There’s a good chance that the Chicago Cubs’ roster could look a little different by the end of this week. With the return of three position players from the IL on the horizon, the Cubs will have a few tough decisions on their hands as far as who stays and who goes.
After suffering a bizarre injury involving an exercise band that required oral surgery, Jonathan Villar is set to make his return from the IL tomorrow against the Baltimore Orioles. In 32 games with the Cubs so far this season, the veteran infielder is batting .239 with two home runs, four stolen bases, 12 RBI, and a .279 OBP. According to a report from NBC Sports Chicago’s Tim Stebbins, Villar has been able to train and complete baseball activities while he’s been on the IL and says "he’s ready to play."
Another Cub set to make his return from the IL sometime this week is outfielder Seiya Suzuki. Suzuki, who has been on the IL since the end of May with a sprained finger, is set to resume full baseball activities on Tuesday in Baltimore. In an interview on Monday with Cubs manager David Ross and NBC Sports Chicago, Ross said that if Suzuki feels good and ready to go, then he will not participate in a rehab assignment. If all things go well, Suzuki could possibly make his return from the IL this weekend in New York against the Yankees.
Then there’s David Bote. Bote, who had shoulder surgery this past offseason, has been playing for Triple-A Iowa ever since his recovery. In 45 at-bats with the Iowa Cubs, the infielder has posted a .178 batting average with eight hits, including two doubles, two RBI, and six walks. No, those aren’t numbers that call for a promotion to the major league roster, especially after coming off of a shoulder injury.
But the Cubs have to make a decision this week whether Bote is optioned, DFA’d, or activated. There haven’t been any reports so far that say Bote is set to stay in the minors or has been designated for assignment, so as of right now the plan seems to be to activate the righty once his rehab assignment is up.
What's the Move?
With the chance that the Cubs could potentially be returning three position players to the major league roster this week, who gets the call down? With Alfonso Rivas not hitting so well as of late, it’s obvious he’s probably one of the guys that gets sent down. Honestly, a month’s worth of starts where Rivas can see playing time every day and get three to four at-bats a game would be a great way to get his swing back on track.
But who are the other two moves? With Nick Madrigal struggling offensively, could we see him get sent down as well? With a long list of outfielders on the major league roster, is it time to get rid of one? Surely Christopher Morel doesn’t get sent down, right? Does the organization decide to make a trade this week to make space for everyone? It’ll be interesting to see what the Cubs decide to do, but one thing is for sure: the roster is about to look a little different in the next few days.