The Cubs designated first baseman Alfonso Rivas for assignment last month in order to make room for lefty Anthony Kay after claiming the pitcher off waivers from the Blue Jays. Rivas cleared waivers on Thursday and could have been traded or outrighted to Triple-A, but the Cubs opted to release him instead. Even if Rivas didn’t have much of a shot at regaining a role in Chicago, I’m a little surprised the team chose to part ways with him in this manner.
Then again, there really wasn’t room in the organization for a first baseman with almost no power. Over the past two seasons, Rivas’s anemic .075 ISO ranks 410th among 422 players who have logged at least 300 plate appearances. For the sake of comparison, Nick Madrigal is at .076 in that same span. Andrelton Simmons has the lowest ISO in baseball at .045 over his last 536 PAs.
Rivas has been baffled by southpaws as well, struggling to a 0 career wRC+ that was tanked by a -45 mark last season. For those unfamiliar with that metric, it means he was 145% worse than the average hitter laster year when it came to producing runs against left-handed pitchers. Now that the Cubs have lefty-batting Matt Mervis (fingers crossed) and Eric Hosmer in Chicago with the hulking Bryce Ball probably ticketed for Iowa, Rivas simply ran out of runway.
I just hope this isn’t a move that, combined with the Hosmer signing, clears room at Iowa for Mervis to marinate there a while longer.