The Cubs made a series of roster moves prior to tonight’s game, with reporter Mark Gonzales among those who relayed them on Twitter. The club has reinstated catcher Willson Contreras from the injured list and Seiya Suzuki from the restricted list. Suzuki was previously on the paternity list but traveled to Japan and wasn’t able to return within the three-day maximum stint for paternity leave, which necessitated his transfer to the restricted list. In corresponding moves, infielder/outfielder Jared Young was optioned to the minors while outfielder Michael Hermosillo was designated for assignment.
Hermosillo, 27, was drafted by the Angels in 2013 and stayed with them through 2020. He reached free agency at that point and then signed a minor league deal with Chicago. Since joining the Cubs, he’s occasionally shown flashes of potential, mostly in the minors, but has also been frequently hurt. Last year, he hit .306/.446/.592 in 43 Triple-A games, producing a 178 wRC+ and getting called up to the majors in August. He then produced a line of .194/.237/.500 in 16 games before a left forearm strain ended his season.
He was non-tendered at the end of that year and re-signed for 2022. One month into the season, he landed on the IL due to a quad strain and ended up spending four months out of action. In 31 MLB games around that IL stint, he’s hit just .115/.250/.148. He fared better on his rehab assignment in the minors, hitting .324/.400/.559 in a small sample of 10 games, but wasn’t able to bring any of that up to the show. Since he’s out of options, the Cubs didn’t have the ability to simply send him down to the minors and have instead decided to cut him from the 40-man roster. With the trade deadline long gone, they will have no choice but to place him on outright or release waivers in the coming days. If he were to clear, he would have the ability to reject an outright assignment and elect free agency by virtue of having been previously outrighted in his career.
As for Contreras, he’s missed the past three weeks due to an ankle sprain but will return for the club’s final nine games, which could potentially be his last with the team. Since he is heading into free agency this winter and the Cubs were never in serious contention this year, he was widely expected to be flipped at the deadline. Surprisingly, that never happened and he will instead be given, and reject, a qualifying offer once the offseason begins. MLBTR’s Anthony Franco recently looked at the top catchers available in free agency this year, with Contreras at the top. Though the injury slowed him down, he’s still heading into the open market on the heels of an excellent season. He’s already hit 21 home runs and slashed .246/.351/.471, producing a 132 wRC+ and 3.1 fWAR that are both career bests. He’ll have just over a week to add to those numbers and show that the injury is behind him before the season draws to a close.