We knew at least some roster maneuvering was coming today with Keegan Thompson needing to be officially called up for today’s start.
We got that move, and also the resolution on a couple earlier moves:
Other roster news:
Johneshwy Fargas has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Iowa. Dan Winkler placed on unconditional release waivers.
— Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee) August 21, 2021
Thompson takes Jewell’s spot, which makes sense not only from a roster balance standpoint, but also in the event that the Cubs wanted to bring Jewell back up when rosters expand. He will be eligible to return in 15 days, so pretty soon after the flip to September (unless he replaces an injured player, in which case he can return sooner). That said, the Cubs may prefer to give those September slots and innings to other relievers, especially since roster expansion this year is just 28 players (previously, it was unlimited – anyone on the 40-man roster could be up).
Jewell, 28, got in 9.0 big league innings, showing some good individual pitches, but really struggling with the long ball (four homers and a 40.0% HR/FB rate. He pitched very well at Iowa in a very deep bullpen, earning him that month-long look, but I don’t know that it put him clearly on the radar as a guy who’ll stick on the 40-man all offseason. We’ll see if the next month changes anything on that front, but it’s going to be a VERY crowded 40-man between prospects needing protection from the Rule 5 Draft, prospects already on the 40-man, and any free agent/trade moves.
Meanwhile, I’m a little surprised that Fargas made it through waivers, given his ability as a “speed guy” on a contender’s bench. Then again, with 10 days to go before roster expansion, it’s a little harder to carry him than it will be on September 1 when rosters expand to 28. Keep an eye on him for later in the month, though, as it’s possible the Cubs could trade him to a club on August 31 (now that he’s off the 40-man, he can be traded this month). It would not be a significant return, and it’s just as likely the Cubs will try to hang onto him and keep him for another year on a new minor league deal.
As for Winkler, a release following his DFA was inevitable. He was very good earlier in the year, but everything fell off in mid-June and never recovered. He’s likely to find a minor league deal somewhere this offseason to try to win a job next Spring Training. I tentatively would not expect that team to be the Cubs, but I suppose you don’t entirely rule it out.