Given all the injuries, a roster move today isn’t necessarily a surprise for the Cubs. But the identity of the call-up is a bit of one.
It’s utility man Trent Giambrone:
INF-OF Trent Giambrone is being called up to the Cubs for the first time. Late-round pick, Nice story.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) September 29, 2021
This, when official, will put a smile on my face.
Trent's good people. Works his butt off. Been through a lot. In 2019, was first 20/20/10 player for the @IowaCubs since Javy. Grew up with Greg Deichmann in Louisiana. Been friends since they were 10. Now in MLB together. Wild. https://t.co/hfO6TvEFdC
— Alex Cohen (@voiceofcohen) September 29, 2021
Giambrone, 27, was at one time viewed as a big league utility prospect, but his struggles since reaching Triple-A in 2019 have kinda squashed that for the time being. He’s hitting just .174/.274/.255 this year at Iowa, and hasn’t found his footing this year after the pandemic. Before that, he had been a nice breakout story for a 25th rounder (2016).
You can presume Giambrone is coming up to replace one of the many injured Cubs (Patrick Wisdom? Nico Hoerner?), as the team just needs bodies at this point. It is unlikely that Giambrone emerges as a clear 2022 contributor in these final five games.
Your big question, then, might be something like, “Why now?” The games don’t really matter in the standings, and the Cubs were unlikely to place Giambrone on the 40-man roster in advance of the Rule Five Draft (they’ve declined to do it twice before). So why bring him up now only to boot him from the 40-man later on in the offseason when space is needed?
Well, I think there are two possible answers. One is that the Cubs actually DO want to keep him on the 40-man all offseason, though I’ll tell you that there are no indications in his performance this year that would make that a particularly plausible answer.
The other, far more likely answer, is that the Cubs needed someone to come up, and they decided to make it a guy who has been grinding for a while, is a great example for the organization, and who wasn’t going to be on the 40-man anyway (so you can afford to lose him later). It’s kind of a combination of doing a good thing for a guy, and also managing your roster in a smart way. And a bonus? Demonstrating to the rest of your farm system that any guy can earn it. I like that.
So Giambrone gets to be in The Show, the Cubs don’t have to call up a prospect early, and the team is covered for the final five games. I hope Giambrone gets a start or three, and has a great run. Good for him for getting here in any case.