The Cubs have claimed Mat Gamel off waivers from the Brewers, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter). The 28-year-old has seen a once-promising big league career get derailed by injuries and was waived by the Brewers earlier in the week.
Gamel was supposed to fill the void left by Corey Hart early in the 2013 campaign, but a torn ACL squashed what would have been a terrific opportunity for the 28-year-old. Hart didn't play a came this season, meaning that Gamel could have had a full season's worth of at-bats to prove himself for the first time in his career. Instead, Gamel will instead carry a career batting line of .229/.305/.367 to his former division rivals.
Gamel twice ranked among Baseball America's Top 100 prospects and appeared on BA's list of Top 10 Brewers prospects on four separate occasions. He's dominated Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .301/.374/.512 batting line and could get a look at third base in Spring Training, as Anthony Rizzo is entrenched as the Cubs' first baseman for the foreseeable future.
Gamel is technically eligible for arbitration this offseason due to spending the bulk of the 2012-13 seasons on the Major League 60-day disabled list. However, his inability to take the field due to injuries in each of the past two seasons should keep his salary just north of $500K, creating little risk for the Cubs should they wish to tender him a contract.