The Cubs have not made an official announcement as of post time, but the MLB transactions page shows that David Bote has been optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Mark Zagunis has also been optioned, but that was to be expected since he was the Cubs’ 26th man for Sunday’s Little League Classic contest.
Bote, who signed an extension prior to the start of the season, hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations spurred by the huge moments he authored in 2018. His offensive numbers are actually better across the board in 100 more plate appearances than he had as a rookie, but the real issue is what he’s done with the glove.
Though a 102 wRC+ says Bote has been a slightly above-average hitter, his defense has taken away from his overall production. That was all too evident when he whiffed on a chopper to third base late in Friday’s loss, which was just the latest in a series of defensive miscues from a guy whose value was dependent upon his prowess in the field.
This is also a strategic move on the Cubs’ part, since it’s late enough in the season that they don’t lose an option year with Bote. That said, playing every day in Iowa should allow him to establish a better rhythm with both the glove and bat, even if he’s only got about two weeks there.
The corresponding move is expected to be Steve Cishek, who’s ready to be activated from the IL after his hip inflammation cleared up. That will bring the bullpen back up to full strength as the Cubs head into the lats few weeks of the season.