Chicago Cubs preference for Luis Torrens sheds light on imminent roster move
Chicago Cubs right fielder Seiya Suzuki hit a home run in a simulated game at the team's Spring Training complex on Wednesday as he continues to work his way back from an oblique injury that he suffered in February.
Cubs manager David Ross met with reporters before Wednesday's game against the Cincinnati Reds that Suzuki's oblique is feeling fully healthy and that minor-league assignment is nearing, The expectation is that Suzuki will join the Major League team at some point next week and that will likely be the first roster move that Cubs make this season.
As of now, there are three candidates that would appear to be the most likely in regard to being the corresponding move in order to clear room for Suzuki on the 26-man roster. Those candidates include catcher Luis Torrens, third baseman Nick Madrigal, and super-utility player Miles Mastrobuoni.
Torrens is out of minor-league options and it would appear, based on the latest from Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic, that he will be on the roster for the duration of the season.
"For those complaining about Luis Torrens hitting for Ríos, fans need to understand how the team views Torrens. It was an organization-wide decision to keep him and they clearly believe Torrens can hit. When discussing Torrens, multiple people with the Cubs have talked about how catchers develop late and Torrens has shown some signs of being on that path. He hits the ball hard and puts up a solid at-bat. It’s fair for them to find out if that evaluation is accurate. Fans can complain all they want, but he’s on the roster and he’s going to be used as a right-handed bench bat, third catcher and even DH against lefties unless he proves he can’t be trusted in those roles."- Sahadev Sharma via The Athletic
Fans have also been complaining about Miles Mastrobuoni, though, this appears to be driven by the fact that he took the roster spot from a favorite among the fanbase in Christopher Morel. Morel very much is still being factored into the team's plans at the Major League level but as he is getting regular at-bats with the Iowa Cubs, the team will need someone to spell Dansby Swanson at shortstop or Cody Bellinger in center field when off days are needed. Enter Mastrobuoni as he will have a reduced role once Suzuki returns and that likely will increase his value to the team as well as the fanbase.
Madrigal would appear to be the odd man out. Madrigal has minor-league options remaining and his offensive struggles have continued as the season has started. Madrigal only has 1 hit through his first 7 plate appearances this season and it would seem regular playing time in Iowa may be the best path toward him finding some offensive rhythm again.