Well, the news was somewhat spoiled by today’s lineup announcement, but the Cubs have some roster moves on tap this Sunday morning.
Iowa catcher P.J. Higgins has been called up to the Cubs (and is starting this afternoon). And he’s taking the place NOT of injured catcher Willson Contreras, but instead of utility man Ildemaro Vargas, who was DFAd.
Cubs Update: Catcher Willson Contreras is day-to-day with a right hamstring strain. Ildemaro Vargas designated for assignment. Catcher P.J Higgins called up from Iowa.
— Mark Potash (@MarkPotash) May 22, 2022
Even though you remember him playing with the Cubs last season, Higgins was actually NOT on the Cubs 40-man roster before today — he re-signed with the Cubs on a minor league deal just before the lockout. So to call him up, the Cubs had to clear a space on the active *and* 40-man roster, which is why you get the Vargas DFA.
The Vargas DFA also makes it a little more likely that super utility prospect Christopher Morel is going to stick around a little longer, though we’ll have to play that one slowly. The Cubs had their hand forced a little bit today, so you don’t know exactly which way it’ll go yet. A Vargas trade is theoretically possible over the next week, but it’s much more likely he will hit waivers. Maybe he’ll clear and remain in the organization. We’ll see.
Hopefully, the fact that the Cubs are not sending Contreras to the IL yet is a good sign for his own recovery. But, again, they needed a 40-man space this morning, which wouldn’t have been accomplished by sending Contreras to the 10-Day IL. So I wouldn’t automatically assume the day-to-day designation means he’s not going to miss an IL-stint worth of time.