Remember how Billy Hamilton used to torment the Cubs, even when he couldn’t really hit anyone else? His lifetime averages vs. the Cubs: .276/.350/.393 with 39 stolen bases in 49 attempts. That .350 OBP is 55 points higher than his lifetime mark. Cubs pitchers just couldn’t figure out how not to walk him.
Now, he’s on our side. The Cubs claimed Hamilton off waivers from the Mets today. To make room for Hamilton on the 40-man roster, lefthander Matt Dermody, who made a successful Cubs debut Sunday, was designated for assignment. The Cubs likely hope Dermody clears waivers so they can keep him in the South Bend alternate site.
To replace Dermody on the active roster, the Cubs activated infielder Ildemaro Vargas, who they acquired on a waiver claim from the Twins Saturday. Vargas had a decent year for the Diamondbacks last year, but didn’t play or hit much for either Arizona or Minnesota. He’s a switch-hitter who can play multiple positions, so he could become a useful bench player. He’ll be available for this afternoon’s game against the Cardinals and will wear uniform No. 16.
Hamilton will be assigned to the alternate site in South Bend, for now. The Cubs are likely looking at him as a Terrance Gore-type pinch runner for postseason games.
Other roster notes for today: The Cubs added right-handed pitcher Duncan Robinson to the 60-man Player Pool and released catcher Jose Lobaton. The team’s 60-man Player Pool roster stands at 59 players, with 28 active players on the major league roster (plus three 10-day injured list players) plus Hamilton and 27 others in South Bend.
Hamilton was just 1-for-22 with three steals in four attempts for the Mets this year. Hopefully, if the Cubs add him, he can do better than that. At least he won’t be drawing walks off Cubs pitchers anymore.