Farewell, Ildemaro Vargas

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Farewell, Ildemaro Vargas

Chicago Cubs

As noted yesterday, when veteran utility man Ildemaro Vargas was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa by the Chicago Cubs, he had the right to elect free agency instead of accepting the assignment, by virtue of having been outrighted before in his career (a guy can be outrighted only once without his permission). This time around, Vargas did not accept the assignment, and has elected free agency.

Filling in for various injuries, Vargas appeared in 10 Cubs games this year, hitting .130/.231/.348, appearing at second, third, and shortstop. I don’t doubt another organization will give him a shot as depth at Triple-A.

As for the loss of Vargas from the organization, I don’t think this will be particularly stinging to the Cubs, especially after the emergence of Christopher Morel as a utility option at the big league level (and he’s got minor league options, so the Cubs could move him up and down as necessary/as his development dictates). Plus, with Andrelton Simmons back, with David Bote coming back in a couple weeks, and with Nick Madrigal coming back soon, the odds another meaningful Vargas shot would pop up were quite low. And at Triple-A Iowa, you’ve got Robel Garcia and Dixon Machado as veteran depth you’d probably rather be giving middle infield starts to, and eventually guys like Andy Weber and Chase Strumpf are going to be coming up from Double-A and needing starts.

The 30-year-old Vargas has just perennially been a guy who is so close to being an MLB-caliber bench guy, with his switch-hitting bat and versatile glove. But the bat never quite performed in the big leagues, and the glove was not what it needed to be this year, either. Vargas has seen big league action in parts of six big league seasons, three of those partial seasons were with the Cubs (and three(!) other teams during that stretch). It underscores just how good he’s been at Triple-A, and how theoretically useful his skillset should be to a big league bench. But it doesn’t always translate, and I will probably remember Vargas as one of the most AAAA players I’ve ever seen (which I do *not* mean as an insult, because it’s hard as heck to be that good at professional baseball!).


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.