Chicago Cubs release OF Ryan Sweeney at cost of $1.5 million


Sweeney victim of crowded Cubs’ outfield

The acquisitions of

Chris Denorfia


Dexter Fowler

, the arrival of

Jorge Soler

and the reemergence of

Chris Coghlan

made the Chicago Cubs outfield a crowded place.

Arismendy Alcantara

can play the infield, so he had himself an out. For

Ryan Sweeney

–he’s simply out.

After being unable to find a potential trade partner for Sweeney after designating him for assignment, the Cubs granted him his release. As part of his multi-year deal, he’s owed $1.5 million this season and a $500,000 buyout for 2016.

He had been a respectable sub for the Oakland A’s and Cubs in his career, but a recurring hamstring injury had limited his time, and his effectiveness. Last season he played in only 77 games for the Cubs, batting just .251.

As the roster choices came down to the final spots, many felt he would have the upper-hand as a veteran and a left-handed hitter. But the Cubs chose to go with Matt Szczur after his spectacular spring, and Jonathan Herrera, an infielder.

Another factor of the decision could have been the “soon to be” arrival of top prospect Kris Bryant. As he’s getting some work in the outfield, it’s hard to predict where he’ll find his playing time. But the thought is Coghlan and Mike Olt are auditioning for their futures. Fowler and Soler are locked in, and Bryant will be in the lineup anyway Joe Maddon can get him there.

With Alcantara as the super-utilityman, Sweeney simply found himself as the odd man out. But this is a roster that is far from set in stone. Over the coming weeks, it’s very likely to see some changes. Welington Castillo still has an uncertain future. And the Mets and Starlin Castro rumors continue to circulate. With Addison Russell waiting in the wings, it’s not as far-fetched as it seems–if the Mets are willing to pay. 

Next: Cubs affiliates release 25-man rosters