David Bote’s wife Rachel was due to have the couple’s third child Sunday night, which is why Bote raced out of Wrigley Field after his walkoff hit. Bote could go on Paternity Leave. If he does, he can miss up to three days of action. Monday is an off day. The Cubs will likely call up a player to replace Bote for a day or two. The unimaginative response would be “call up a pitcher.” That might be the best idea. However, with a day off Monday and a fairly rested bullpen, a hitter makes more sense to me. I’d like to see Vimael Machin get called up.
Machin (pronounced “machine”) is an “anywhere but short” sort of infielder, though he started a game at short for Iowa this season. A 2015 10th-round choice from Virginia Commonwealth by way of Gurabo, Puerto Rico, his OPS through the system has been either in the high .600 or low .700 range. This season, Machin’s OPS is .899 after a two-for-four day on Sunday. He was 1-for-11 in spring training games this year with two walks.
Iowa has better hitters and defenders available in Dixon Machado and Cristhian Adames. However, whoever gets called up in this scenario (if added to the 40-man roster) might get bumped from the roster just as quickly. Machin would likely clear waivers. Machado and Adames might be tougher to retain.
If the Cubs/Dodgers series runs as expected, whoever is added figures to be around for only two games. Johnny Field or Zach Borenstein might be more likely than Machin to win a game with a pinch hit. Trent Giambrone has better long-term potential. But my view is to bring up a player to pinch-hit in the sixth inning with a runner on and a runner out, saving the bigger name bats for later. Machin ought to be able to fill that role well, with Kenta Maeda and Walker Buehler the next two scheduled Dodgers starting pitchers.
If I adjust my tinfoil hat a bit, I could also make a one- or two-day allowance for outfielder Donnie Dewees, who is a better runner than Machin. Dewees, though, hasn’t been hitting as well as the infielder. Either way, if a player is summoned, he’d likely get only one or two appearances before being designated for assignment. For having a week to cool his heels, whoever gets the callup would at least have two days of MLB tenure/per diem and a shot at an MLB at-bat.
Who ends up getting the chance will likely be a bit incidental. With the Cubs’ built-in depth, they might prefer a pitcher. A three-player bench, though, seems a bit unnecessarily extreme. Giving an MLB chance to Machin or Dewees would serve as a reminder to every player in the system that, if they keep improving, they might get their day in the sun. A three-hitter bench with two catchers limits Joe Maddon to two realistic pinch-hitters.
With eight relievers anyway, a bullpen call-up would likely only be “needed-needed” in a blowout scenario. With that, another pinch hitter would seem more useful, anyway. In this instance, go with the hitter.
With Maeda and Buehler being right-handed hurlers, the temptation for me is too steep. I’d want to call up another hitter if just to pinch-hit once, or play the field once a la Moonlight Graham. Give Machin or Dewees a day in the sun. Their role would be to swing the bat once for a pitcher, or to give Kris Bryant an inning off. In case you want Ian Happ, instead, I like that he’s getting regular innings now. Give Dewees or Machin the royal treatment.