Welp. So much for that lefty bench bat, eh? No more Derek Dietrich on the Cubs’ depth chart.
Today, the Chicago Cubs released utility man Derek Dietrich, who’d signed a minor league deal and reported to the alternate training site in South Bend. The phrasing of the release is that the Cubs granted it to Dietrich so he could try to find a job elsewhere:
The Cubs announce that Derek Dietrich requested – and has been granted – a release to pursue a major-league opportunity. The team’s 60-man player pool now stands at 59.
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) August 9, 2020
That’s actually what reportedly happened on his minor league deal with the Reds, so clearly Dietrich believes he’s a big league player right now. And that wasn’t going to happen with the Cubs.
In our previous analysis, it sure looked like Dietrich was a big-league-quality bench bat, who could play all over on defense and still slug against righties. I was pretty pumped, and assumed he would definitely eventually find his way onto the Cubs bench, especially once it became clear that rosters were going to remain expanded to 28 all season long. Apparently Dietrich didn’t show well in South Bend.
I’m a little surprised that the Cubs didn’t try to hang onto him longer, given that we’re still pretty uncertain about whether Nico Hoerner is going to turn the corner (the results are very much not there yet). But maybe the Cubs felt like they had enough depth that regardless of what happens with Hoerner, who bats righty, it wasn’t going to impact Dietrich’s standing.