While Cubs fans continue to keep their eyes and ears out for rumored July trades, the front office continued their season long sifting of the waiver wire. On Saturday, the Cubs plucked Cole Gillespie off of waivers from the Giants. To make space on the 25 man roster, the North Siders designated reliever Henry Rodriguez for assignment on Sunday prior to the night game against the Cardinals. Gillespie is listed as a left fielder under the transactions page of the Cubs website, but he has played all outfield spots during his brief MLB career that dates back to the 2010 season. The pickup continues the Cubs interesting infatuation of having six outfielders on the Major League roster, a situation that was thought to have been finally relieved with the trading away of Scott Hairston. None of these outfielders provide super utility cover as infielders, unless you consider former second baseman Alfonso Soriano an emergency infield option.
What Gillespie does provide is another right handed option to go along with Dave Sappelt when focusing specifically on part time outfielders on the Cubs. Gillespie had only appeared in three games with the Giants this season and failed to register a hit in nine at bats. Sound familiar? Cody Ransom joined the Cubs after a similar start to his 2013 season with the Padres, and that pickup has turned out to be a positive as he and Luis Valbuena have combined to be one of the most offensively productive third baseman in baseball. If Gillespie can provide any production at all, he could find himself as a right handed outfield bench option going forward, with only Sappelt as his competition currently for the role. Gillespie also has history with Darwin Barney, having played with the Cubs Gold Glove second baseman during their college days at Oregon State. So the new outfielder will have at least one familiar face to help him settle in at the Friendly Confines.
As for Rodriguez, the hard throwing righty was removed from the Cubs exactly a month after joining the North Siders. The Cubs took him off the hands of the Nationals back on June 14th after Washington had designated Rodriguez for assignment, sending minor league pitcher Ian Dickson in exchange. The Nationals had given up on Rodriguez’s ability to have Carlos Marmol like control issues despite promising hard stuff. After just give games with the Cubs during his month on the North Side, the front office found Rodriguez to be expendable in exchange for the above mentioned outfield depth. Rodriguez had five walks in four innings of work, while allowing four runs (two earned) with just one strikeout. If no other teams pick up Rodriguez, it should not come as a surprise if the Cubs try to convince the flame thrower to spend some time in Iowa. Hitting triple digits on the radar gun is not easy to do and at age 26, it would not be out of the question for the righty to be a late bloomer in terms of control.
In an unrelated move, the Cubs also optioned Brooks Raley to Iowa and called up Michael Bowden on Thursday. Raley had been called up to provide bullpen cover and after going 4 1/3 innings against the Angels the night before to relieve Jeff Samardzija, the Cubs needed an arm that would be available to go in the pen. The right handed Bowden got into the games on Friday and Sunday against the Cardinals, recording one out in each appearance.
Stay tuned with Cubbies Crib as the trade rumors will only turn up the heat as we approach the end of the month, with plenty of internal roster moves surely to follow to fill the roster voids if not the talent voids.