Cubs part ways with Frank Schwindel, add new infielder amid roster shakeup
Frank Schwindel’s run with the Cubs is likely over.
The Cubs made a series of roster moves ahead of Saturday afternoon’s game at Wrigley Field, including designating Schwindel for assignment.
That cleared room on the 40-man roster for infielder Esteban Quiroz, who was called up from Triple-A Iowa to provide infield depth.
The Cubs also placed Seiya Suzuki on the paternity list, as he went back to Japan for the birth of his first child. In addition, Adbert Alzolay was reinstated from the 60-day IL and Sean Newcomb was designated for assignment.
Schwindel was a great story with the Cubs last season when he emerged out of nowhere to turn in one of the best stretches by a Cubs rookie ever. He took home the National League Rookie of the Month award in both August and September as he hit .342 with a 1.002 OPS, 19 doubles and 13 homers in 56 games.
He parlayed that success into a spot in the 2022 Opening Day lineup where he hit 5th and played first base against the Brewers.
Schwindel was never able to repeat his success at the plate and has been hampered by a back issue that has persisted since Spring Training. He hit .229 with a .636 OPS, 8 homers and 36 RBI in 75 games in the big leagues.
He missed a month in the middle of the summer due to the back injury and is on the IL in the minor leagues currently. The Cubs initially optioned Schwindel to the minors on Aug. 9 to make room for Franmil Reyes on the roster.
“The organization has seen a really good version of him — one of the better players in baseball for a pretty good stretch,” Ross said at the time of Schwindel’s demotion. “So knowing what that looks like and knowing that it’s in there, he knows it’s not there.”
With Nico Hoerner still sidelined due to a triceps injury, the Cubs needed depth on the infield. Hoerner’s MRI revealed a mild to moderate strain and he will be out at least a couple more days.
Quiroz gets the call and is on a big league roster for the first time in his career. The Cubs acquired the 30-year-old infielder from the Tampa Bay Rays in Spring Training in exchange for outfielder Harold Ramirez.
“It’s a left-handed bat that can play second and third. I think second’s his primary spot,” Ross said. “He’s been swinging the bat well as of late. Was dealing with some injuries early on. Just giving him an opportunity with some of the things that are going on health-wise and the stuff with Seiya that we can make sure we have enough bodies to fill out the roster.”
In Iowa, Quiroz has hit .316 with a .978 OPS in September.
Alzolay returns to the Cubs after missing the entire year due to a strained lat — the second time he has dealt with this injury (also in 2018).
There is only about two-and-a-half weeks left in the season, but Alzolay’s return could allow him to go into the offseason on a high note. He will work out of the bullpen down the stretch and figures to be a big part of the pitching staff in 2023.
“Nobody wants to go into the offseason just building their way back up to get back,” Ross said. “He’s worked really hard and gone through a lot of adversity this year.
“He’s here to just continue to build on what he did last year and then working his way back and seeing where he’s at going into next year. I think it’s really important.”
This is the second time this season the Cubs have DFA’d Newcomb. The southpaw was originally acquired in April from the Braves in exchange for Jesse Chavez.
Newcomb has had some solid outings as a reliever with the Cubs but has overall struggled to the tune of a 9.13 ERA and 1.81 WHIP in 22.2 innings.