The bigger news here, of course, is the Cubs’ signing of Japanese star Seiya Suzuki, but we already covered that here a couple of days ago.
Per NBC Sports Chicago, Adbert Alzolay has been placed on the 60-day injured list to make room for Suzuki on the 40-man roster:
“The goal was to throw a lot more innings this year, and now we’ve just got to wait for it,” said Alzolay, who added that he expects to try to keep the time missed to two months — an optimistic prognosis at best — on Tuesday.
“I feel it’s just more about the work that you can put into the rehab process,” he said. “If you work really hard about it, you can get [through it] really quick.”
Let’s hope so. At 27, this was going to be the year for Alzolay to make a breakthrough to the Cubs rotation on a fulltime basis. I find myself wondering whether he might be better suited to relief. He’s got the stuff and the breaking pitches to possibly be a good closer.
But that’s for later.
I also wanted to address here the Cubs’ four signings that have not yet been officially announced by the team: Jonathan Villar, Steven Brault, Mychal Givens and Robert Gsellman.
The signing of Suzuki and placement of Alzolay on the 60-day keep the 40-man roster full. The Cubs still have two other players who will likely be out for significant lengths of time and should wind up on the 60-day: Miguel Amaya and David Bote. The placement of Amaya on the 60-day is problematic, because he has yet to play in the major leagues, and this would give him full MLB pay. Not that the Cubs can’t afford it, but I believe that would also start his MLB service clock, and I’m not sure the Cubs want to go there.
So that leaves Bote, who will likely head to the 60-day soon, and then three other players who will have to be moved off the 40-man to make room for all the guys the Cubs have signed.
Given that at least five of the new players are relief pitchers (Brault, Givens, Gsellman, David Robertson and Chris Martin), I would think relievers would be the first players to be exposed to waivers. The most likely candidates are Michael Rucker and Tommy Nance, neither of whom has much of a chance to make the Opening Day roster with all the new relievers signed. I would think the Cubs would probably wait as long as they can to make these moves so that Nance and Rucker can clear waivers and stay in the organization. On the other hand, they’d probably like to get Brault, Givens and Gsellman in camp and into spring games.
As always, we await developments.