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.