With the placement of Ben Zobrist on the restricted list, the Cubs have been suddenly assigned an asset. While not considered of significant value, a 40-man roster spot is only of value if used, like a coupon for money off a theater seat or a pint of ice cream. Among the easiest (and cost-effective) ways to use a roster spot is to claim a player off waivers. The Cubs ought to get about claiming someone, rather soon.
Who should they claim? A team putting in a claim for a player on waivers is a free process. If a team believes in the talent and commitment of a player being waived, placing a claim is often an under-used action. In the Cubs case, it’s likely someone being run through waivers will be claimed before their turn. This applies especially with an American League designee, who cycles through the entire American League first.
Realistically, though, the name is insignificant. What sort of “fit” is more important. Unless the Cubs are planning to replace someone on the 25-man roster immediately (Daniel Descalso?), the goal ought to be locating a player who can be sent to the upper minor leagues. Iowa is rather loaded now, so finding a DFA option who can reasonably sent to Double-A Tennessee seems the most useful.
The Smokies don’t have any glaring holes, but they only have three outfielders on their roster, and don’t have a specified first baseman. Looking at decent candidates, I didn’t see anyone fit those specifications, but Washington recently designated Jimmy Cordero for assignment. I’m entirely unfamiliar with him, as the only Nationals MiLB team the Cubs pipeline plays is Potomac (in Advanced-A in the Carolina League), and Cordero is an upper-minors guy.
The article I read has him tossing in the mid-to-upper 90’s. I don’t claim any unique knowledge, but that ought to be useful down around Knoxville. If he can get some people out down there, if acquired, he can move to Des Moines as a spot opens. If added, and a 40-man spot is needed in the interim, Cordero could be designated, and the spot becomes available, again.
Another possibility is that a player might be needed for the parent club, and Allen Webster is designated, instead. In that situation, Cordero (or whoever) could keep his spot for a bit longer. As usual, better performance gets more and longer looks.
I see two things to remember about extra 40-man spots. In and of themselves, they hold no value. Put to use on the waiver wire, they might produce positive results less than ten percent of the time. However, left unused they’ll be of no value. Finally, seeking value on the waiver wire is a mindset. If you think everyone on the wire is of no value, that’s on you. Plenty of players are available every season that are reasonably close to figuring “it” out.
Am I insisting that you want Cordero? Naaaaaah. I’m more about noting that the Cubs have an asset that best provides value if used. Using a roster spot is easy, and it needn’t impact the big=league Chicago Cubs. Place a claim. Place six of them. And as needed, DFA the player that was just claimed. From a business perspective, it makes sense. If it costs a player in the pipeline his job, he was likely leaving, anyway.