Chicago Cubs: Is a fringe guy in danger of losing a spot?
Despite beginning the season in the minors, Bass is out of options. He signed a minor league contract. So it was easy for the Cubs to call him up to the majors, but they might lose him if they try to send him back down.
As a matter of fact the Cubs have been facing a possible roster crunch with Bass and Eddie Butler ever since Bass was called up. The Cubs have had so many pitchers injured this season, that not only did they not have to choose between Butler and Bass, but they have been calling on a rather large group of Triple-A depth that has actually been getting surprisingly good results.
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The Cubs helped themselves alleviate a little bit of this roster crunch by including Eddie Butler in the Hammels trade. The Cubs made a similar move in 2015 when they traded away Junior Lake, who was also out of options and unlikely to make the Opening Day roster in 2016, to acquire pitcher Tommy Hunter from the Baltimore Orioles.
When players come back from the disabled list teams have the option of sending them to the minors for a rehab assignment. For batters rehab assignments are limited to 20 days. However, pitchers need rest in between either starts or bullpen appearances. So pitchers are allowed up to 30 days for rehab assignments. Unless they are coming back from a major injury and a long absence, a team’s best players rarely use the maximum allotment of days for their rehab assignments.
Sometimes a team will use a full length rehab assignment to avoid losing one of their players on the edge of their roster. If the length of the rehab assignment lasts until Sept. 1 or if a spot on the 25-man roster opens up earlier, then problem avoided. The Cubs were barely able to hold onto Trevor Cahill using this method in 2016.