The Cubs have started talking about which players will be called up from the minors when the roster expands next week (Sept. 1). Joe Maddon said that he “hasn’t had substantial discussions” with the front office about possible September call-ups according to ESPN Chicago. But Maddon knows what additions to the roster he would like to see.
According to the Tribune, Maddon “likes having a speed-oriented player as well as enough reserves to take out his starting position players in blowouts.” The Cubs are expected to add several pitchers from the system in order to help a bullpen that has been overworked and thinned out due to injuries in recent weeks.
“The one thing you want to do is get guys off their feet,” Maddon said as he continued to stress the importance of getting his regulars rest over the final month of the regular season. Maddon and the coaching staff have to balance keeping the team and players focused and winning while getting players prepared for the extra month of postseason play.
John Lackey, Hector Rondon, Joe Smith, Pedro Strop and Chris Coghlan are expected to come off the disabled list during the final month of the season. All five players are on the 40-man roster. Maddon said Tommy La Stella, who is also on the 40-man roster, is unlikely to be promoted from Iowa until the roster expands on Sept. 1 unless “something happened” in other words, as an injury replacement.
Munenori Kawasaki should also spend the final month of the season with the Cubs. Kawasaki has been in Triple-A Iowa for a majority of the year. Kawasaki has hit .262/.363/.324 with 11 doubles, two triples and a home run for a .688 OPS in 95 games.
Jeimer Candelario and Albert Almora Jr. are also expected to be called up after Iowa’s season is over on Sept. 5.
Candelario has continued to produce from both sides of the plate. Candelario has a 10-game hitting streak and has reached base in 29 straight games. Since he was sent back down, Candelario has hit .306/.378/.472 with seven doubles, a triple and five home runs for a .850 OPS in 39 games. And in 64 games for Triple-A Iowa, Candelario has batted .315/.405/.516 with 14 doubles, three triples and eight home runs for a .921 OPS.
Almora Jr. is currently on the disabled list after hurting his hand. Almora Jr. was placed on the DL on Aug. 14 retroactive to Aug. 11. Almora Jr. bruised his hand making a play in left field during the game on Aug. 10. Almora Jr. visited a hand specialist while the I-Cubs were on the road. The Cubs have not addressed Almora Jr.’s status.
Gerardo Concepcion could also be added to the active roster in September. Concepcion struggled with the strike zone during his brief call-up (one run, two hits, one walk, two strikeouts, 2 1/3 innings) and has not put up good numbers since returning to Iowa. Concepcion is 1-1 in his last 12 appearances with an 11.15 ERA and 2.09 WHIP (19 runs, 23 hits, nine walks, 11 strikeouts, 15 1/3 innings).
The Cubs have one open spot on the 40-man roster, and could clear an additional space if needed.
ESPN Chicago reported RHP Josh Collmenter, RHP Armando Rivero and OF John Andreoli could be non-roster options for the Cubs in September. And another possibility could be lefty Jack Leathersich. The Cubs promoted Leathersich to Iowa earlier this week.
All four players (Collmenter, Rivero, Andreoli, Leathersich) would have to be added to the 40-man roster.
Josh Collmenter inked a minor league deal with the Cubs with the expectation he would be in the big leagues when the roster expanded in September. Collmenter has appeared in two games with the I-Cubs and in two starts he’s allowed one run on four hits with five walks and two strikeouts in six innings (1.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP).
John Andreoli could add the speed component that Maddon was talking about. Andreoli was with the Cubs throughout the spring, so Maddon and the coaching staff will have a good feel on what he could add to the big league roster. And he really impressed Maddon during Spring Training.
Andreoli has hit .256/.371/.401 with 17 doubles, seven triples and 12 home runs for a .772 OPS. Andreoli is 34-for-45 on the bases in 128 games for the I-Cubs this season.
Armando Rivero has put up good numbers for Triple-A Iowa this season. The Cubs promoted Felix Pena last week and not Rivero despite him leading PCL relievers in K/9. Rivero has appeared in 40 games, all in relief, and is 4-3 with one save, 12 holds, a 2.07 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. Rivero has allowed 17 runs, 14 earned, on 37 hits with 34 walks and 93 strikeouts in 61 innings.
Jack Leathersich made his Triple-A Iowa debut on Tuesday and pitched a scoreless inning. Leathersich is 1-0 with a 2.33 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 22 games combined between the AZL Cubs, Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa.
The Cubs could use help in several areas, especially in the bullpen. It will be interesting to see which players are called up next week and if the front office acquires any players from outside the organization before the Aug. 31 deadline.