Cubs News

Cubs activate Gold Glover amid flurry of roster moves

1 month agoAndy Martinez

The Cubs are providing a jolt to their infield while trying to find more playing time for one of their top prospects.

The Cubs activated Dansby Swanson off the 10-day IL Tuesday afternoon in a flurry of roster moves. To make room for Swanson the team optioned outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong to Triple-A. They additionally optioned Miles Mastrobuoni to Iowa and recalled infielder Luis Vázquez, a move previously reported on Sunday.

Swanson has been out since May 8. He suffered his right knee sprain in the series finale against Houston on April 25 and continued to play through it — and the results showed. In 12 games (11 starts), Swanson was 6-for-40 (.150) with 1 home run, 14 strikeouts and a .452 OPS.

The return of Swanson provides a jolt to a Cubs offense that has been struggling of late. Over their last 7 games, the Cubs have scored just 17 runs and are hitting .180 as a team with a .553 OPS. The batting average and OPS are the second worst in baseball in that time. Swanson’s reinsertion lengthens the lineup and alleviates some of the pressure on the top-of-the-order hitters like Seiya Suzuki, Cody Bellinger and Christopher Morel.

Crow-Armstrong was solid in his 23-game stint in the majors. Called up after Bellinger landed on the IL with rib fractures, the 22-year-old posted a .659 OPS with 9 RBI and swiped 5 bags in 5 chances while playing stellar defense in center field. He had 3 Outs Above average patrolling the pasture, 11th best in baseball — an especially impressive feat when you consider OAA is a counting stat and the players above him have played the whole season in the big leagues.

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But the Cubs have been transparent in saying that Crow-Armstrong still had room for development offensively and that comes in the form of consistent at-bats. With Bellinger and Suzuki fully healthy off the IL and playing in the field every day, plus the steady presence of Mike Tauchman, the path to regular plate appearances diminished for Crow-Armstrong. Since May 11, when Suzuki returned to the field after his IL stint, Crow Armstrong has had just 13 plate appearances.

Vazquez’s addition to the roster provides defensive cover to a team that has yet to hit it’s groove defensively. The Cubs are 25th in OAA as a team (-10) and 21st in defensive runs saved (-6). They were top 10 in baseball last season in both categories. The 24-year-old has taken strides offensively the last two seasons and will likely serve as a backup to Swanson and Hoerner up the middle as they’re eased back into the fold after injuries.

Mastrobuoni has played nearly every day since Swanson landed on the IL and filled in at shortstop after Hoerner went down. But he’s struggled offensively this season, going 5-for-40 at the plate with 1 double. Three of his hits came in the Cubs’ 10-9 loss to Pittsburgh on May 11.

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