We knew that Nico Hoerner (hamstring) was finally coming back as soon as today, so that part of today’s story, while fun and good, is not necessarily the news. Hoerner is indeed back.
The question was: who’s spot on the roster would he be taking?
Turns out it’s Sergio Alcantara, who is being optioned to Triple-A Iowa (confirming, by the way, that he did get another option year, which will allow the Cubs to more easily keep him all the way up until Spring Training next year, when a decision will have to be made about whether he makes the team or hits waivers).
I suspect many would’ve preferred to see deeply unproductive hitter Eric Sogard sent out instead, though he would have to be DFA’d, whereas Alcantara can be optioned (keeping both in the organization). I’m not sure that Sogard will actually help the Cubs the rest of the way, but you can be sure that was some of the basis for the decision today.
There’s also the need for some continued development for Alcantara, who has barely played above Double-A. Consider that, after his hot start, Alcantara is now hitting only .179/.282/.403 (87 wRC+), with his strikeout rate now topping 30%. Since June 13, Alcantara is hitting just .079/.239/.105. It’s been a very rough stretch. But you still love the glove, there’s still a lot to like about how the bat has developed the last two years, and there’s still reason to believe he can be a nice utility guy for the Cubs in the future. He’ll head back to Iowa and probably continue raking there.