Chicago Cubs News: Zach McKinstry trade market, Merryweather, and more

Chicago Cubs second baseman Zach McKinstry (6) celebrates with teammates after hitting a 3-run home
Chicago Cubs second baseman Zach McKinstry (6) celebrates with teammates after hitting a 3-run home / Albert Cesare/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

There has been a growing sense this offseason that the Chicago Cubs value the role that utility infielder Zach McKinstry serves. Despite several opportunities that seemed right for the Cubs to move McKinstry off the 40-man roster as a corresponding roster move, the team has avoided doing so. In his latest for The Athletic, Sahadev Sharma opines that McKinstry may be a platoon option at third base for the Cubs in 2023 but other teams have expressed an interest in the former Los Angeles Dodger.

"McKinstry has also been a popular name when other teams call the Cubs regarding trade possibilities. "

Sahadev Sharma via The Athletic

After being acquired by the Cubs last July, McKinstry slashed .206/.272/.361 with a .279 wOBA and 78 wRC+. McKinstry, who bats from the left side of the plate, has shown that there is power to be unlocked within his bat and the Cubs began reworking his approach in the second half of last season.

It would seem that there will be a position battle in Spring Training between McKinstry and Miles Mastrobuoni. Mastrobuoni was acquired by the Cubs in a November trade with the Tampa Bay Rays and offers the same value that McKinstry does as he is a left-handed bat that can play multiple spots including all three outfield positions. The benefit to the Cubs with Mastrobuoni is that he has all three of his minor-league options remaining.

Chicago Cubs claim Julian Merryweather off waivers

The Chicago Cubs made a roster move on Tuesday as the team claimed right-handed relief pitcher Julian Merryweather off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays and designated right-handed relief pitcher Manny Rodriguez for assignment.

Merryweather will be an intriguing arm for the Cubs to deploy out of their bullpen in 2023 as he possesses a fastball that averaged 97 mph last season. Merryweather posted a 6.75 ERA in 26.2 innings pitched last season but he may have suffered from bad luck as his xERA was 4.49.

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