There are just three weeks left in the MiLB season, which means we’re getting closer to roster expansion time. As we’ve heard a few times, the Cubs aren’t building the farm to win a PCL title, but the Iowa Cubs being out of the running for the playoffs does make decisions easier.
But given the stacked roster in Chicago and that fact that another pennant race is afoot, I would not expect too many players to bee added. Here are six players I think the Cubs could call up for the final month.
Mark Zagunis – He is probably the only position player who gets added since Vic Caratini arrived to replace Willson Contreras. Last week saw him go 8-for-21 with nine walks. Nine. That’s an OBP of .567.
Jack Leathersich – The lefty has been lights-out at Iowa but I doubt he would pitch in Chicago except in a blowout. He did struggle in his only appearance earlier this year, but seemed unfazed by it back in Iowa.
Eddie Butler – I like adding him as a long man or backup/emergency starter.
Rob Zastryzny – He was just up for a day and should be up all September now that he is healthy.
Dillon Maples – Because he is not on the 40-man roster, he would require a roster move. And he could be added even before September comes the way he is pitching.
Jen-Ho Tseng – Since being promoted to AAA Iowa, the Taiwanese right-hander has a 1.95 ERA in 6 starts and has shown a proclivity for missing bats, striking out 32 in 37 IP. Like Butler, he could be used in long relief and like Maples, he would need to be added to the 40 man roster.
Catcher Taylor Davis has an outside shot at being added, since I don’t think Joe Maddon wants to go into the playoffs with a couple of run-down catchers. Willson Contreras should be back in a month, but Davis would provide a day off for both current catchers or an inning or two of relief in blowouts down the stretch to keep them fresh.
A month ago, Cubs Insider published a list of who we thought might be added to the 40-man roster this winter and who they might send to the Arizona Fall League. I thought about revisiting that post in the wake of the trades from last month, but Eloy Jimenez was the only player affected. The Cubs may want to save a spot in the AFL for Willson Contreras to rehab, considering how well that worked for someone else last year to come back for the World Series.