3:47PM: Left-hander Brad Wieck was optioned to Triple-A in a corresponding move for Abbott’s call-up, the Cubs announced.
3:14PM: The Cubs announced a trio of roster moves, including Jason Heyward’s activation from the 10-day injured list. (The Athletic’s Meghan Montemurro was among those to report the news.) Chicago also designated outfielder Nick Martini for assignment, thus opening up a 40-man roster spot for right-hander Dakota Chalmers, who was claimed off waivers from the Twins. Right-hander Cory Abbott is also being called up from Triple-A to make his big league debut, FanSided’s Robert Murray reports (via Twitter)
A left hamstring strain forced Heyward to the IL on May 20, and the injury hiatus could allow the veteran outfielder something of a reset of his season. Heyward has hit just .183/.254/.341 over his first 138 plate appearances, an unfortunate slow start after the strong numbers he posted during the 2020 season. Through Heyward’s tenure in Wrigleyville (he’s in the sixth year of an eight-year, $184MM contract) has been marked by a lack of offensive production, Heyward was one of the team’s best bats in 2020, hitting .265/.392/.456 with six homers over 181 PA.
Martini was signed to a minor league deal in February, and saw his contract selected by the Cubs in May. The 30-year-old Illinois native has appeared in 12 games this season, mostly working as a pinch-hitter but he was only 1-for-12 in 15 total plate appearances. Martini has hit .261/.363/.366 over 303 total PA with the A’s, Padres, and Cubs at the MLB level, though much of that production came with Oakland during his 2018 rookie season. Martini has experience at all three outfield positions as well as first base, so this versatility and his knack for setting on base could potentially entice another team to claim him off the waiver wire.
Speaking of waiver claims, Chalmers joins the Cubs after being DFA’ed by Minnesota earlier this week. Chalmers made his debut at the Double-A level this season but the results haven’t been good, with a 9.49 ERA over 12 1/3 innings. Between Tommy John surgery and the canceled 2020 minor league season, Chalmers tossed only 39 2/3 total frames from the start of the 2018 season to the start of the 2021 minor league campaign.
Abbott has only a 6.39 ERA in 25 1/3 innings at Triple-A Iowa this season, his first experience of Triple-A ball. The 25-year-old will still get a look in the Show, potentially as a starter or as a reliever. MLB Pipeline ranks Abbott 15th on its list of the Cubs’ top 30 prospects, with his slider and curveball acting as his top pitches. “With an easy delivery that he repeats well and a fearlessness about challenging hitters, Abbott provides consistent strikes,” according to the Pipeline scouting report. Abbott was a second-round pick for the Cubs in the 2017 draft, and he posted some solid numbers in his first three pro seasons before hitting his Triple-A struggles.