With the trade deadline behind us, there are only a few major items left on the regular season checklist. Those include waiver trades, and the expansion of big league rosters in September. With the injury to Luis Valbuena and Julio Borbon being designated for assignment, the Chicago Cubs are getting a sneak preview of some guys who will likely be called up for the last month of the season.
On Saturday, the Cubs called up infielder Donnie Murphy from Triple-A Iowa. He replaced Julio Borbon on the roster after he was designated for assignment. Murphy has played in parts of seven years in the majors, splitting his time fairly evenly between playing second base, third base, and shortstop. In 89 games with the Iowa Cubs this year, Murphy has a .265 batting average with 12 home runs and 41 RBIs. Though the majority of his playing time this year has come at shortstop, Murphy’s ability to play third base should come in handy with Luis Valbuena on the disabled list.
Early Sunday afternoon, the Cubs announced that they placed infielder Luis Valbuena on the 15-day disabled list. To fill his roster spot, they called up infielder Logan Watkins, who was also playing with Iowa. Watkins was drafted by the Cubs in 2008 (21st round), and has steadily progressed through the team’s farm system. He has hit .243 this year with seven triples, eight home runs, and ten stolen bases. He has the most professional experience playing second base, but he has had some playing time at shortstop and in the outfield. He probably won’t get a lot of starts, but he does provide a left handed bat off of the bench and can come in handy if the Cubs have to play any games that go into extra frames.
The Cubs have a number of players who can also be added to the big league roster once the team expands. They have plenty of guys in Triple-A who have had major league experience. There are currently five pitchers on Iowa’s roster who have spent time with the big league Cubs, including Casey Coleman, Alberto Cabrera, and Brooks Raley. Other guys with major league experience on their roster include third basemen Josh Vitters and Mike Olt, outfielder Dave Sappelt, and pitchers Cory Wade and Justin Grimm.
The Tennessee Smokies, their Double-A affiliate, only have one player on their roster with major league experience. That man is outfielder Brett Jackson. He has been dealing with some injuries this year, and was recently sent down from Triple-A Iowa with his continuing offensive struggles. Other than Jackson, the Smokies are in possession of a number of players who appear to play a major role in this organization’s future, headlined by second baseman Arismendy Alcantara (who played in this year’s All Star Futures game) and shortstop Javier Baez (whose power has caught the eyes of many fans, coaches, scouts, and pretty much everybody who has seen him).
In a way, the last month of the season could be considered as a “sneak preview” of what the future holds for the Cubs. And if these young guys can come in and produce for the team, then that will make fans want to buy a time machine so they can skip ahead a few years. It will definitely be interesting to see who gets called up, and what they do with their opportunity.