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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  • Hagsag 47 min 34 sec ago (view)

    Hoping that Rizzo's back won't be a problem.

     

  • crunch 4 hours 52 sec ago (view)

    arizona summer league from the distant east coast point of view is an interesting baseball sideshow for the most part, but that AZL 1 vs 2 game sounds awesome.  the players and coaches have to be stoked for that one.

     

  • Arizona Phil 6 hours 5 min ago (view)

    18-year old SS Luis Verdugo last ten games for AZL Cubs #2 (45 PA): 429/467/881 with four doubles, five HR, and 18 RBI, including three three-hit games and one four-hit game among the ten games.

    As I mentioned at the start of the AZL season in June, Verdugo is the Cubs top prospect in the AZL (see my comment in this thread from June 15th).    

     

  • Arizona Phil 6 hours 6 min ago (view)

    Both AZL Cubs #2 and AZL Athletics Gold win (big) in their games Saturday night and Dodgers Mota clinches one of the two remaining playoff slots with a win while Royals and Padres #1 lose.

    So it's AZL Cubs #1 vs AZL Cubs #2 at Sloan Park Sunday afternoon (with game-time temperatures 110+), with Benjamin Rodriguez scheduled to pitch for Cubs #1 and Carlos Ocampo scheduled to start for Cubs #2. (Richard Gallardo and Benjamin Rodriguez are the Cubs top two pitching prospects in the AZL, so Cubs #2 will have their hands full).    

     

  • crunch 7 hours 16 min ago (view)

    oscar de la cruz since passing through waivers unclaimed...8 relief appearances

    11.2ip 11h 2bb 16k, 2r/er (both earned runs in 1 appearance)

     

  • crunch 12 hours 20 min ago (view)

    it's kinda crazy to think there's a chance pedro strop won't make the post season roster (yeah, the cubs have to get there first) unless he shows something different the next 5 weeks.  it's been hard to watch.

     

  • crunch 16 hours 1 min ago (view)

    yeah, and evidently they can't pitch either.

    now we need a few stupid baserunning mistakes to go with this new look.

     

  • crunch 16 hours 10 min ago (view)

    cubs can't field or hit anymore.

    this is not a good late-season look.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 16 hours 39 min ago (view)

    What happened to Danny Hultzen this time??

     

  • Jackstraw 16 hours 50 min ago (view)

    All whites are distinctive.  And ugly.

     

  • Arizona Phil 17 hours 35 min ago (view)

    There should be a number of good players and pitchers available off Outright Assignment Waivers over the next few days as non-contending clubs look to jettison payroll even if they can't get players back. The only problem is that the claiming club assumes 100% of the player's remaining pro-rated salary (albeit only one month's worth, unless the player is signed beyond 2019 and/or has a post-season buy-out).   

     

  • Arizona Phil 18 hours 19 min ago (view)

    BTW, Danny Zardon (signed by the Cubs out of Independent ball during Minor League Camp in March and converted from 3B to catcher at EXST) is now being converted to RHP in the AZL.    

     

  • Arizona Phil 18 hours 19 min ago (view)

    The AZL regular season concludes on Monday and the playoffs start on Tuesday and although AZL Cubs #1 has been eliminated, AZL Cubs #2 is right in the middle of the race to get one of the last two playoff slots. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 19 hours 54 min ago (view)

    Today is the last day of the DSL regular season. Neither DSL Cubs #1 nor DSL Cubs #2 qualified for the DSL playoffs. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    RHP Kelvin Abreu (April 2019 IFA - Venezuela) had his contract voided and he has been released. He spent his entire pro career (four months) on the Restricted List.