On Tuesday, ESPN's Jeff Passan broke the news that the Los Angeles Angels will be placing five of their players on waivers on Thursday, begging the question if the Chicago Cubs should be in on them.
The Angels players include starting pitcher Lucas Giolito, relievers Matt Moore and Reynaldo Lopez, and outfielders Hunter Renfro and Randall Grichuk. It's a shocking move considering three of those players were acquired by Los Angeles less than a month ago at the trade deadline. Giolito and Lopez were acquired from the White Sox for top prospects C Edgar Quero and LHP Ky Bush. Those players are now ranked number 3 and number 9 in the White Sox system respectively according to MLB.com. The Angels also sent LHP Mason Albright (no. 22) and RHP Jake Madden (no. 23) to the Rockies for Grichuk and C.J. Cron.
But those moves are now meaningless as the Angels are cutting the players they traded several top prospects to get. While the Angels have had an abysmal August, losing 18 of their 25 games so far, I don't think fans were expecting them to just put a chunk of their roster on waivers and give up. According to Passan, the move is purely to save money since teams will not be required to trade for the players, just put a claim on them and take on their salary if it goes through.
The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal also reported that several other teams have players on waivers:
New York Yankees: OF Harrison Bader
New York Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco
White Sox: RHP Mike Clevinger
Detroit Tigers: RHP Jose Cisnero
Passan also went on to iterate that the teams with the worst records will get priority on the list of who gets the players. Meaning the Cubs will be 20th on the list as they currently have a better record than 19 of the 30 teams in the league. However, that shouldn't stop them from at least putting in a claim on some of these players to help bolster the roster for the playoff race.
There is no room in the outfield for Bader, Renfroe, or Grichuk, who are all worse options than everyone the Cubs have. But the rest of the group could provide some depth for the team and help relieve the heavily taxed bullpen.
1. Reynaldo Lopez
Lopez is a 29-year-old right-handed reliever who throws gas on the mound. His fastball regularly sits in the 97-100 mph range, making him an enticing bullpen option for any team. Although he was having a down year with the White Sox, Lopez is sporting a 2.31 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 11.2 innings for the Angels this month.
Lopez would be a great addition for the Cubs and he could slot in as a high-leverage set-up man alongside Julian Merryweather and Mark Leiter Jr. With Michael Fulmer's injury and Jose Cuas' control problems, Lopez could take the pressure off the inexperienced Daniel Palencia and Keegan Thompson who is fresh off a return from the minor leagues. I bet the Cubs' chances of getting this guy are low since every competing team will probably be in on him, but that shouldn't stop them from trying to get the guy.
Lopez will also be a free agent at the end of the year and his contract in 2023 is only worth $3,650,000 so the Cubs would not be on the hook for much with only a month left of the season.