Cubs

Cubs sign infielder Carlos Asuaje to minor league deal, per report

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USA TODAY

Cubs sign infielder Carlos Asuaje to minor league deal, per report

The Cubs have signed infielder Carlos Asuaje to a minor-league deal, according to The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma.

Asuaje has played in 175 games with the Padres in parts of three big-league seasons from 2016-18. The 28-year-old holds a career .240/.312/.329 slash line with below-average figures in wRC+ (75) and wOBA (.284). His best season came in 2017 — .270/.334/.362, 88 wRC+ and .307 wOBA.

Asuaje’s best offensive attribute is making contact, as he holds an 81.5 percent career contact rate. Last season, Cubs hitters posted a 73.8 contact rate, a number which would’ve been better with a full season of Ben Zobrist (85 percent, No. 1 on Cubs).

Nonetheless, this is a minor move for the North Siders. Asuaje has primarily played second base in his career, and the Cubs have a plethora of options there — David Bote, Daniel Descalso, Ian Happ, Nico Hoerner and Tony Kemp.

Although each of those players comes with question marks, they’re more realistic options to make the Cubs’ Opening Day roster than Asuaje. He’ll provide the Cubs with infield depth and has a chance to make the club as the 26th man on the roster, at best.

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Two of the Cubs' best prospects made Keith Law's annual Top 100 list

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USA Today

Two of the Cubs' best prospects made Keith Law's annual Top 100 list

For those who follow such things, Keith Law's yearly Top 100 prospect rankings is always a highly anticipated read. What would baseball twitter even do with their time if they couldn't spend it vocally disagreeing with subjective lists? Having a handful of Top 100 guys is always a shot in the arm for franchises that maybe aren't doing a whole lot of winning at the major league level; when you know you're not winning a World Series, the debuts of these prospects are high points of the summer. 

There wasn't a whole lot of Cubs' representation this season, which isn't a surprise by any means. Only guys two made Law's list: Brennen Davis at 55, and Brailyn Marquez at 80.  

Law claims Davis has the highest upside of any Cubs' prospect, but isn't necessarily close to a debut: 

Davis is lanky and has barely begun to fill out, so there’s likely to be more power to come, while he’s already shown he can manage at-bats and use the middle of the field to get himself on base. Despite his 6′4″ frame he already has a very balanced swing, and the Cubs will just have to tighten up some mechanical things since he’s got such long levers. A former shortstop, he’s adapted quickly to center field; he projects to stay there and add value with his range. 

He also loves Marquez's stuff – comparing it to Aroldis Chapman's – and says it's the reason why he's team's best pitching prospect since Dylan Cease. You can see the entire rankings, which go pretty in-depth, right here. 

Brandon Morrow sidelined with upper chest strain, no timetable for return

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USA TODAY

Brandon Morrow sidelined with upper chest strain, no timetable for return

Brandon Morrow’s comeback attempt has hit a bump in the road.

Morrow, the Cubs reliever and former closer, has what the club is calling a “mild right upper chest strain,” according to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. Bastian added Morrow felt the strain in his last bullpen session and there is no clear timeline for his return.

The strain is the latest ailment to sideline the oft-injured Morrow, who hasn't pitched since July 2018 due to a series of arm troubles. The 35-year-old has undergone two elbow surgeries since then (November 2018, September 2019) before becoming a free agent this winter. He rejoined the Cubs on a minor-league deal.

Morrow entered camp optimistic the latest procedure did the trick to get his elbow healthy. The Cubs have been easing him into action — the right-hander is throwing one bullpen every four days. Morrow said earlier this month he’s experienced some aches and pains but attributed those to being part of the rehab process.

Morrow is listed as day-to-day, according to Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune. But considering his injury history — and the fact he was already unlikely to crack the Opening Day roster —  the Cubs will proceed with extreme caution. There's no need to expedite his return, mild strain or not.

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