SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — This might seem like a minor transaction, but it could have meaning for the Cubs both before the season starts, as well as over the next few weeks:
Dodgers claimed RHP Cory Mazzoni off waivers.— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) March 27, 2018
The reason this is important is that it reduces the Cubs’ 40-man roster to 37. I can’t remember a recent season in which the Cubs entered the year with three open 40-man roster spots.
It hints that someone might be added to the 40-man, perhaps Justin Hancock, who was in line for the final bullpen spot. If Hancock is added, it means the Cubs would have to run Eddie Butler through waivers to get him to Triple-A, and that’s unlikely. With so many pitchers injured right now, Butler would almost certainly be claimed.
It’s odd, too, that the Cubs waived Mazzoni in the first place, unless they really didn’t want him. He has minor-league options remaining. He didn’t have a great spring — 9.72 ERA, 2.040 WHIP in 8⅓ innings — but he has some big-league experience, with the Padres in 2015 and 2017.
So, farewell, Cory, hope you enjoyed your spring in Mesa. And we still await the final word on the Cubs’ last bullpen slot, presuming that Pedro Strop is certified as well enough to take the other open slot in this year’s Opening Day pen.