Chicago Cubs: Carlos Gonzalez should be just the first guy to go

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

With the Carlos Gonzalez experiment seemingly drawing to a close, the Chicago Cubs should start looking at shoring up the roster in other ways, as well.

One consequence of Cole Hamels heading to the injured list after straining his left oblique? The Chicago Cubs placed veteran outfielder Carlos Gonzalez on waivers – hoping he’ll clear and they can send him to Triple-A Iowa.

Gonzalez hasn’t been much in terms of offense with Chicago, hitting just .175/.306/.300 across 49 plate appearances in a Cubs uniform. Even at just 33 years of age, the three-time All-Star looks to be a mere shadow of the guy who won the National League batting title back in 2010.

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Regardless of whether or not Gonzalez sticks with the organization, the time had come to quit wasting a roster spot on the veteran. Chicago reportedly plans to add two arms to the mix using the roster spots of Gonzalez and injured left-hander Cole Hamels.

If I were a betting man, I’d say some combination of Dillon Maples, Tony Barnette and Alec Mills – or maybe Colin Rea if we learn Hamels requires a significant IL stint. The latter has been nothing short of dependable with Triple-A Iowa, pitching to a 3.27 ERA in 16 starts this year.

But that’s not where the Cubs’ roster shake-up should stop.

Anyone who wanted Gonzalez gone due to his lack of production can’t be satisfied with the fact that he alone is gone (at least for the time being). Chicago has several guys who aren’t cutting it, especially offensively, and now is the time to make the moves to jump-start a club seemingly treading water heading into July.

The most glaring offender unworthy of a roster spot is none other than Daniel Descalso. Brought in this offseason to provide veteran leadership, the former Cardinal and Diamondback middle infielder has been nothing short of horrendous for the Cubs.

Entering play Saturday, Descalso carried a .558 OPS – the worst among all Cubs position players. He’s not hitting for average or power and has struck out 49 times in 66 games. Given the team’s depth up the middle (David Bote, Javier Baez, Addison Russell), there’s no reason to trot Descalso out.

When you factor in the depth at Iowa, namely Robel Garcia, there are guys far more deserving of playing time with the big league club than Descalso. It might hurt – but you’re not getting anything of value at this point.

Speaking of Russell, I’m still holding out hope he gets hot and the Cubs can flip him at the deadline, potentially pairing him with prospects to help address one of the team’s many needs. We know how high the front office is on certain guys (Russell, Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora) – but at a certain point, tough decisions need to be made.

Next. Cubs need to go all-in on this lefty reliever. dark

With the Cubs treading water and the entire division separated by 5 1/2 games, now is the time to pull the trigger, shake things up and look for another second-half surge under skipper Joe Maddon.