The Cubs have placed right fielder Jorge Soler and right-hander Jason Motte on the disabled list due to a strained oblique and a strained right shoulder, respectively, tweets Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com. In corresponding moves, infielder Tommy La Stella and left-hander Zac Rosscup have been recalled from Triple-A, he adds. Levine also tweets that Soler might be out for a month.
The loss of both players thins out the depth of a surging Cubs team that currently sits 6.5 games back from the division lead but has a six-game lead on the Giants for the second Wild Card spot in the National League. While the injuries may not be a significant detriment to the Cubs’ Wild Card chances due to their fairly substantial lead, the Cubs surely would prefer the pair to be healthy and in a good rhythm entering a potential playoff game or series.
Soler, 23, has had a rather disappointing absence of power this season but is hitting a respectable .265/.325/.385 with seven homers on the season. His contributions in 2015 have been about replacement-level when factoring in sub-par defense in right field, but the upside Soler brings (which he displayed in his first taste of big league action in 2014) is greater than that of his replacements. For the time being, the Cubs can use a platoon of Chris Denorfia and Chris Coghlan in right, with La Stella filling in at second base when Coghlan is in the outfield.
The 33-year-old Motte enjoyed a nice first half of the season (in part due to a .240 BABIP), but he’s worked to a 6.00 ERA in the second half (with his BABIP swinging wildly in the other direction — .385). Inconsistencies aside, he’s totaled a 3.91 ERA with 6.3 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 30.3 percent ground-ball rate. Those numbers are a far cry from his best days with the Cardinals in 2011-12, but his absence will nonetheless thin out a bullpen that is already without injured righties Rafael Soriano and Neil Ramirez.
If the Cubs do wish to make an outside addition, there are a handful of relievers that have cleared waivers, though each has his flaws (hence the clearing of waivers). Jonny Gomes is one veteran outfielder that has already cleared waivers. Any player acquired prior to Sept. 1 would be eligible to play in the postseason. The Cubs, however, may simply elect to stay the course until Sept. 1, when expanded rosters will give them the opportunity to bring up additional internal reinforcements.
Not good. Last time he was out a month, he looked terrible the first two weeks back. If he does come back the last week of September, he could struggle if they make October.
If they make October and he struggles, he’ll be benched so long as somebody is performing better. When the games are so important like in October, you usually ride the hot stick.
Motte, is a bigger lost than Soler !
They can always look on the waiver wire like Rearick or someone DFA’D due to September call ups. They are sure to be some servicable young replacements.
A middle reliever who has not been very good as of late is not a bigger loss than your starting right fielder who has been a 290 hitter for the last month.
Soler destroys any offensive value because of his defense. Hes been below replacement level (slightly) and they probably value from being able to move Coughlin back to the outfield and platoon Castro/LaStella.
I agree on the defense. He took a horrible angle yesterday on a ball. However, he is still more valuable then Motte.
WAR disagrees, however its not by much.
I think long term, sure. But right now neither are doing much. Motte is kind of a disappointment, seems like he finds it, then has a week where he can’t get anyone out.
WAR does not reflect a rookie’s rapid progression. I like the Statcast category that averages the hardest hit balls, where Soler is ranked #27. That can’t be taught.
With Jorge Soler disabled up to a month the Cubs will likely platoon Chris Denorfia and Chris Coghlan in RF as the article suggested.
The likely 2B platoon figures to be left-handed hitting Tommy La Stella and Starlin Castro, although I believe Castro should get the bulk of the playing time since I hate platoons at middle infield positions and Castro would have a chance to redeem himself while also regaining his lost value playing as a regular.
With Denorfia now needed in a RF platoon, it’s likely that rookie Kyle Scwarber will be the full time player in LF. Right-handed hitting Matt Szczur would also be a possibility to platoon in LF when MLB rosters can be expanded after September 1st.