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Is Dillon Maples still worth keeping on the Cubs’ active roster?

New, 42 comments

It’s a valid question.

Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Baseball ideas can be fun to bounce forth-and-back. None of the decision-makers are likely to take our concerns into consideration, but the exchange of ideas can be amusing. What should be the Cubs’ regular lineup? How much is a reasonable budget for the Cubs? Plenty more exist. However, for today, the question is both simply placed, and very nuanced in a response: Is having Dillon Maples on the roster an expense the Cubs can afford?

I’ve been spending a bit of time following the St. Louis Cardinals recent roster decisions. Having two lefty relievers on the roster has become almost required. With Andrew Miller out for over a month, their second-best lefty reliever had been Tyler Webb. I say “had been” because Webb was designated for assignment when Miller was activated from the injured list. A somewhat useful reliever the least few seasons, Webb and his ERA of 13.22 were no longer needed with Miller back. The Redbirds are still retaining Matt Carpenter (and his 65 OPS+) likely because he has some guaranteed money due. DFAing Webb was considered important, but DFAing Carpenter was a bridge too far.

Meanwhile, Maples struggled against the Giants in Thursday night’s game. Was the game a lost cause? Was Maples’ outing unacceptable? Would the Cubs be a better team with another pitcher in the bullpen? Would the Cubs be more successful in 2021 with Maples somehow elsewhere? Would Maples figure it out, given another year? The questions get very nuanced. Either way, you’re answering for questions that, simply by the rules of the game, you can’t or won’t see the answers for.

Peak Dillon Maples is very good. Low-ebb Maples is sub-MLB standard. I think we can probably agree on those two sentences. After that, though, common ground is less easy to find.

If “putting the best 26 on the field in a competitive season” is the watchword, Maples should probably be sent away. Alec Mills seems about ready to return from a rehab stint, and the 2021 Cubs might well be a better side with Mills. Mills, though, doesn’t ooze “long-term potential” like Maples does. It’s realistic to say it was unlikely the Cubs would have won Thursday, with or without a three-up-three-down seventh inning.

With Maples’ lack of another option season, his league-wide suitors would be limited. That reduces the trade value he would bring in. He might bring in some so-called “random player” in exchange. Or, a team with a glaringly weak bullpen might prefer Maples enough over their last reliever to only bring cash back. Letting Maples go off of a bad outing won’t help his value in the DFA Portal.

It’s entirely reasonable to decide the Cubs have tried long enough, and the roster spots (on the 26-man and the 40-man) are too valuable to use on Maples in a contending season. It’s also reasonable to think that Thursday’s game isn’t the proper game off which to assess Maples’ value. It’s also viable to think Maples is too valuable long-term to let go, regardless. The combinations and permutations are endless. One mindset is probably unacceptable. What’s yours?

Poll

How would you summarize your opinion on Dillon Maples retaining a spot on the Cubs roster?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    It’s time for him to go, this weekend.
    (142 votes)
  • 14%
    Perhaps he should go, but not off of Thursday night.
    (84 votes)
  • 15%
    I’d be willing to let him go, but a few other moves ought to be tried first.
    (87 votes)
  • 24%
    I want to keep Maples around as long as possible, due to his upside. I’m undeterred.
    (143 votes)
  • 20%
    Only let him go if an honest return is offered.
    (116 votes)
  • 0%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (4 votes)
576 votes total Vote Now