In between providing deft non-answers to questions about how the Cubs would address their poor play of late, Theo Epstein announced to McNeil & Parkins on 670 The Score Wednesday that Robel Garcia was being promoted. It was hard to make out some of the details, since the Cubs’ baseball boss was apparently calling in from his underground bunker while wearing a bucket on his head, but Epstein said the slugging utilityman offered the kind of spark the big-league team hasn’t shown.
No one could have seen this move coming at the beginning of the season, since the 26-year-old Garcia had spent the last several years playing in Europe. But he leads the entire organization in home runs, smacking 21 of them from both sides of the plate, while manning several defensive positions in both the infield and corner outfield.
Garcia’s ideal big-league position is probably second base, if only because he isn’t particularly adept with the glove, but he’s likely to be used in a variety of spots as the Cubs search for signs of life. Epstein admitted more than once that the team lacked identity and that the front office would be taking steps to help rediscover or redefine it, with this move being one of many aimed at helping those efforts.
If nothing else, it’s a break from the status quo to which the Cubs have remained strangely compliant so far this season. Here’s to hoping we see some of the same pop Garcia has displayed and that this and other moves indeed breathe a little fire into a team that has been way too cold of late.
In order to make room on the roster, the Cubs will send Dillon Maples back to Triple-A. That’s unfortunate since they’d said his next time up would probably be for good, but the team has been operating with an extra arm and a short bench for the last few games.