It’s a double-header day, so we knew some roster moves were coming for the Chicago Cubs. But they went above and beyond today, with multiple new 40-man additions, a Jason Heyward move, and an option.
OK, the full slate, per multiple reports:
- RHP Javier Assad called up, as expected (goes on the 26-man roster and the 40-man roster)
- RHP Kervin Castro optioned to Iowa (comes off the 26-man roster, stays on the 40-man roster for now)
- OF Jason Heyward transferred to 60-day IL (takes him off the 40-man roster)
- RHP Nicholas Padilla called up (is the 27th man for today’s double-header, is added to the 40-man roster)
Castro, the waiver claim from the Giants in the Trade Deadline flurry, was extremely unsuccessful in the Cubs’ bullpen, and I think he will be unlikely to survive the offseason on the 40-man roster, even if the Cubs are leaving him there for now (in case they need to call him back up before the end of the season).
Heyward has been out with a knee injury, and this move is just procedural to open up the 40-man spot for Padilla. We already know that Heyward’s time playing for the Cubs is over.
Padilla, 25, may be the new name to a number of you, but he’s in that group of many, many quality relief prospects at Double-A/Triple-A on whom the Cubs were going to have to make a 40-man decision this offseason. Padilla has really broken out this year, climbing from High-A to Double-A to Triple-A, keeping his stellar results all along the way.
A *minor league phase* Rule 5 pick from the Rays back in December 2020 (the pandemic Rule 5 Draft), Padilla is looking like a huge scouting and development win for the Cubs. To be sure, there are some definite control concerns (he’s walking a whopping 14.0% of the batters he faces at Iowa), but the stuff is nasty and the results match (32.6% K rate, 1.69 ERA).
My guess is that the Cubs decided Padilla was one of their closer calls among the 40-man decisions, so they’d like to get some looks at him facing big league batters before the season ends. That could help them ultimately make a decision on whether to keep him on the 40-man throughout the offseason. (The alternative explanation is that the Cubs already knew they were going to keep Padilla, so why not just add him now. That’s definitely possible, given the strikeout rates.)
I hope Padilla gets into a game today – and/or sticks with the big league club after today – because I’d really like to see how the stuff plays.