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 18 min 23 sec ago (view)

    schwarber / bryant / rizzo / baez / heyward(CF) / caratini / cargo(RF) / ham / descalso(2nd)

     

  • Eric S 1 hour 52 min ago (view)

    Kimbrel pitched the 7th inning for the Iowa Cubs today - he threw 8 pitches (6 strikes) to three batters getting a fly out to center, a groundout to third and swinging K. Nice start!

     

  • Karl Pagel Blues 3 hours 21 min ago (view)

    Thank you, Phil. Have you ever considered doing your own podcast? Your grasp on baseball history is fantastic. 

     

  • Karl Pagel Blues 3 hours 29 min ago (view)

    Thank you, Mike. 

     

  • Mike Wellman 12 hours 27 min ago (view)

    And 71 games in, the C-Cubs & I-Cubs are in a dead heat @ 39-32...

     

  • Craig A. 15 hours 2 min ago (view)

    Thanks very much, Phil.

     

  • Arizona Phil 17 hours 10 min ago (view)

    CRAIG A: SS Ernie Banks and 2B Gene Baker arrived on the same day in September 1953, although Banks made his MLB game debut three days before Baker.

     

  • crunch 19 hours 14 min ago (view)

    i think gene baker was technically the first signed, but ernie banks was the first to suit up and play.  baker was injured when ernie made his debut.

     

  • JoePepitone 19 hours 17 min ago (view)

    He only mentioned his second wife in his autobiography, Mr. Cub.  I was surprised to find out from his Wikipedia page that he had been married before Eloyce (wife #2), having read Mr. Cub back in 1971 right after it came out.  I guess when you write your autobiography, you get to put in only the parts you want to talk about.

     

  • Craig A. 20 hours 5 min ago (view)

    Banks was the first African- American Cub wasn’t he?  Was there a lot of drama with that?  

     

  • BobbyD 20 hours 56 min ago (view)

    He was a hero to me growing up, and now maybe not so much. Sad and probably (?) better how things have changed. I'm sure in the 60s whatever Addison did would have never bubbled up to us fans... But thanks for the review-so-far!

     

  • crunch 21 hours 45 min ago (view)

    m.carpenter (STL) just got a stand up double bunting against the shift on a ball that barely got to the lip of the outfield grass.

    a little more of that from many more players would be interesting.

     

  • crunch 22 hours 7 min ago (view)

    another young fan took a foul ball for an injury...off the bat of castro (MIA) @STL

     

  • crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    hell of a loss.

    killer 9th inning drama all going LA's way.  wow.

    it says a lot that the packed house in LA was still almost all there through the last pitch of the game.

     

  • crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    ESPN...it's all bad, all the time.

     

  • BobbyD 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    I'm just glad it worked out for the diarrhea girl and her date. I don't know which is worse, Arod or that fucking commercial 8 times a game.