The Cubs claimed outfielder Phillip Ervin off waivers from the Mariners, as announced by both teams. Seattle designated Ervin for assignment last week.
Ervin will return to the NL Central after spending four-plus seasons with the Reds, though his final act in Cincinnati wasn’t a pleasant one. After a solid .262/.326/.438 slash line over 571 PA as a part-timer for the Reds from 2017-19, Ervin had only a .324 OPS over 42 PA for the Reds in 2020. This led to a DFA in late August and a claim by the Mariners, as Ervin hit only somewhat better (.205/.340/.282) in 47 plate appearances for Seattle.
Ervin has experience at all three outfield positions, so he could be a useful bench piece for the Cubs as they figure out their new post-Kyle Schwarber outfield. The right-handed hitting Ervin has good numbers against left-handed pitching over his career, so he could spell Jason Heyward or Ian Happ when a southpaw is on the mound. Ervin could have an advantage in the battle for backup role since he is out of minor league options, so the Cubs would have to risk losing him on waivers if they wanted to send him down to Triple-A.