Cubs Claim Lefty Reliever off Waivers

The Cubs have claimed 26-year old LHRP off waivers from the Kansas City Royals. Vasto was acquired by KC from COL for C Drew Butera in a trade on 8/31. 

Vasto was the 24th round pick of the Rockies in the 2014 draft out of D-2 Felician College in New Jersey. The 6'2 175 southpaw combines a 92-94 MPH FB with an 84-87 MPH slider that has allowed him to rack-up some impressive strikeout totals (and a lot of walks, too) in the minors, where he has worked exclusively out of the bullpen since signing in 2014 (he was a closer at AA in 2016). 

He made his MLB debut this past season on June 10th and rode the Albuquerque - Denver shuttle for a couple of months before getting traded to the Royals. 

With the addition of Vasto, the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) now stands at 35 (five slots are open), although the open slots won't stay open much longer because the five Cubs on the MLB 60-day DL (RHP Yu Darvish, RHP Justin Hancock, RHP Brandon Morrow, LHP Drew Smyly, and OF Mark Zagunis) must be reinstated no later than 5 PM (Eastern) on Friday.

Now that they have been awarded the claim, the Cubs might try and outright Vasto themselves. The fact that he got all the way to the Cubs without being claimed by another club (the Cubs have the #25 waiver claim priority) means they would have a pretty good chance of getting him through waivers if they put him back on the wire right away. And there are no off-season restrictions on outrighting him, either (he cannot elect free-agency if outrighted, he doesn't have enough minor league service time to be a Rule 55 minor league 6YFA, and he does not have Draft-Excluded status).  

Comments

cubs claim "3-slot" utility OF'r johnny field from the twins.

he's got a touch of power and a touch of speed...not much on walking or consistant contact.

No news on Hamels yet?

Per Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic, the Cubs reportedly want to retain Cole Hamels but only for 2019, and they are trying to make a trade that would help offset the Hamels $20M 2019 contract option. The Texas Rangers would be on the hook for the $6M buy-out if the Cubs do not pick-up the option, so it would clearly be in the Rangers interest to acquire a player from the Cubs who is making around $6M in return for the Cubs picking up the option - IF - trading a player making around $6M would motivate the Cubs to pick-up the option.   

So for example, Brandon Kintzler ($5M), Steve Cishek ($7.5M), and Drew Smyly ($7M salary plus incentives but with a $5M AAV) are all making around $6M in 2019 and all three are free-agents post-2019, and if one of them were to be traded to Texas and then in return the Cubs pick-up the $20M Hamels option for 2019, the Rangers could acquire a potentially useful pitcher for about $6M (which they would have to pay anyway if the Cubs do not pick up the option), while the Cubs could retain Hamels for just the one year (2019) for essentially $15M (but only if it's tied to trading a contract in the $6M range to Texas). 

What might be causing the delay is something like the Rangers want Cishek, but the Cubs want the Rangers to take Duensing, too, since if the Rangers acquire just Cishek they get him for essentially $1.5M above the $6M they would have had to pay if the Cubs decline the Hamels option, and Cishek is worth more than $1.5M.

Couple Cishek with Duensing and the Cubs jettison $11M in 2019 salaries and the Rangers get Cishek for essentially $5M (his contract is worth $7.5M if he remains with the Cubs), but it might require the Cubs adding a prospect to the deal to make it square if it's both Cishek and Duensing, while the Cubs might perhaps want a prospect back from the Rangers if it's just Cishek.

Something like that.    

And the Cubs have traded LHP Drew Smyly ($7M 2019 salary plus incentives - $5M AAV) to the Texas Rangers and have picked-up the Cole Hamels option. The Rangers were going to have to pay the $6M buy-out if the Cubs had not picked-up the Hamels option, so they essentially pay the money - AND - get a player, while the Cubs offset the Hamels $20M AAV by $5M. 

So the Cubs get a PTBNL and the Rangers get a PTBNL in the Smyly deal (hopefully the PTBNL is not the same player as the other PTBNL). 

In the non-news dept, Jason Heyward took no action and the deadline to opt out of his contract this offseason has passed.

Cishek had a good year. I would hate to see him leave.

AZ Phil, you are the best! The Hamels-Smiley post was on the level of Steve Stone clairvoyant.

Not surprising about Freeman, Gore I thought was a toss up if he'd be outrighted, but not Taylor Davis.  Are they just going to settle as Taylor Davis being their 3rd catcher who plays at Iowa?  What does that say about the chances of any of those other rule 5 eligible catchers that are on the bubble to get added to 40.  Given April 1st is still a long time away.

cubbies.4ever: P.J. Higgins has struggled in the AFL, Jhonny Pereda has not played above Hi-A, Ian Rice is a bat-first guy who needs to work on his defense, and Miguel Amaya is at least two years away, so I guess Taylor Davis is the Cubs #3 catcher going into the off-season. 

Actually I thought if the Cubs put him on waivers that T. Davis would have been claimed. He is a high-contact hitter who takes walks, and while he has a controlled swing without much loft, he has a short-stroke and makes hard contact. I think he would make a really good pinch-hitter.

The question about T. Davis is more about his defense. He isn't especially athletic and he's kind of a stiff receiver with a below-average arm, but for some reason pitchers (especially the younger pitchers) seem to like throwing to him because he keeps everybody loose. And of course he can play 1B and 3B, too, so there is some versatility there. And his managers like him because he is like a coach/mentor/Father Confessor on the field. He's a real-life Crash Davis.  

So basically you're saying Taylor Davis (outside the arm) is a poor man's David Ross.  Which is never a bad thing.  But can he be a relief pitcher?

AZ PHIL: Regarding the Smyly deal do you think that the PTBNL to TEX could be Addison Russell, but the Rangers want the Cubs to eat his salary while he remains suspended, then once reinstated traded to TEX or is that too unlikely?

cubbies.4ever: Addison Russell's suspension is without pay and a suspended player on the Restricted List can be traded, so I doubt that the PTBNL going to Texas is Russell.   

The most-likely explanation for the "double-PTBNL" is that one or perhaps both of the PTBNL are Rule 5 Draft eligible and the Cubs and Rangers do not want to add the player(s) to their 40-man roster, so they will wait to announce the PTBNL until after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft, presuming the PTBNL is not selected in the draft by a third club. If the PTBNL is selected in the Rule 5 Draft by a third club, that PTBNL would be replaced by either a different player or by a cash payment (normally $50,000). If both PTBNL are Rule 5 Draft-eligible and both players are selected in the Rule 5 Draft by other clubs, the cash substitutions for the two PTBNL could just cancel each other out.  

Or, it could be that one of the PTBNL is already on the Cubs or Rangers 40-man roster, but the other team (probably the Cubs) doesn't want to add the player to its own 40-man roster at this time because it wants to keep the slot open for a free agent signing, and if the Cubs find they just don't have room to add the PTBNL to the 40 at all, then the double-PTBNL will just cancel each other out.    

Another less-likely (but plausible) explanation is that the double-PTBNL has something to do with doubts about Drew Smyly's health, and if he doesn't pass his Spring Training physical and/or can't pitch in Cactus League games it could be the Rangers will receive a different pitcher from the Cubs who is making a similar salary as Smyly (that would be one PTBNL), and if that happens, the Cubs would maybe get Smyly back (who would then be the other PTBNL). If Smyly is fit to pitch the two PTBNL would then turn to cash (presumably $50,000) and would cancel each other out. 

What's different about a PTBNL being involved in an off-season trade is that if a trade is made during the MLB regular season, a PTBNL cannot be on an MLB 25-man roster from the time the trade is made until the PTBNL is announced. That is not a problem during the off-season, as long as the PTBNL is named before MLB Opening Day. So one or both of the PTBNL could be players who were on an MLB 25-man roster during this past MLB regular season. 

Bottom line is, a "double-PTBNL" is very unusual. It would tend to indicate that there are actually players to be exchanged, not a player or cash. 

Also, clubs have up to six months to name a PTBNL, so it could be completed as late as May 1st (although it is unlikely to drag out that long). 

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  • crunch 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    "Jeff Passan of ESPN writes that the players and league agreed that the 2020 season won't start until "there are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans, there are no travel restrictions and medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans." Passan does add that the two sides "will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums" and also at neutral sites.

     

  • crunch 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    i miss baseball.  it could happen in june...it may happen in late may...it might not happen either way.

    there's so many things getting messed up right now i would get lost making a list.  there's some college guys making a serious "okay, we need to look at that guy" push that's dead.  former cubs draft pick russell smith (2017, LHP highschool) took last season off for injury (TCU college) and returned with a low 90s fastball, impressive control, and a MLB-quality changeup.  his "comeback" was 4 games and done thanks to this current situation...

     

  • JustSayin' 1 day 16 hours ago (view)

    COVID 19 + a short draft + Manfred's obsessive drive to shrink the minor leagues will change baseball forever.  It WAS still America's grass roots sport.  Where I live, from June through August, you could see a quality live game any day of the week, within an hour's drive.  I believe that era is over.  What's going on will have ripple effects, contracting serious college ball, college summer leagues and independent pro ball just as much as the MiLB systems.  With those changes, some of the game's charm will also go.  I've seen a kid from Cape Cod play in the Ca

     

  • crunch 2 days 14 hours ago (view)

    fyi for anyone who bought MLB.tv

    for "some reason" getting a cancel+refund via phone is like pulling teeth, but if you contact them via a webpage contact request many people are getting a cancel+refund confirmation within an hour or 2...

     

  • bradsbeard 2 days 21 hours ago (view)

    I imagine because the new labor agreement freezes rosters as of whenever the agreement is approved by the owners and it might affect what those guys are paid under the agreement. 

     

  • Hagsag 2 days 23 hours ago (view)

    AZ Phil. what was the reason that a whole bunch of teams optioned or assigned players to the minor leagues yesterday on March 26 ? Thanks.

     

  • Arizona Phil 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

    jdrnym: Ordinarily, players on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) who are on Optional Assignment to the minors do not accrue MLB Service Time, are paid at the minor league rate rather than at the MLB rate if the player has a "split" contract, and if the player gets hurt or becomes sick after being optioned, he can be placed on a minor league IL instead of on an MLB IL (so that he cannot accrue MLB Service Time or be paid at the MLB rate while he is on the IL). Also, a player who is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days will burn an option year.   

     

  • jdrnym 3 days 16 hours ago (view)

    AZPhil, what are the technical ramifications of optioning/not optioning guys during this period of no baseball? Seems like some teams are more eager than others to trim their roster down.

     

  • crunch 4 days 19 hours ago (view)

    "Major League Baseball has agreed with the MLBPA to grant a full year of service time to players in 2020 regardless of how many games the schedule includes.

    Rosenthal adds, however, that the two sides have agreed to "table discussions" on how much service time the players would receive if the worst-case scenario plays out and the 2020 season has to be canceled entirely due to the coronavirus pandemic."

    ---

     

  • bradsbeard 6 days 14 hours ago (view)

    This one has me scratching my head too. Surely they knew Lakins would have a hard time clearing waivers. Hate to just lose Pereda like that. Feels like they gave up more for Lakins than for Sadler, and I'm guessing Sadler might have been slightly more likely to clear waivers since he's out of options. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 6 days 14 hours ago (view)

    I think the most puzzling aspect to the Travis Lakins Caper is that the only plausible reason for the Cubs to have struck a pre-emptive trade with the Red Sox instead of waiting and hoping to win a waiver claim is that the Cubs believed that another club with a better waiver claim priority would almost certainly claim him. So to ensure that they would be able to acquire Lakins, the Cubs must have offered the Red Sox something more than the $50,000 waiver price, otherwise there would have been no point in the Red Sox agreeing to the deal. 

     

  • crunch 6 days 17 hours ago (view)

    RedSox acquire catcher Jhonny Pereda from the #Cubs, completing the January 21 trade for RHP Travis Lakins

    ...cubs lost lakins on waivers to BAL, btw

     

  • erich081 1 week 6 hours ago (view)

    I wore my Rick Wilkins #2 shirsey today and kept thinking real baseball was only a week away. And then I remembered this weird alternate reality we've seemed to have slipped into. Hope everyone stays healthy and safe.

     

  • Hagsag 1 week 10 hours ago (view)

    I am installing a padded room to sit in until this hell is over.

     

  • Charlie 1 week 15 hours ago (view)

    Watched it yesterday with my girlfriend and while Skyping my dad. It was fun to give her running commentary since she's only been a Cubs fan for the last five years.

     

  • crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    MLB is sidestepping this "to the surface" pushing issue by choosing to "finacially support" minor league players according to a press release from a couple days ago.  minor league pay has been a recent source of embarrassment for MLB...

    i have no idea how robust this assistant will be, but anything less than 100% for most players (no matter the source) would be a disservice to future of the game.