The Cubs have selected the contract of infielder Robel Garcia from Triple-A Iowa and optioned righty Dillon Maples to open a spot on the 25-man roster, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein announced today in a radio appearance on 670 The Score (Twitter link). Chicago has open space on the 40-man roster, so the Cubs won’t need to designate anyone for assignment or move a player to the 60-day IL.
Garcia’s path to the Majors is an interesting one, to say the least. Signed by the Indians out of the Dominican Republic back in 2010, the now-26-year-old Garcia was released at the end of Spring Training in 2014. He was out of affiliated ball from 2014-18 before the Cubs rediscovered him playing for a professional team in Italy. Garcia obviously didn’t enter the season considered to be anywhere near the Cubs’ upper echelon of prospects, but he’s rapidly put himself on the team’s radar and now finds himself ticketed for the big leagues.
“He’s completely exceeding everybody’s expectations,” Cubs director of international scouting Alex Suarez told Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register in late June. “Obviously, it’s a surprise to the organization that he’s been able to make the adjustment as quickly as he has.”
To say that Garcia has made adjustments is an understatement. In a combined 291 plate appearances between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, Garcia has posted an eye-opening .285/.364/.594 batting line with 21 home runs, 14 doubles and a triple. He’s punched out an alarming 31 percent of the time thus far, including 34.2 percent in Iowa, but Garcia’s power is clearly a source of genuine intrigue — particularly with Addison Russell once again underwhelming at the plate and offseason pickup Daniel Descalso struggling to a similar extent. Garcia has played all four infield slots with the Cubs this season and is a switch-hitter, making him a particularly interesting and versatile asset for the Cubs.