In a flurry of roster-expansion moves, the Cubs added speedy outfielder Terrance Gore and camera-hound catcher Taylor Davis Saturday. Righty James Norwood was also recalled from AAA Iowa. In order to make room on the 40-man roster, the team designated pitchers Luke Farrell and Rob Zastryzny for assignment.
Gore was acquired last month in a deal explicitly tailored for September, as his elite speed makes him a terror on the basepaths. The diminutive (5-foot-7, 165 pounds) 27-year-old has racked up 293 steals in 665 minor league games, but his numbers in the bigs are even better, relatively speaking. Gore swiped 21 bases for the Royal despite making only 14 plate appearances at the MLB level.
That will come in quite handy in late-game situations when Joe Maddon needs a pinch runner to get a big steal or ensure a run on a sac fly.
The move to add Davis is all about providing some redundancy and giving Willson Contreras more rest down the stretch. A September call-up last season, Davis may see some action if the Cubs are able to hold or extend their division lead a little further. His chances of getting much time are stifled by the addition of Bobby Wilson, who was acquired recently from the Twins.
Wilson is still on the DL until Tuesday, but the Cubs were able to activate two familiar faces Saturday. Kris Bryant was already back in the lineup against the Phillies for first time since July 23 and Addison Russell is available as well. Just how soon the shortstop will actually be back on the field is not yet known, but he’s been playing catch and should at least be able to serve as a defensive replacement should that be necessary.
Jaime Garcia, who signed a minor league deal with the Cubs Friday, will pitch out of the bullpen in Iowa this weekend and could be added as a LOOGY or long reliever if things go well there. And I’m still holding out hope for the return of Chris Coghlan, who has gone 11-for-32 (.344) in his last 10 games and has walked seven more times to give him a .462 OBP in that stretch.
Cogs’ overall slash of .233/.333/.377 at Iowa isn’t great by any stretch, but the numbers have all been climbing steadily and the dude knows his way around the Cubs’ clubhouse. I mean, we’re talking about the former NL Rookie of the Year who completely fell apart before fashioning himself into the best fourth outfielder in baseball with the Cubs in 2015. He also started Game 1 of the 2016 World Series, which people tend to forget.
Bringing either Garcia or Coghlan to Chicago would require corresponding moves to drop someone else from the 40-man, but that’s not completely out of the question. Of course, neither would be eligible for the playoffs since they weren’t rostered as of September 1, so the Cubs would only make a move if they felt like it gave them a better chance to win down the stretch.