Cubs Roster Moves: Hosmer DFA'd, Thompson Optioned, Bellinger IL'd, and Much More

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Cubs Roster Moves: Hosmer DFA’d, Thompson Optioned, Bellinger IL’d, and Much More

Chicago Cubs

So this is a headspinner of moves that will take a moment to digest and process for implication purposes.

First, the list of moves made today by the my-god-we-gotta-do-SOMETHING Cubs:

  • Eric Hosmer designated for assignment
  • Cody Bellinger to the Injured List (knee contusion)
  • Keegan Thompson optioned to Triple-A Iowa
  • Edwin Rios called up
  • Mike Tauchman added to the 40-man and called up
  • Nico Hoerner activated from the Injured List

Whew. OK. So taking them in order …

At long last, Hosmer is gone. I don’t want to be dancing on a guy’s grave when he was, by all accounts, an excellent teammate and good clubhouse presence. But that same presence was a clear drag on the roster, not only limiting what David Ross could do but also actively harming the day’s production whenever he was in the lineup. All the best to him wherever he lands – the Cubs will be on the hook only for the big league minimum, as the rest of his salary is still being paid by the Padres. (If he gets another big league deal from here, the Cubs could additional save a prorated portion of the minimum, but I’m not sure I see that happening.)

Oh, technically, the Cubs have seven days to trade, waive, or release Hosmer, but none of that really matters in this situation. Realistically, he’ll be released.

The thing everyone said/feared would happen with Bellinger did indeed happen. This sucks. The knee injury, however minor, was *NOT* the kind of thing he was suddenly going to come back from the next day, or the next day, or the next day. So the Cubs played shorthanded and then move him to the IL with a backdate to May 16. Like Hoerner the week before, Bellinger is now eligible to return in exactly one week, and you just hope he’s 100% by then. The Cubs are a much better team with him on the roster, even if this opens up a clear spot to make sure Christopher Morel keeps getting starts (that should happen ANYWAY, and Morel is no Bellinger in center field defensively).

Thompson, whose struggles are well-documented (especially pitching on fewer than three days’ rest), will go to Iowa to try to work things out. It is painful that it’s come to this, and the bullpen is much worse off for not having an effective Thompson in it, but this is what had to happen. Hopefully he can get right in a few weeks and be back.

Rios kinda-sorta takes the spot of Hosmer, and with Bellinger out, there might actually be a handful of starts available for him (primarily at DH). He’s too good for Triple-A, and if he has enough time, he’s probably an above-average hitter in the big leagues. Doing it off the bench is a lot harder, but that’ll be his job.

Speaking of which, Tauchman gives the Cubs a little more outfield depth on the bench (and probably a late-inning outfielder for defensive purposes if needed). He has seen success in the big leagues, and can obviously hit at Triple-A. If he’s only in there against a handful of righties, that could be a nice fit. And when Bellinger returns, you deal with the situation then on Rios and Tauchman.

The move there, by the way, means the Cubs have gone back down to 13 pitchers, albeit with only four starting pitchers on the roster. They can put off having a fifth starter until late next week, and that is when they’ll either go with Kyle Hendricks’ return, or they’ll have to bring back Javier Assad for a spot start.

And, lastly, Nico is back. No analysis required there, as you know how important he is to the team.

Ultimately, this isn’t necessarily a huge bullpen shakeup, but it certainly is a big roster shakeup, especially with Hosmer departing. We’ll see how the Cubs respond. For as much as the fluffy clubhouse stuff CAN be overstated, there is some value – positive or negative – in clubhouse relationships, work, friendships, etc. Major moves like today’s will necessarily impact a number of other players day-to-day. Hopefully, it galvanizes them.

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.