The Chicago Cubs have signed another player in free agency with a minor league deal for infielder Carlos Asuaje.
Here's the lowdown on Asuaje. In 175 big league games and 586 PAs, he's put up a .240/.312/.329/.641 slash line with 24 doubles, 6 HRs, 45 R and 42 RBI. He's primarily played 2B, but also a handful of games at 3rd, and 1 at 1st with decent defensive metrics. He did not play in the bigs in 2019--his last action was in 2018.
In 2019, Addison Russell put up a slash of .242/.312./391/.699 with a little more pop than Asuaje, but otherwise very similar. Russell was to make $5 million next year. Asuaje will make a fraction of that, which is a huge plus for a Cubs team up against the luxury tax threshold.
The Cubs have lacked depth in certain areas over the last few years. Last year Mark Zagunis made the opening day roster, and we saw forced tryouts with Jim Adduci, Carlos Gonzales, Robel Garcia, Taylor Davis, Tony Kemp, Nico Hoerner, etc. At least this go round, they'll have an internal option ready to go. Ideally, Asuaje stays at AAA all year long because he's not needed. But for the times when Javy jams his heel, it's a good option to have.
This is a depth move that replaces whatever poor value Addison Russell had on the 40 man roster. It's much cheaper, so kudos to Thed for saving money. I'm not going to get too excited about a journeyman on the team. But I am going to get excited about another indicator that the Cubs front office knows what they are doing, even when having to make difficult budget focused decisions.