We’ve been wondering for days how the Cubs would add Cole Hamels back to the roster today, given that the bench is already short and the only guys with options in the bullpen were not guys you’d want to be optioned. Candidly, a phantom IL stint for Brad Brach was the idea most of us were clinging to.
But without an “injury,” the Cubs simply decided to go the “big boy” route:
#Cubs DFA Brad Brach to make room for Cole Hamels
— Bruce Miles (@BruceMiles2112) August 3, 2019
Brach, 33, simply never got right with the Cubs after his late offseason signing. It was a signing, you’ll recall, that was adjusted after a bout of mono, from which Brach maybe didn’t quite recover until it was too late to get fully physically ready for the season. He was never going to be trusted with high leverage the rest of the way, and with a bullpen that was already eight deep, plus so many other options waiting at Iowa, so the DFA doesn’t really hurt the Cubs (even if Brach winds up latching on and succeeding elsewhere in the final month and a half).
The DFA also saves the Cubs $500,000 on a bonus Brach would have received if he stayed on the roster for another month.
In theory, Brach could get outrighted and accept the assignment to Iowa if he really wants to stay in the Cubs org, but it’s more likely he simply signs on with another club. The Cubs will be on the hook for the remainder of his $1.65 million salary this year as well as – I believe – the difference between his $1.35 million player option for 2020 and whatever he makes from another team (i.e., if he got $600K from another team next year, the Cubs will owe him $735K).
Brach likely finishes his brief Cubs tenure with a 6.13 ERA over 39.2 innings.
The move, by the way, is a clear vote of confidence in – among others – Rowan Wick, who could have been optioned to Iowa to avoid this Brach DFA. But the Cubs clearly finally believe in Wick.