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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  • Eric S 1 hour 17 min ago (view)

    Not a hill I’m going to die on for sure, but compare the 2019 defense vs 2016, I believe Cubs are bottom half on defense.  Also, last info I saw on the topic, Cubs lead the majors in outs recorded on the basepaths.  At six games over .500, Four teams in the NL have better records than the Cubs, who are now tied with the Phillies and just a game ahead of the Brewers. I think it was Bill Parcells who said you are what your record says you are - have to agree here too. 

     

  • CubbyBlue 1 hour 52 min ago (view)

    I've lost the joy of making this Cub fan blow himself up.

    If I had continiued today, Dan would have dragged himself back into frame as a bloodied Leonardo DiCaprio and said, "I ain't afraid to die any more. I done it already."

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 5 hours 20 min ago (view)

    I wonder if Joe will talk about how he feels re: next years contract to media today?

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 5 hours 22 min ago (view)

    I don’t think Kintzler threw a single pitch where a Pirate swung and missed. All swings led to foul balls or that walk off hit. It was obvious he had nothing. The guy hadn’t pitched in over a week, so I can’t really blame him.

     

  • Jackstraw 6 hours 19 min ago (view)

    Cubs at home = Roadrunner

    Cubs on road = Wile E. Coyote

     

  • crunch 13 hours 12 min ago (view)

    23 years old and carving up the hopes and dreams of the very young kids he was pitching against...

    hard to take a 23 year old in DSL too seriously, but his numbers were filthy.  0.87 era, 0.48 whip, 11.6 k/9

     

  • Arizona Phil 13 hours 27 min ago (view)

    RHRP Marcos Encarnacion (DSL Cubs #2 closer) busted for PED (the ever-popular stanozolol), gets 72-game suspension that will carry through the 2020 season (he will be 25 in November 2020). Encarnacion formerly pitched in the Reds organization and was signed as a 23-year old second-contract FA by the Cubs in June. 

     

  • crunch 13 hours 54 min ago (view)

    truth.

     

  • Charlie 14 hours 1 min ago (view)

    By the end of this road trip, Bill might really have seen some things. No shortage of stuff to discuss in therapy.

     

  • crunch 14 hours 7 min ago (view)

    obligatory farnsworth flashback video...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZbG5MPsfYM

    some nice bonus "pissed off sarge" gary matthews in there, too...and dusty baker handling shit.  say what one wants about his lineup construction, dusty put up with some insane baseball attitudes with players he managed.  i still can't believe a clubhouse with jeff kent and barry bonds didn't result in attempted murder at the very least.

     

  • Charlie 14 hours 18 min ago (view)

    I think they are better than slightly above average in every area but the bullpen. Fangraphs WAR numbers suggest they are top 4 offense in the NL, top 5 rotation in NL, and bottom 5 bullpen in the NL. But that still suggests they should be right where they are, struggling to stay in the back of the pack of contenders for the postseason. So, that's probably close to what you are saying, but we could maybe attribute it mostly to one flaw--the bullpen.

     

  • Eric S 14 hours 26 min ago (view)

    Brandon Morrow says hello too re the front office’s best laid plans

     

  • Charlie 14 hours 35 min ago (view)

    Started to feel like I was watching Kyle Farnsworth and just knowing that he didn't have a way of getting the batter out.

    For those looking to identify the particular nightmare I was reliving: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/sports/2004...

     

  • Charlie 14 hours 40 min ago (view)

    Kyle Ryan and Brandon Kintzler handling a 1-run lead in a 9th inning following a sweep to the Phillies. This is not the bullpen the front office has been trying to assemble. The closer, the setup man/backup closer (Strop), the future closer (Edwards), and the replacement closer (Kimbrel) have all fallen through in one way or another. If they can make the playoffs, I suppose we expect Kimbrel and Cishek as reinforcements? It's still going to be rough with Strop underperforming.

     

  • crunch 15 hours 9 min ago (view)

    this has been a particularly rough set of losses...ow.

     

  • Eric S 15 hours 10 min ago (view)

    The thing is, this Cub team has so many flaws you really can’t take the inevitable  meltdowns too harshly. The Cubs are a slightly above average team - that’s all