Buried in this Chicago Tribune article about Alexander Canario and the obstacles he had to overcome to get to the big leagues after a horrifying injury during winter ball last year were some hints about what Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer plans to do with the team’s roster for the rest of the regular season:
Canario and [Shane] Greene likely won’t stick on the roster for the entirety of September. The Cubs are expected to use the two additional spots on the 28-man roster to address needed over the next four weeks. Adding a lefty reliever at some point is a priority. An open 40-man roster spot creates a little flexibility to tap into other options at Triple A.
All of those factors were under consideration when the Cubs weighed their call-up options for Friday.
“We had to think about what would happen after a doubleheader,” President Jed Hoyer said Friday. “You almost never have a doubleheader day without transactions afterward, so we had to keep that in mind. ... We’re going to have a lot of roster moves. We’re in a pennant race and the rules have changed and this isn’t before Sept. 1 of the old days when you call everyone up and there’s no more options. There will be a lot of moves.”
So. This explains a lot about why neither Canario nor Greene played during Friday’s doubleheader — it’s not as if those two are considered the “answers” to the Cubs’ 28-man roster going forward.
Canario’s service time and option clocks were started Friday. He’s got options remaining, obviously, and the Triple-A season runs through September. It seems likely he’ll be optioned back to Iowa so he can get regular playing time, something he’s not likely to get in Chicago.
Greene doesn’t have options. If the Cubs want to replace him on the active roster, they’ll have to designate him for assignment. Given that many teams have roster crunches in September, he’d likely clear waivers.
The following players are on the Cubs’ 40-man roster and have options: pitchers Ben Brown, Jeremiah Estrada, Anthony Kay, Caleb Kilian and Michael Rucker, and position players Kevin Alcántara, Brennen Davis, Matt Mervis and Jared Young.
Brown is injured and not likely to get a callup this year. Kay, Kilian and Rucker have all pitched for the Cubs this year, with varying degrees of success. Alcántara and Davis aren’t likely to be recalled; Mervis and Young have played for the Cubs and neither hit very well.
It doesn’t seem likely that there are any callups from among that list, with the possible exception of Rucker.
Brad Boxberger has completed a rehab assignment at Iowa and he was spotted in the Cubs dugout in Cincinnati Friday:
It’s possible he’ll be added back to the 40-man and active rosters for this series. There’s an open spot remaining on the 40-man. Other possible pitching additions from Iowa who are not currently on the 40-man: Nick Burdi, Luke Little and Tyler Duffey. Michael Fulmer, currently on the 15-day IL, is eligible to return September 9.
Among position players at Iowa, P.J. Higgins, David Bote and Edwin Rios have previously played for the Cubs. It’s possible any of those could be added.
The wild card is Pete Crow-Armstrong, who many of you have been backing for a callup. As is the case for Canario, though, PCA wouldn’t get much playing time in Chicago and likely would benefit from continuing to play every day at Iowa.
As always, we await developments.