As initially reported by Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic, the Cubs have agreed to a minor-league deal with infielder Carlos Asuaje. Sharma had written last week that the club was pursuing the 28-year-old lefty-batting journeyman, who came on strong in the Dominican Winter League after being released by Chiba Lotte of the KBO and putting together a lackluster second half with the D-backs’ Triple-A team.
By my unofficial count, this now puts the Cubs at something like 147 non-guaranteed deals with no fully guaranteed MLB agreements since the season ended. I just did that math on a cocktail napkin, one that was a little more cocktail than napkin, so you may want to check it for yourself before sharing it as the gospel truth.
The signing was actually teased on Twitter by Asuaje’s agent, Joshua Kusnick, who had recently gotten into a viral beef with an anti-LGBTQ+ travel baseball coach. Wow, that might be the most online thing I’ve ever written. In a subsequent interview with Unhinged New York Kusnick said he’s “kind of slowing things down on the baseball side to make a transition full time to eSports this year.” Asuaje is one of his few remaining baseball clients, so his mystery was pretty thinly veiled.
Cubs are about to sign someone. pic.twitter.com/DHXxDJVFfV
— Brad (@ballskwok) January 6, 2020
A career .240 hitter with a .641 OPS and a 75 wRC+ over 586 plate appearances, with a -0.2 fWAR that comes from overall negative marks both at the plate and in the field, Asuaje doesn’t project as a difference-maker. But he can play all over the field and he comes cheap, which is the most important aspect for the Cubs, so he offers a little more depth to a pool that already includes several other minor-league players.
Sharma tweeted that Asuaje “has a chance to make the team as their 26th man with a solid spring,” which is technically true. I mean, it’s not outside the realm of possibility, but Lord help us if he’s the lone combatant to walk out of Thunderdome. Unless, that is, he can maintain the .984 OPS he’s put up in the DWL for more than 49 plate appearances in MLB.
The current Cubs bench options are……..interesting (Assuming Bote at 2B and Happ in CF):
Lock: Vic Caratini
IF: Tony Kemp, Daniel Descalso, Hernán Pérez, Carlos Asuaje, Robel Garcia
OF: Albert Almora, Mark Zagunis, Ian Miller, Noel Cuevas, Donnie Dewees
— FullCountTommy (@FullCountTommy) January 7, 2020
Given the number of options the Cubs have already, though, it’s hard to imagine Asuaje finding his way onto the big-league roster at any point. And if he doesn’t, no biggie. It’d just be nice if the Cubs gave us something — literally anything — of significance to report this offseason.