MILWAUKEE -- You might be wondering that’s up with the Chicago Cubs roster these days. After picking up left-handed outfielder Julio Borbon off waivers on Friday they currently employ six outfielders and five infielders, not including their catchers. That’s a little out of the ordinary.
“It’s another way of getting the organization stronger,” manager Dale Sveum said before his team played the Milwaukee Brewers Friday night. “He’s pretty much a .290 hitter with 600 at-bats in the big leagues. It’s a really nice pickup. You don’t have to trade or spend money. You just don’t find those assets on every corner.”
And isn’t that the answer right there? The Cubs are still in the acquiring assets mode, not the “roster needs to be balanced” mode. They aren’t saying this, but what’s the difference if there’s only one back-up infielder? If they get caught short for a game they aren’t going to lose a playoff bid, right?
The Cubs have picked up four players off waivers since the season started. That doesn’t scream contending team.
“Whatever your needs are at the time,” Sveum said. “Those kind of things are nice to accumulate and have these options. And they might even be young guys that end up being prospects in the organization.”
Borbon, Ryan Sweeney, Brian Bogusevic. They’re all left-handed outfielders the Cubs picked up over the last few months going back to the offseason. Maybe one will surprise and emerge as a real player or maybe one will play well enough to be trade bait. It doesn’t seem like there is any rhyme or reason to who the Cubs acquire as long as there’s some talent there -- at least more than they currently have.
And players are happy to come to Chicago because they know they might get a legitimate chance to play, or at least compete. A lot of it is just filling space until a real prospect is ready, but this is baseball and for the Cubs it’s a numbers game. The more bodies they acquire, the better the chance good players will emerge. It’s as simple as that.
When third baseman Ian Stewart returns from his rehab stint at Triple-A Iowa another roster move will be made -- more than likely outfielder Dave Sappelt is on the bubble right now. But that’s about 10 days away from happening, so between now and then the Cubs might hit the waiver wire again or they may stand pat.
Until further notice this team -- and organization -- is in constant flux. When that slows down we’ll know the Cubs might be ready to compete.