Cubs Roster Moves: Kilian Official, Espinoza Back, Leiter Optioned, Menez DFA'd

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Cubs Roster Moves: Kilian Official, Espinoza Back, Leiter Optioned, Menez DFA’d

Chicago Cubs

Caleb Kilian has officially been called up, so it begins (tonight, for Game Two against the Cardinals).

To make room for Kilian on the active roster, the Cubs optioned Mark Leiter Jr. back to Iowa. Leiter has been an up-down guy all year, eating innings where necessary, and although the results have been mixed at best, it’s a necessary and often thankless gig. So it should be appreciated.

To make room for Kilian on the 40-man roster, the Cubs designated lefty Conner Menez for assignment. Menez, 27, was a Rule 5 pick-up for the Cubs in December (minor league phase), and has pitched to tremendous results at Iowa (2.08 ERA, 2.54 FIP over 17.1 IP). He was apparently viewed as the low man on the totem pole in terms of the Cubs having a willingness to risk losing him on waivers. That’s where he likely heads now, and if he’s unclaimed, the Cubs will presumably try to outright him to Iowa. Because he’s been outrighted once before in his career, Menez would then have the choice of accepting the assignment or electing free agency.

Meanwhile, the Cubs are bringing back Anderson Espinoza to serve as the 27th man again today, something he did quite admirably earlier in the week against the Brewers. In case you were wondering, yes, it used to be the case that a guy coming up as the “extra” man for a double-header was subject to the standard rules about options and the minimum stay in the minors (i.e., you generally can’t call a guy back up any sooner than 15 days after he was optioned (for pitchers, 10 days for position players), unless he’s replacing an injured player). But that rule has been changed, and 27th men are no longer subject to the 15-day minimum. So that’s why Espinoza can come right back.

With Espinoza available as a multi-inning guy today, and with Marcus Stroman and Leiter wearing yesterday’s blowout, the Cubs’ bullpen is actually in pretty good shape for the double-header today. It won’t be necessary to leave in starters Matt Swarmer or Kilian longer than is otherwise prudent.

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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.