Cubs trade Justin Ruggiano to Seattle

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs traded outfielder Justin Ruggiano to the Seattle Mariners for minor league pitcher Matt Brazis, the team announced Wednesday.

Brazis, 25, is 8-6 with a 2.89 ERA in 100 minor league relief appearances since being drafted in the 28th round by Seattle in 2012. He finished last season at Double-A and struck out 84 while walking only 18 in 72 innings pitched last year.

In the short term the move opens a 40-man roster spot for pitcher Jason Motte, who agreed to terms with the Cubs this week, though they haven’t made the signing official yet. In the longer term the Cubs now have a need for a right-handed hitter who could share time in left field with Chris Coghlan.

A trade for an impact player like Justin Upton of the Atlanta Braves is unlikely, which leaves the Cubs filling the need with a role player. Jonny Gomes has drawn interest and the Ruggiano move could pave the way for his signing. The Cubs want leadership in the clubhouse and Gomes has a history with new manager Joe Maddon, having played for him after Maddon took over the Tampa Bay Rays in 2006. Gomes won a World Series ring with the Boston Red Sox in 2013.

The Cubs still have righties Junior Lake and Matt Szczur on their 40-man roster, but the front office has expressed a need for veteran leadership which would come from outside the organization at this point.