The Cubs have designated right-handers Jose Rosario and Seth Frankoff for assignment to clear roster space for righty Dillon Maples and infielder/outfielder Mike Freeman, whose contracts have been selected from Triple-A Iowa. Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune tweets that another move will be on the horizon, as recently acquired Leonys Martin will join the team tomorrow. Martin is not presently on the 40-man roster.
Maples will join the Cubs’ roster having received his share of fanfare. He currently ranks 14th among Cubs prospects at MLB.com (albeit in a system that has been depleted by trades and by the graduation of many young talents to the big league roster). Maples was also highlighted by MLBTR’s Jason Martinez in his most recent edition of Knocking Down The Door.
The 25-year-old Maples has been a strikeout machine across three minor league levels in 2017, working to a combined 2.27 ERA with 14.2 K/9, 5.3 BB/9 and an enormous ground-ball rate (north of 62 percent). Control is obviously an issue for Maples, though Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com note that his occasionally triple-digit fastball and pair of plus breaking pitches make Maples a potential closer if he can ever find a way to more consistently repeat his delivery and improve his control.
Freeman, who recently turned 30, has been up and down with the D-backs, Mariners and Dodgers over the past two seasons. He’s batted a meager .123/.206/.193 in 61 big league plate appearances, but he’s a lifetime .312/.377/.420 hitter in nearly 1500 Triple-A plate appearances and can play all over the diamond. He’s primarily been a second baseman, but Freeman has significant experience at shortstop and in center field. He’s also seen time at third base, first base and in the outfield corners, making him a flexible bench option for manager Joe Maddon down the stretch.
Rosario has been limited to 17 1/3 innings this year because of injuries and has pitched just 50 2/3 innings above Class-A Advanced despite the fact that he just turned 27. Rosario missed the entire 2015 campaign due to Tommy John surgery and has a career 4.84 ERA with 7.9 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 in the minors.
Frankoff, 29, made his big league debut with the Cubs this season but tossed only two innings. He’s spent the bulk of his career in the Athletics’ minor league ranks and has pitched to a 4.40 ERA with 9.2 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9 through 116 2/3 innings in Triple-A Iowa this year — mostly out of the rotation (21 starts, three relief appearances).