Cubs Claim Billy Hamilton off Waivers from Mets, Add IF Ildemaro Vargas to Active Roster

The Cubs made a flurry of moves Monday, the highlight of which was the addition of Billy Hamilton off waivers from the Mets. He adds a burst of speed and also plays elite defense in center, both areas of need for the Cubs. In order to make room for Hamilton on the roster, lefty Matt Dermody was designated for assignment just one day after being called up to Chicago from South Bend.

The Cubs also added infielder Ildemaro Vargas, who was claimed off waivers from the Twins on Saturday, to the active roster and he’ll be available for the series finale against the Cardinals. A career .255 hitter with seven homers and 34 RBI in 136 major league games over the last four seasons with the Diamondbacks and Twins, Vargas gives the Cubs…well, I’m not actually sure.

In addition, the Cubs officially announced their minors deal with Pedro Strop and have assigned him to the alternate site at South Bend. They also added righty Duncan Robinson to the 60-man player pool and released catcher Jose Lobaton. Between 28 active MLB players, three on the 10-day IL, 27 players in South Bend, and Hamilton, the player pool now stands at 59.

There will have to be another move once Hamilton is officially added, so you have to wonder whether Vargas is another very temporary placeholder. Or perhaps there’s an IL stint in someone’s future. Of all the dumpster diving the Cubs have done this season, the Hamilton pickup makes the most sense in principle. He was only hitting .045 in 25 plate appearances, but he’s always been a poor offensive producer and is being picked up for his speed.

Of course, that leads me to the point frequent readers knew all along I was going to make. If the Cubs wanted speed, they could have looked to South Bend and Ian Miller. Hamilton’s not as fast as he once was and he absolutely can’t be used as a hitter, though that didn’t stop them with Terrance gore. In any case, Miller’s less of a detriment at the plate and he can fly on the bases.

Oh well, I guess this is something.

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