After clearing waivers, Shane Greene has been outrighted to the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate in Iowa, as per the right-hander’s MLB.com profile page. Chicago designated Greene for assignment on Wednesday, and it isn’t yet known if he’ll accept the outright or (as is his right for a player with his amount of MLB service time) opt for free agency.
Greene has chosen free agency over past outright assignments, though the equation could be a little different this time since he already had an extended stint on the open market before signing a minor league deal with the Cubs in late June. Given the late date on the calendar, Greene might prefer to stay in a familiar organization and bide his time for another call-up rather than roll the dice on landing with another team before the 2023 is over.
The Cubs selected Greene’s contract on September 1, and he threw one inning of scoreless ball in one appearance in the Show before being DFA’ed. While just a cup of coffee on the active roster, it still means that Greene has now appeared in each of the last 10 Major League seasons, even if his 2022 participation also came in limited fashion (two games and six total innings with the Dodgers and Yankees).
The 34-year-old Greene is best known for his time as the Tigers’ closer, highlighted by a 2019 All-Star appearance. After posting a 3.25 ERA over 221 1/3 relief innings from 2017-20 with Detroit and Atlanta, Greene hasn’t been the same since another lengthy stay in free agency. Hitting the market during the 2020-21 offseason, Greene ended up not finding another big league deal until May 2021, re-signing with the Braves. The righty has just 21 2/3 MLB innings under his belt since, with a 6.83 ERA.
Greene’s time with Triple-A Iowa consisted of five starts, which is notable since he hadn’t started a game at any level since 2016. This could have been the Cubs’ way of rebuilding Greene’s arm strength since he didn’t have the benefit of a Spring Training, or it could be Greene’s way of trying to reinvent himself as something of a swingman rather than as a full-time reliever. With a 2.21 ERA in 20 1/3 innings in Iowa, the results were intriguing enough that the experiment will probably continue if Greene remains in the organization, or this (albeit limited) success could also factor into Greene’s decision to potentially look to a new team.