When the Cubs claimed recently DFA’d (x2) infielder Ildemaro Vargas from the Twins on Saturday, I did not expect him to so quickly reach Chicago. But according to the latest, he’s already up on the 28-man roster and available off the bench. You can read about him more in original post from Saturday, but we’ll dig deeper later this week, as well. And yet, that’s not even the most notable roster move of the day.
That distinction goes to a certain waiver wire claim of one BILLY HAMILTON:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 7, 2020
The finally got him.
According to the announcement, the Cubs have added center fielder and speedster Billy Hamilton, with whom I’m certain you remember. If you don’t, just note that he’s one of the fastest players in MLB (302 steals with four 50+ steal seasons), who came up with the Reds and just never got on base at a high enough clip to take full advantage of his speed as a starter.
Hamilton spent the 2019 season with the Royals and Braves and 2020 with the Mets, who DFA’d him on Friday.
This sort of pickup should be familiar, as the Cubs front office often looks to add someone with speed in the final 1.5 months of the season when they think they’re heading to the playoffs. But if it made sense in a normal year, it makes even more sense with 28-men rosters, two playoff teams from each division (at least), and an extra-inning rule that starts with a runner on second base (though not in the postseason). Hamilton is also an excellent defender in center field, so he still has two legitimate purposes on an expanded playoff-bound bench.
As the announcement reveals, Matt Dermody was DFA’d to make room for Hamilton on the roster, though Hamilton has not yet reported to camp. Meanwhile, the Cubs now have seven days to trade, waive, or release Dermody. Beyond that, the Cubs have made the Pedro Strop signing official, sending him to South Bend, they’ve released catcher Jose Lobaton, and they’ve added Duncan Robinson to the 60-man player pool.