Cubs GM Carter Hawkins Talks About *COUGH COUGH* Promotion Decisions

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Cubs GM Carter Hawkins Talks About *COUGH COUGH* Promotion Decisions

Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs GM Carter Hawkins spoke with The Athletic on a range of topics, and I think you’ll find it interesting reading today. (EDIT: Hawkins actually spoke with a group of reporters, including Maddie Lee of the Sun-Times and Meghan Montemurro of the Tribune. More good stuff in their pieces there.)

Patrick Mooney knows all too well which part your eyes will immediately dart to locate, and got right to it in his tweet:

Hawkins concedes that the Cubs’ front office does think about certain unnamed players daily, and about how they could or could not be incorporated at the big league level.

Among Hawkins’ comments to Mooney: “It’s a multivariable conversation. You’re taking into account the macro view of the major-league team and where there are opportunities to improve. And then you’re looking at a particular minor-league player and where he is. There’s the roster status piece, how many options he has, service time, the roster spots that we have, how he’s playing. Will he get to play every day when he comes up? All those things start to come into effect, thinking through what’s the best thing for the player and for our team. There’s no easy answer to any of those because there’s no actual formula to make those decisions.”

I don’t dispute that this situation is not quite as simple as calling up Christopher Morel and Matt Mervis today, and playing them every day. It’s close to that simple! But not quite.

From a playing time perspective, I would absolutely FIGHT someone if these guys came up and sat as much as Nelson Velazquez is sitting, and yet … wouldn’t they? So I get it.

With Morel, every spot he would play is currently occupied by a “regular” who is playing well. You’d have to have a plan in place to rotate him around spots, while getting guys rest (many of whom do not WANT to rest), and ensuring that Morel can still have offensive success despite changing defensive spots every day (that’s not easy!). I want that dang bat and versatility up on the big league roster ASAP, but I do appreciate that it’s not as if you’re punting Patrick Wisdom (no chance) or Nick Madrigal (not yet) from third base right now. How often are Dansby Swanson or Nico Hoerner going to sit? How many starts are available in an outfield that, again, already has Velazquez deserving of the “rest” starts? I mean, Cody Bellinger is destroying lefties right now, so you don’t even get the periodic match-up thing!

I tend to think the playing time question on Mervis is a heckuva lot easier, though, because he simply takes the starts at first base against all righties (sorry, Eric Hosmer), and periodically gets a start at DH, too. Not complicated from where I sit, at least once you get past any clubhouse concerns about the rookie taking the playing time (which Hosmer, himself, has suggested he would get over).

From a roster perspective, however, Morel is slightly easier to accommodate than Mervis – Morel is already on the 40-man – but the Cubs do have a 40-man spot currently occupied by Ryan Borucki, who was only just added over the weekend as bullpen insurance. I don’t think the 40-man is an issue.

As for the 26-man, if you’re not ready to punt Eric Hosmer, you could option Edwin Rios to Iowa to open up a spot. It’s not as if Rios is getting much playing time as it is. Finding a second spot – again, absent a Hosmer punt – is a fair bit trickier, especially since the Cubs are going to have to add a pitcher to take Thursday’s start. So let’s say that accommodating one of Morel or Mervis, all things considered, is very doable (though the playing time questions would persist). Accommodating both is admittedly tricky.

Maybe today’s not the day. Maybe tomorrow’s not the day. And we know that injuries can happen at any moment, making the answers here much easier. I’m just saying, I appreciate the issues the Cubs are trying to sort through, and I think the time is VERY FAST APPROACHING that they need one or both of these guys on the big league roster if they want to maximize their competitive chances.

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.