Blake DeWitt was designated for assignment last week and predictably no team was willing to claim his $1.1 million contract off waivers, so he’ll remain with the Cubs while being removed from the 40-man roster.
DeWitt technically had the right to reject his assignment to the minors, but doing so would have meant forfeiting his $1.1 million salary and … well, that was never going to happen.
No longer being on the 40-man roster will make it more difficult for DeWitt to be called back up to the majors, as the Cubs would have to first clear a roster spot for him by potentially losing someone else.
However, in January the team willingly signed him to that one-year, $1.1 million deal to avoid arbitration and the 26-year-old infielder is certainly an MLB-caliber player, hitting .260 with a decent .714 OPS in 404 games. Expect to see him back in the majors before long, although perhaps not with the Cubs.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.
The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.
Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.
Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.
The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.