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Cubs 40-man roster coin-flips: Trent Giambrone

He took advantage of an unexpected opportunity this past September.

Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Al asked me to do a 40-man coin flip on Trent Giambrone. To be honest, it’s somewhat difficult to make a compelling case for keeping him on the 40-man roster all winter. Nonetheless, Giambrone has enough backstory to justify a column, so here’s my offseason look at Giambrone. And whether he belongs on the 40-man roster.

Giambrone, a 2016 25th rouunder from Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, played his first pro games in a level that no longer exists. In 51 games in the Northwest League for the champion Emeralds, Giambrone had an OPS of .837. The next season, he was promoted to Myrtle Beach, skipping over South Bend (then Low-A), entirely. His Advanced-A OPS was .644, enough to get him to Tennessee in 2018.

His 2018 OPS (.772) and hid 2019 OPS in Triple-A Iowa (.779) were good enough to keep him in the long-term plans, but not really enough to worry about the Rule 5 Draft. 2020 was a nightmare for almost all minor league players, and 2021 saw Giambrone miss much of the early part of the season as he dealt with the loss of his father.

Among my favorite memories of Giambrone was when he was lifted from a game midway through in July a few years ago, leading to rampant trade speculation. Giambrone can hit, and is defensively versatile, though he’s not particularly adept at any specific position. Also, when I say he can hit, that doesn’t guarantee he’ll hit top-shelf MLB pitching. It means he’s generally hit all the way up the ladder.

Historically, teams haven’t been in situations like this, when the callup of Giambrone would have been as necessary. Teams used to be able to have an entire 40-man roster at their disposal late in the season. With the daily roster in September reduced to 28, that can be problematic. Especially with a late-season outbreak of COVID-19. The Cubs used the opportunity to have another late-season wave of callups, and Giambrone took immediate advantage. Here’s his first MLB hit, against the Pirates September 29 [VIDEO].

Giambrone should be encouraged to sign a successor contract, giving him a non-roster spot with the Cubs pipeline in 2022. I strongly doubt any MLB team would claim Giambrone on waivers, or sign him to a minor league deal with an extension over the basic amount. By getting him to MLB, the Cubs made his name “pop to the top” of Baseball-Reference searches. (My favorite among those is Adbert Alzolay, who is the only remaining name showing after the first three letters of either name.)

It’s not about whether you like this player or that. It’s about: “Does rostering him through the off-season make logical sense?” If you aren’t willing to assess based on the logic of the future, and assess mistakes you might (or might not be) currently making about the future because of baseball card numbers (and the past), the entire process is an opportunity to learn being missed.


Should Trent Giambrone have a Cubs 40-man roster spot on December 15?

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  • 18%
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    (157 votes)
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