The deadline for setting the 40-man rosters in advance of the Rule 5 draft is today and that means there is going to be a lot of minor moves as teams jockey to protect (or claim) that last man on the roster. In this case, the Rangers claimed Cubs infielder Jack Reinheimer off of waivers. That move also impacted an ex-Cub as the Rangers then placed pitcher Eddie Butler on waivers.
Reinheimer’s career with the Cubs was a glorious one as he never struck out nor made an error in the Cubs organization. OK, that’s because he never played a single game for the Cubs. Reinheimer is a player caught in what has become known as “roster Jenga” as teams claim players they like but for whom they really don’t have room on the 40-man. They then try to sneak the player through waivers, but the player gets claimed by another team. For some players, this can happen several times throughout the offseason.
The Cubs claimed Reinheimer on waivers from the Mets on November 2. The Mets had gotten Reinheimer off of waivers from the Diamondbacks on July 31. He played 21 games for the Mets this past season in August and September, and hit .167/.285/.167 in 35 trips to the plate.
Reinheimer is one of those guys that teams love to have around because he’s a versatile defensive player who can fill in at several different positions if disaster strikes on the major league level. But he also turned 26 in July and has never really shown much with the bat outside of some very hitter-friendly parks in the Pacific Coast League.
The Cubs traded Butler to Texas in the Cole Hamels deal. He made 22 relief appearances for the Rangers down the stretch and struggled with the home run ball in Arlington, giving up ten home runs in just 32 innings. That’s twice as many home runs as Butler allowed in his entire Cubs career of 72 innings. That led to a 6.47 ERA for the Rangers and his being placed on waivers. Butler is too talented for some team not to claim him, so I expect him to be pitching somewhere in 2019. But it’s probably for the best for both Butler and Texas that he’s not pitching for the Rangers.
In any case, those of you who ordered your Cubs Jack Reinheimer shirseys now have a collectors item.