Cubs sign Carlos Asuaje to minor league contract

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The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma reports that the Cubs have signed second baseman Carlos Asuaje to a minor league contract. With rosters now expanding to 26 players, Sharma suggests Asuaje has a chance to earn a spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster.

Asuaje, 28, has a career .240/.312/.329 triple-slash line spanning 586 plate appearances over three seasons in the majors with the Padres. He has almost exclusively played second base in the big leagues.

Normally, a signing like Asuaje wouldn’t register on the radar, but it counts as a splashy signing for the Cubs this offseason. As ESPN’s Jeff Passan notes, the Cubs are one of three teams that have yet to spend money in free agency on major league contracts. The Pirates and Rockies are the other two.

The Cubs have made it clear that they need to get below the $208 million competitive balance tax threshold. According to Cot’s Contracts, they are currently just north of $210 million. To that end, third baseman Kris Bryant, projected to earn $19 million this season, has been bandied about in trade rumors. Shedding Bryant’s salary would be the quickest and easiest way for the Cubs to get under the CBT threshold while addressing other needs on the roster.