-man bench, but I also recognize how many guys were rightfully ahead of him in the pecking order for starts. When you’ve got a huge group of guys you want to get starts on the infield, which frequently pushes other guys into the outfield, and then you’ve got a trio of outfielders who have all been performing very well for different stretches of the season, starts will be hard to come by as the 5th-ish outfielder.
In those 39 PAs, Zagunis hit .257/.333/.343 (85 wRC+) with a 38.5% strikeout rate.
So, Zagunis, 26, will head back to Iowa, where he’s shown many times over that he can rake in all the right ways (especially if the power is there). How and when he returns probably depends on injuries at the big league level.
The big question, of course, is who takes Zagunis’s place? The obvious first guesses are Ben Zobrist, who has been out on the restricted list, and Ian Happ, who has been working on his game at Iowa (with mixed, but improving, results). I’m not sure Zobrist is going to be able to return without some kind of reconditioning stint (he’s missed almost three weeks at this point – can he just drop right back in and face live pitching?). To that end, your best guess is probably Happ, but I suppose there’s always a chance we are surprised.
In any case, I’d love to see the Cubs get another lefty bat in the mix, because it feels like that’s where they’ve been a little short-handed when it comes to matching up (probably because Daniel Descalso has been so brutally bad at the plate).