The Cubs made a number of roster moves this afternoon, in part to make room for Mark Leiter Jr., whose addition to the roster was reported earlier. Leiter Jr. is starting today’s ballgame for the Cubbies. To make room on the active roster for Leiter Jr., first baseman Alfonso Rivas was optioned to Iowa. In other moves, Locke St. John was added to the 40-man roster and sent to Triple-A. Cory Abbott and Greg Deichmann were both designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man for St. John and Leiter Jr., respectively, per the Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma (via Twitter).
The Cubs are not long on starting pitching, hence Leiter Jr. getting the call so early in the year. They could have simply turned to Abbott, who made his big league debut last season in seven appearances (one start), but they instead chose to risk losing Abbott on waivers. The 2-year-old Abbott made 19 starts in Triple-A last year, putting up a 5.91 ERA over 96 innings.
Leiter Jr.’s opportunity in the Majors might not be long, however, as the Cubs could see some starters return from the injured list soon. Wade Miley three 15 pitches off the mound today, and Alec Mills, out with an injured back, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session later today, per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian (via Twitter). Both players will make their season debut when they return.
Deichmann was one of two players acquired last season from the A’s in the Andrew Chafin deal. Even at the time, Deichmann was an older prospect, but there was at least some hope that in an emptied outfield, the southpaw swinger might see some run. Deichmann made just 30 plate appearances with the Cubs last season, however, mostly as a pinch-hitter.
Fangraphs placed the outfielder/first baseman as the 22nd-ranked prospect in the Cubs’ system coming into the season, so it’s a tad surprising to see the Cubs expose him to waivers. Furthermore, Fangraphs had Abbott, a former second round pick, as the 26th-ranked prospect in the Cubs’ system, so they’re exposing two somewhat interesting players to waivers. A deal could still be worked out, and given the roster crunches all around baseball, it would not be surprising if one or both cleared waivers outright.
Besides, there’s lots of smoke and mirrors in prospect pedigree, and the Cubs’ system has not been all that highly regarded in recent years. For what it’s worth, neither Abbott nor Deichmann landed in the top-30 Cubs’ prospect by measure of MLB.com, and only Abbott made Baseball America’s list, coming in at number 23.
As for St. John, the Cubs signed the 29-year-old lefty as a free agent in November. His only time in the Majors came in 2019, when he made seven appearances for the Rangers. Last season, he tossed 58 1/3 innings for the Tigers’ Triple club in Toledo, posting a solid 2.58 ERA with a 29.2 percent strikeout rate.
Deichman will be back in Oakland
Added some young up and comers to the roster, oh it’s the Cubs, minor league deals.
feeling like someone who’s pitching-needy will grab Abbott
That’s the entire league
What about costello what someone sign him?
I think it’s a good move for the Cubs to give up on 2 year-old Abbot.
Dude is going to develop something fierce when he stops waddling about in his diaper.
Kid made 19 appearances before potty training. Solid start to life.
He was a preseason, preschool top prospect to watch!!
Wow the 2 year old Abbott! All jokes aside cory is sure to get claimed. Suck that we are going to lose him.
I Like Big Bunts
Dude, what do know? Lol
I’m not sure he gets claimed. Stashing a guy like that on your 40 man isn’t easy.
props to Abbott, not many 2-year-olds could make it in the MLB – he’s my vote for Rookie of the Year
But not until about 2045
Somewhere Henry Rowengartner is pissed that his record was broken.
The Cubs having the youngest player ever to play in MLB will be most exciting thing they have happen this year. Congrats, Cory!
Wait, he played last year as a 1 year-old??
Abbott sure is big for his age.
Locke St. John. That is a name right there.
Mlbtraderumors really needs to hire an editor because they are making some really ridiculous mistakes. Two year old Cory Abbott, having Alex Gordon on the twins instead of Nick Gordon…
With that said, sad to see Rivas shipped down. I would have given up on Hermosillo before sending Rivas down.
Lol, who cares?
It makes for a funny comment section.
Hermosillo is needed as the right hand side of the center field platoon. Rivas is not.
No he really isn’t as happ can play centerfield and Frazier can play left… or Rivas can play left…. Or wisdom allowing Villar more at bats.
I think it’s more that Hermosillo is out of options and rivas is not
Hence why I said “given up on Hermosillo” verses “send Hermosillo down”. Hermosillo cannot hit and we have three other options for guys to play center field.
Rivas can hit, can play first, both corner outfield spots and is a viable option for DH.
Hermosillo is a much better centerfielder than Happ and they need his late innings glove out there.
I’m sorry but the Cubs offense is not so deep that they can afford wasting a roster spot on a guy who cannot hit like Hermosillo, I don’t care how good his glove may be. Especially when you factor in that Simmons will be taking over a roster spot eventually
Actually, with the rosters currently at 28, they can afford to keep Hermosillo, which is why they did. If he keeps not hitting at all and Simmons comes off the IL when rosters go back to 26, then they probably can’t. Until then, you send down the guy with options. Pretty simple.
I Like Big Bunts
“Wade Miley three 15 pitches off the mound today”
Editor took Easter weekend off?
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Unfortunately Mark Leiter is one and done. Time to give Caleb Kilan a chance.
DFA’d or not it’s still pretty damn impressive for a 2 year old to have made it to the bigs!!
It’s odd that they wouldn’t just allow Abbott to go ahead and start tonight. He’s not a future ace, but he’s probably a back-ender/long reliever in the long run. The control is excellent and while he doesn’t have the best stuff, he’s durable and can give you somewhat reliable innings (4.40-4.60 ERA).
I’m not particularly surprised that he struggled last season. Imagine not pitching a full season and going from Double-A to the Pacific Coast League. If I was running a team, I would add him and send him to Double-A to tune up a little bit. If you let him try get it right in Double-A, I think he can become a very solid back-ender. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’ll do that for him, and he’ll go back to the PCL and continue to struggle, eventually move to the bullpen and become a Mark Leiter type.
As for Deichman, I love the plate discipline, but he basically have 45-50 tools all the way around. His raw power is high, but let’s be honest. He’s 27 and has surpassed 10 home runs once. Also, the fact that he can’t play center that well, it hurts his chances of becoming a reliable fourth outfielder. The hit tool isn’t that great either.
I think both wind up clearing.
Iowa is no longer in the pcl.
Didn’t realize that! Thanks!
Ross seems to love these reclamation projects like Leiter (see Rex Brothers having a job all last year). But I agree, why lose Abbott for 1 bad Leiter start?
The terrible twos.