From the Wire: Cubs Option OF Junior Lake to Triple-A Iowa, Recall RHP Dan Straily

According to multiple reports following Friday’s game, the Cubs optioned OF Junior Lake to Triple-A Iowa to make room on the 25-man roster for RHP Dan Straily. The Cubs will officially recall Straily from Iowa prior to Saturday’s game.

The Cubs announced Thursday that Dan Straily would make his Cubs debut Saturday night at Citi Field. Straily is expected to make only one start before he is sent back to Iowa to finish the Triple-A season.

Junior Lake has really struggled this season and has not received any playing time of late, and he could not take capitalize when he was in the starting lineup. Lake put together a .216/.243/.364 slash line in 98 games with 10 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, 10 walks 102 strikeouts and a .608 OPS.

In 16 games after the break, Junior Lake hit only .206/.229/.265 with a triple and nine strikeouts.

PrintJunior Lake was not on an optional assignment. Sending Lake to Iowa will cost the team his last minor league option. Lake will be out of minor league option years after this season. Lake cannot be recalled for 10 days and is expected to finish the season with Triple-A Iowa.

According to reports, Lake will play every day in Iowa until the end of the year.

The Cubs will play with a 14-man pitching staff Saturday and should call up a position player after Saturday’s game when the team sends Dan Straily back down to Iowa.

Could the Cubs call-up Jorge Soler two weeks earlier than expected to fill the spot vacated by Junior Lake?

Updated 10:05pm CDTAccording to a report from Patrick Mooney, the Cubs have not made a final decision on the roster move for Sunday’s game when Dan Straily is sent back after his spot start.

Updated 9:00am CDT, Aug. 16 – Correction on Junior Lake’s minor league option. By rule, if Junior Lake’s optional assignment does not last longer than 20 days, an option will not be used. If the Cubs recall Junior Lake on or before Sept. 4, Lake will have one minor league option left.

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  • triple

    I was a little bummed to hear they are sending Lake down, only because it will use his last option, and is kind of the end of the road for his development with the Cubs. I really gotta figure that if they are gonna use his last option year up this late in the season, that Jorge Soler must be the one they are bringing up to replace him.

    • Ripsnorter1

      “Poor Roster Management.”

      You ought to admit it.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        It may be, I hate to say that when we’re not privy to all the information and plans that they are. I do know I’ve never seen a FO take advantage of all the designations and whatnot to send guys up and down. They are extremely creative and what I usually expect turns out not to be the case. They usually do something that I’m like, “wow, that was clever.”

        They may be ready to move on from him. Being out of options, and with others in pipeline. Lots of K guys too, Olt, Baez. I keep hearing we can’t afford Olt because he K’s too much. But he’s got that power, and barely really got a chance. And he’s dominated AA and AAA in a way Lake wouldn’t even identify with. So if we need to move on from K guys, Lake is top of that list.

      • RynoTiger

        actually if you look at Lake’s stats, you’ll find from an offensive perspective, there are only 12 different games in which he either scored a run or drove in a run. that’s right, offensively his contribution impacted ONLY 12 GAMES all season..and he played in 98.

        so I ask you, what was managed poorly?

      • John_CC

        Lol!

        You just had to say it. I know you don’t think lake has much future with the Cubs.

        While I’m sorry for Junior, these moves only prove that the they are getting better and fast. Lake is replaceable with players that are ready! So while its sad for one player its good for the whole.

        • Ripsnorter1

          If Team Theo could wait just two weeks, no option would have been burned. This is going to impact both the Cubs and Jr. Lake’s future. I don’t think it was a great move at all. Lake has tools if he can make an adjustment….

          Look at Alcantara’s stats these days. He’s hitting .212. .348 slugging. 132 ABs. He’s got adjustments to make as well. Lake is outhitting him at .216. Lake is outslugging him at .364. Lake is out-strike-outting him with 102! LOL

          My point: maybe those players that some think are ready–are not yet ready.

          • J Daniel

            And some are not good enough? And some maybe are not coachable? Some can’t or won’t make adjustments? Maybe at some point will but it is not that easy for some. Agree that if they could wait 2 weeks they would have 1 more option left. That option would buy them next year.

            Let’s face it, they need much better than Junior Lake. I am 100% certain this has been thought through, is not a surprise, and there is a plan. As you are suggesting the plan may not work but they feel they either have better or will sign better and his last option will be used next year anyways.

          • Tony_H

            He is done with the Cubs. He does not fit the mold of the type of player they want on the team. Nothing to save by keeping him around another season.

            I was thinking all along they would let him play in Iowa next year (saving the option for 2015), but as we get closer to the off-season, they may have figured out they won’t have room for him in Iowa to play everyday.

            We won’t miss him.

          • mutantbeast

            Sure. Difference is, AA has always strugggled at first, then adjusted with expeience at every level hes been at. Lake never did that, even at AAA. Same with Baez, always struggles to start, then adjusts. My whole problem with Lake is we havent seen any improvement. If anything, hes regressed.

          • John_CC

            Lake has more than 500 PA with the Cubs. Alcantara just made his debut, give the kid a chance to adjust. Lake has a full ML season under his belt and is still lost.

      • triple

        You have cried “Poor Roster Management” so much that it just falls on deaf ears buddy… find a new catch phrase. It was time to send Lake a message. Maybe he will grow from this, maybe not. But to just shout what you always shout just has no meaning, well except that you think the Cubs are better with him than without him.

      • J Daniel

        It may be poor roster management as you suggest or they are basically done with Lake? Maybe they feel they have seen him enough, as with BJax, and there are better options coming. He does not fit in their plan?

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  • Larry Schwimmer

    Neil, can you explain to me what the CUBS’ rationale might have been to use Lake’s last option just to send him down for the final 16 games in IOWA? Does this suggest that Lake will come to Spring Training and either show that he belongs with the CUBS in 2015 or be Df’d? What is your speculation as to his future and why the CUBS took this action, using up his last option???

    • John_CC

      I’m obviously not Neil. But a guy named Jorge Soler would be one obvious reason.

      He was taking up a spot on the roster, not playing, and when he did not contributing at all.

      Tough breaks in the big leagues, there is always someone nipping at your heels. And finally, finally- potential isn’t enough to keep a place on the Cubs! I see a positive in this disappointing turn for a guy many of us had hope in, albeit last year.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Larry, first the easy question … if Lake makes it through the off-season with the Cubs and still on the 40-man roster he will have to
      earn his spot on the active roster (25-man) in the spring. If he does not, the Cubs can trade him or he will be designated for assignment. If they wait long enough in the spring, he could pass through and remain in the system. Because Lake has not been outrighted previously, he would have to accept the assignment to the minors and the Cubs would not lose him.

      I cannot explain why the front office waited this long to send him down. It has been obvious for a long time that he needed regular
      playing time to try to break the bad habits he’s gotten into. Waiting a couple of weeks would have seemed like the best course of action to literately give them options with him next season. With that said, Lake has always been a hit or miss prospect. No one has been able to get a good handle on his projection because as you’ve seen one day he will look like the best player on the field and the next totally lost and the worst player on the field. Lake has a lot of raw talent that was not developed before he had to be placed on the 40-man. And to be fair, Lake has struggled staying off the DL and on the field throughout his career until this season.

      Lake is at a turning point in his career with the Cubs. With the prospects coming from the system being mostly right handed, the bench roles figure to go to lefties and switch hitters. I’ve always looked at Lake as being a good utility player, if he could hit enough, on a winning team. I have not viewed him as a starter on a winning team but because of his tools (speed, power, and versatility in the outfield) he could contribute off the bench. He should be allowed to play a full season of winter ball this year which will help his confidence going into the spring.

  • BillyFinT

    They did the right thing. I praise this move.

  • SirGladiator

    This was an absolutely terrible decision that ‘could’ work out for the best. Clearly by using Lake’s last option for just a couple weeks time, they’re just throwing it away for no good reason, it’s beyond terrible management from that standpoint. However it does one thing that could make it the right move, and that is that it sends Lake a very powerful message, either shape up or you’re getting shipped out. If this move provides Lake the wake-up call he needs to get his head right and his game into gear, to work hard in the off season and come into 2015 ready to prove himself worthy of being a part of the World Series winning Cubs team, then it’ll be seen as brilliant, and rightly so. However if he genuinely needs more AAA time next year and now he can’t get it because of this move, then it will have been a very bad move. So here’s hoping this sends the right message, and that the message is received loud and clear. Junior clearly has the talent to be a meaningful part of our Championship team next year and for many years to come, but he’s got to start actually using his talent properly. Hopefully he will now start doing that, much like Olt did after they sent him down.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I think you had it right the first time when you said, “It is beyond terrible management.”

      • BigJonLilJon

        How is it “poor roster management” to eliminate the dead weight??? Lake didn’t perform. They need the roster spot for pitching right now. Both due to the long stretch they have and to audition other starters for next year. They simply eliminated a player who wasn’t any good to the team at this point in time and probably not a part of the future either. Perform or be gone due to the younger and better talent pushing. That’s the message to Lake and the rest of the team. This isn’t T-Ball where every one gets to play regardless of there skills. This is the major leagues. If you can’t due the job, someone else will get the opportunity to prove they can.

    • Denver Mike

      The only thing terrible about any of this has been Lake’s play this year….ho-hum.

  • Tony_H

    This move says a lot more about Lake’s future than the present.

    He was given the end of last season and this season to show he belongs.

    He didn’t do it.

    Now, if they had plans for him moving forward they would have left him on the 25 man roster the rest of the year.

    They didn’t do that.

    What this should tell everyone is the same thing they did with BJAX, they are working on cleaning up the 40 man and 25 man roster for 2015.

    Lake is done with the Cubs if he doesn’t have a place on the 25 man roster plans for Opening Day 2015.

    • Zonk

      I agree with this. Who cares about Lake’s options; he was absolutely terrible this year, and it wasn’t a fluke. He is not good. If we need a LF next year, we can probably find better options on the FA scrap heap. Sweeney is a far better player, frankly.

      I will miss the fun Junior Lake facts though; that he qualifies for the worst K-BB rate of any position player ever. EVER. Has the lowest fielding % of any non-pitcher on the team. Has drawn one walk since May 30th, (on June 19th).

      • Tony_H

        Coghlan will be in LF, but completely agree with you on Lake.

  • mutantbeast

    Lake is likely gone. He will be non-tendered after the season. I have no qualms with that, Junior hasnt improved, hes completely regressed. Like BJax, if he has any success, it will be somewhere else.

    • Zonk

      Lake is hopeless. He is strong, but doesn’t hit for power. He is fast, but doesn’t steal bases. He is speedy, but doesn’t have the range for CF because he gets poor jumps. He has amazing bat control, but swings at everything and is easily exploited by low breaking balls. None of these things progressed in the minors, as he got by on talent alone. For a guy who has played pro baseball 8+ years, he has no instincts at all

      • mutantbeast

        agree completely Zonk. As I said, hes never improved anywhere hes been, even in the minors. Worse yet, shows a complete unwillingness to learn, unlike what Alcantara abd Baez have done.

  • Tony_H

    Maybe this FO can count! Rosters expand in 16 days.

    If a player’s optional assignment (s) to the minors totals less than 20 days in one season, an option is not used.
    http://chicagocubsonline.com/major-league-baseball-transactions-glossary#.U-9ZVfldW-Y

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Tony, I missed that last night. I have updated the report. I appreciate you catching my mistake, thank you.

      • Tony_H

        I haven’t seen this reported anywhere like this yet, but I went to the CCO transaction glossary page, just to see if I was missing something and saw it.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Tony, you are right and the bottom line is that I forgot about that rule last night. I posted a correction and another correction will be in the daily report.

          • J Daniel

            Hard to keep up with all rules and even management teams make mistakes with them or file paperwork wrong so don’t sweat it.

    • John_CC

      Awful Roster Management!!

      They just got lucky that this rule exists!

  • AaronOR

    Maybe the FO thinks two weeks in the minors might get Lake on track. I still like Lake as a super utility guy, it didn’t take Olt long to get going in Iowa. Granted Olt has a bit higher pedigree, but the talent is there with Lake. If Soler doesn’t get called up, you think they might recall Olt to finish out the year, with the struggling Valbuena?

    • Tony_H

      I would think more Szczur. Infielders like Olt and Watkins are needed right now in Iowa as they have little infield depth. Of course we can all hope for Soler.

      • AaronOR

        Szczur would be a good idea too. Take a look at him in center, maybe bump Mendy to second and give Baez a few starts at third! I would prefer Soler isn’t called up till I have a chance to watch Iowa play next week in Tacoma, haha!

        • Tony_H

          Szczur would come in as the 5th OF.

          I hope for your sake Soler stays and you get to see him at the ballpark.

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  • daverj

    Lake’s upside was always as a major league utility player. There was never much of a chance that he would be a major league starter on a decent team. At the end of the day, this move doesn’t matter much either way for the longterm. Ruggiano and Valbuena are probably more valuable utility players for 2015 and 2016 anyway.

  • daverj

    I’d love to see Soler in the majors … much better chance for early batting average success than Alcantara and Baez. Soler, Bryant and Russell are the gems of the system … better prospects than Baez in my opinion.