Cubs News

Cubs make series of roster moves, including bringing back familiar face, adding veteran catcher

5 months agoAndy Martinez

The Cubs announced a series of moves Friday afternoon. 

Catcher P.J. Higgins, who was designated for assignment last week to make room for Tucker Barnhart, has cleared waivers and been optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Alfonso Rivas, who was designated for assignment last week for lefty pitcher Anthony Kay, has cleared waivers and been granted his unconditional release. 

The team also announced they had signed veteran catcher Dom Nuñez to a minor-league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. The Cubs brought back lefty reliever Brad Wieck on a 2-year minor league contract. 

Higgins and Nuñez provide depth at the minor league level for Barnhart and Yan Gomes and both have major league experience. Higgins spent the bulk of the 2022 season in the big leagues with the Cubs, stepping in as the backup to Gomes and recently-departed Willson Contreras. Higgins was lauded for his work in game planning by the Cubs’ pitchers. 

Nuñez, 27, has played 111 games across the 2019, 2021 and 2022 seasons for the Rockies, posting a .653 OPS with 12 home runs in 347 plate appearances. The Cubs can rely on either Nuñez or Higgins to step in if either Gomes or Barnhart miss time. 

Wieck underwent Tommy John surgery last summer and has had a tough luck in terms of health over the last few seasons. He appeared in 15 games in 2021 before suffering from an irregular heartbeat that shut down the rest of his season. In 2020, he underwent a procedure to correct an atrial flutter, an abnormal conduction of the heart. The two-year deal allows Wieck to continue his rehabilitation with the Cubs as he works to pitch again, possibly at the end of the 2023 season, but more likely in the 2024 season. 

Rivas, 26, played in 119 games for the Cubs across 2021 and 2022. He made his major league debut in 2021 and then played the majority of the Cubs’ games at first base. He struggled to produce offensively for the Cubs, slashing .247/.331/.322 in his tenure in Chicago. The Cubs have reportedly added Eric Hosmer to man first base in 2023. 

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