Cubs acquire Julio Borbon

UPDATE (3:05): Borbon is expected to be in uniform for tonight’s game against Milwaukee, according to Carrie Muskat.

UPDATE (1:25): The Cubs have designated utility infielder Alberto Gonzalez for assignment.  This makes the most sense with Darwin Barney returning and reducing the need for a defensive oriented infielder.   The Cubs also have added Cody Ransom and still have Edwin Maysonet in AAA for depth

According to Jon Heyman, the Cubs have acquired CF Julio Borbon via waivers.  Texas had tried to trade Borbon earlier and were said to be looking for “a pitcher with options”.  Apparently they weren’t able to find any takers and the Cubs were able to claim him outright.  No word yet on a corresponding roster move.

Borbon, 27, has hit well in the minor leagues, including last season when he hit .307/.367/.386 with 25 SBs in 37 attempts.  He has a .304/.360/.415 line for his career at the AAA level, which spans 254 games and 1194 plate appearances. At the MLB level, Borbon is a career .283/.324/.358 hitter with 40 stolen bases in 53 career attempts.

The two things that Borbon adds are speed and defense in CF, something the Cubs have lacked all season.  The disadvantage he has is that he is a lefty bat and doesn’t solve the Cubs problems hitting lefties, which we discussed earlier today.

Right now, it’s difficult to imagine what role he’d have with the Cubs other than a pinch-runner and late inning defense.  He isn’t going to replace any of the Cubs OF’ers in the starting lineup.

Of course, the long term view is that it gives the Cubs even more flexibility in terms of a deal.  The Cubs have Ryan Sweeney and Bryan Bogusevic at AAA, both of whom are also lefty and have MLB experience.

As for who goes on the roster, it may be one of the latest acquisitions (Cody Ransom, Kevin Gregg, Kameron Loe) or utility infielder Alberto Gonzalez.  It’s doubtful the Cubs want to let go a young pitcher with some long term potential, but the Cubs have recently let go Jeff Beliveau and Robert Whitenack, so we can’t completely rule that out.

Because Borbon is out of options and would need to be put on the 25 man roster, the move that makes the most logistical sense in the short term is to send Dave Sappelt to AAA.  He has not hit the ball well, he has 2 options left.  The LH hitting Borbon may not make much sense from a platoon/matchup standpoint (he’s a .245 career hitter with a .287 OBP lifetime vs. LHP), but sending Sappelt to AAA wouldn’t cost the Cubs a current player in terms of a 25 man roster move.  They will have to make room on the 40 man, however, as noted above.

 

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  • Good move. Just keep on adding players. Don't know if any
    will be part of our future plans.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I like that Borbon adds a true CF'er, something they lack at the MLB level -- and with Jackson struggling and Sweeney and Bogusevic better suited for the corners, there doesn't seem to be one ready at the AAA level either.

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    There is no such thing as to much depth at any position.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Agreed.

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    I didn't think about dropping Loe or Gregg; Cubs could promote Dolis, DFA one of those guys, option Sappelt to AAA, and add Borbon.

    If Stewart was healthy, you could DFA Ransom, but I don't think he's quite ready yet there.

    Either way, Sappelt is probably off the 25-man

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Agreed. Very much the way I'm thinking as well.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Cubs just DFA'd Gonzalez.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Sorry to see him go, he's a decent fielder although good field/no hit utility guys are a dime a dozen. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Yankees claim him.

    He was probably going to be DFA'd when Stewart is activated anyway.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    I think that's the idea. Gonzalez is very replaceable, including from guys within their own system right now. Good defender, but with the Cubs solid defensive IF, not much need for that.

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    Seems like a bit of an odd move though because he's another lefty bat. I wonder what his limited career splits are in the majors, I'll take a look.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Not sure how he fits until a trade is made. It probably means DeJesus or Schierholtz play full time while Sappelt goes to the minors and Borbon becomes a defensive replacement/pinch runner for now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sorry to see Sappelt go. I think he'd hit if he got more AB's.
    When Stewart is ready to come back is he going to bring much more than Valbuena?. Valbuena is not a long term answer and is more of a utility player but he can play all infield positions and play them well. Not so sure Stewart will hit.

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    Career splits in the majors for Borbon:

    vs rhp: .293/.333/.370
    vs lhp: .245/.287/.309

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Yep. He's not the answer vs. LHP but does offer defense/speed off the bench in the short term and possible replacement for DDJ in the slightly longer term.

  • I think you trade DeJesus here, but we will see.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    Yeah, now that DeJesus has been hitting the ball well, I suspect the Cubs have lined up some potential suitors and are confident they'll get value for him, and soon. DeJesus' defense, makeup and OB skills suggest a guy who appeals to scouts, esp Moneyball types.

    A shame we couldn't have added him a day or two earlier -- he might have helped us steal the Rangers' signs!

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    These moves sure point in the direction of trading DeJesus. Which most of us thought at some point this year would happen. But no one is thinking this early into the season.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    We traded Marlon Byrd almost one year ago exactly, so it can be done. That said, I hope we can get more for DeJesus, who's at least hitting his weight...

  • In reply to Taft:

    Shoot Byrd was not even hitting a new born childs weight at the time of his trade. With Byrd it was very clear that his skills had erroded to the point that a move was forthcoming sooner than later.

  • Short term move is a DFA of Gonzalez. Sappelt to AAA and maybe Stewart to the Cubs. Valbuena becomes utility infielder. Then you have to find room for Cody Ransom on the roster as the RH complement.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Unless there is something in the works to trade DeJesus now. I would assume for lower level prospect. This frees up a 40 man roster spot. That puts Borbon in CF, Stewart at 3B, Valbuena back to what he does best, untility guy. Losing DeJesus spot, you fill with Borbon, and in escence Ransom takes Gonzalez spot.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    I don't know if there is something in the works for DDJ. If there were something close, they didn't need to get Borbon. Sweeney could have replaced DDJ if they felt they were on the verge of a trade.

    I really think this is more about adding talent and shaking up the roster a bit.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    As of now only the baseball Gods know. WIth both them being LH I am hard pressed to see if they keep DeJesus, how Borbon will get many AB. So it could be they stuff him on the bench and use as needed.

  • I like this move because Bordon I think gets a bad rap. He has less then 200 PA vs LHP at the Major league level. Let him try and hit LHp and see if he can.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I as well like this. DeJesus is a nice player. But Borbon brings two things he does much better, speed and defense.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    Yeah, but Borbon have a wife as hot as Kim DeJesus? Just sayin'.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Maybe, but he needs to play everyday to get ABs vs. LHP. And that means a trade of DeJesus or Soriano (with DDJ moving to LF)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I would be interest to see what DDJ trade value is?

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Me too. He's an OBP guy, a good clubhouse fit on any team, and he has shown he can at least hold his own in CF, which adds to his value.

  • Boy, I would hate to see DDJ go. That starting OF is starting to grow on me as a good one, but it is about the future these days.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I would too. I'm miss DDJ instantly. That said, I don't believe there is a trade imminent.

  • I know the CF platoon hasn't worked thus far, but I'm wary of putting DD out there everyday (assuming Sappelt gets sent down). I guess Dejesus will at least grind out ABs, but still think we're better over the long term with a lefty/righty platoon.

  • In reply to Denim Dan:

    I'm concerned about that as well. I'd rather have Schierholtz get everyday ABs, but that could mean Hairston platooning with DDJ in CF and Hairston not a good defender there.

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    Defense is the key here. The offense diff won't be huge but the D will improve the team.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    I like having a good defensive CF on the team. I think the Cubs will at least be better equipped at the end of the games: assuming Borbon comes in to play CF, DDJ moves to LF, and Schierholtz stays in RF. That's actually a very good defensive OF.

  • Okay, I just took a good look at the list of MLB-ready righty or switch-hitting Center Fielders, as well as the depth charts of teams, and their need for lefty hitters, and I have arrived at this:

    We can/should trade Dejesus for Bourgos of the Angels. Perhaps there is something more expansive than that to include more players, but I don't think Dejesus can bring much more than this, and frankly, the Angels need a shakeup right now. Trout can play CF.

    This would improve our CF defense tremendously and give us a platoon of fast, young guys up the middle in Borbon/Bourjous.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Would be a nice pickup for DDJ. They were asking for a lot more in the offseason, but who knows? Maybe they're a little desperate after spending all that money the last two years and getting off to a terrible start. Not only have they been bad, they haven't been very close in a lot of their games.

  • If we were going to get a Rangers cast-off, I'd have preferred Lance Berkman. Not because he'd add anything to the team -- in fact, I'd bench him for the entire year, meaning he'd have to spend most of his summer sulking in the Wrigley Field clubhouse he hates so much. Given his $10 million salary, it's expensive joke, but the Rickets family can afford it.

  • In reply to Taft:

    Haha! He doesn't like the city either. He'd be miserable. Poor Lance Berkman.

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    In reply to Taft:

    The Rangers didn't have Berkman on waivers.

  • A guy can dream, can't he?

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    In reply to Taft:

    Dreaming is free.

  • In reply to Taft:

    Run him out there when we have heavy storms and watch him lead the charge of the lightning brigade.

  • By summer I think the Cubs will need all these OF they're signing... DDJ, Sori, Nate the Great all have trade value and figure to be dealt if the return is decent. And as a first-time poster let me just say I've been lurking here a while and love the top-notch analysis by John, Luke's ML updates, and Felzz' humor... glad to chime in every now and then.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    I like that Bourbon adds depth in case of the trades we are expecting. Management primarily made this pickup because great value for FREE. They couldn't pass this up, not that they had a trade in mind YET. Although I hate to see some of the better players that are performing leave, but if you can get great value from them all the better. Think Maholm. Management cares about the players but they are also assets. Nate and Villenueva are huge steals if they can keep this up longer. Easily would get great value. Everything still might be a little too early, but can't hurt.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Thanks, Paulson. I do the minor league updates here, by the way. We don't have a Luke ;)

    I'm sure we'll see a trade or three this season. DDJ has value and Schierholtz seems to be building it quickly -- but Cubs may keep him if they can't get value. He's still young and could be a nice player for them for another 2-3 years.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Options are the key. Management doesn't want to be tied to one player or feel like they have to get rid of someone. That is a wonderful situation as you win either way. Not bad for cheap deals on a short term basis. I still can't believe for just a little over $2 million. They won't get every deal right, but have come up with some good ones.

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    If we trade DDJ a 7th inning arm would be a nice return

  • This is just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic, this move is about as big a non issue as there can be. Sappelt at 1 for 19 had to go and Bourbon is merely a marginally better fill in. He is just keeping the seat warm til we get some legit major leaguers to fill out the roster. even though in th ere-build mode, somehow they need to add another RBI bat or to to the lineup. Sabre metrics are good to a point, but this team needs some run producers, too many punch & judy bats in this lineup.

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    In reply to Behn Wilson:

    Not to pick on you specifically but people always say things like this as if legit run producers are just sitting at home waiting to get signed or a team is actively trying to get rid one. I wish it was but there just aren't, were not the only team in need of a big bat. Less and less impact players are hitting FA and the ones that do are a year or two away from being past their prime.

    It's not ideal but sometimes you just have to work with what you have until a good opportunity arises. Let's just hope the guys we have get their stuff together instead of hoping for miracle players that aren't there.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    To piggyback on your response that they can be better now, Cubs need to get better with runners in scoring position. I saw somewhere that Nate is like hitting .500 and the rest of the team with like 80 ABs is hitting like .100. All it takes is a single and you are a run producer, even a sacrifice fly or groundout. These close games will help in the long run, even though the Cubs are losing most of the close games or I should say losing the lead and then losing. It isn't as bad as it seems. They aren't ready to contend, but time will help. Minors are beginning a much better approach at the plate where walks are more accepted and above their past performance. Good things are coming even if they don't all pan out (as that would be dreaming).

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    In reply to Cubs Future:

    Good points. Timely hitting is definitely going to have to improve.

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    In reply to Cubs Future:

    There's some extent to which that is bad luck. But, also, I'd argue it's coming from the way the lineup is currently working. DDJ and definitely Castro have been doing great jobs of getting on, but then Rizzo and Soriano have been in slumps. So, when they come up after DDJ and Castro have gotten into scoring position, they get out. That isn't a huge surprise -- they're getting out a lot with guys *not* in scoring position. Same is true of the bottom of the lineup after Schierholtz and Castillo get on. I think those numbers will start to come around as Soriano and Rizzo come around, and hopefully when we replace Valbuena with Stewart.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yes of course some of it is bad luck. There is no way it would continue at .100. Rizzo and Soriano will step it up. But looking at the future Soriano won't be long for the team which is the point the one person was making. Also DDJ probably won't be even short for the team either. Things will get better but will get worse again with trades etc. When the weather warms up bats always seem to do better. We will see what this Cubs team can build upon. I definitely like how Wellington is strongly making a case for being a building block. Not to mention Wood too.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Good GMs find a way to make things happen. Bears are capped out but emery seems to be finding a wway to make some nice additions. Our offense is so weak that many teams 4th & 5th outfielders are better than our starters. Im sure there are teams that are carrying a contract or two on their benches that they would like to dump. We could use an outfielder with some pop and as long as their contract is only a year or two Cubs could afford to add them and not interefere with their long range plans.

    Im all for the rebuilding but this offense is jjust far too weak. I fully expect Epstein is already on the verge of adding a bat tor two. Nothing spectacular, but better than what we have.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    haha loving the "sabre" metrics.

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    Sabermetrics is about run production. They just don't use things like RBI, which don't tell you much about individual player value.

  • Lillibridge clears waivers and assigned to Iowa. Cubs release minor league P Jensen Lewis.

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    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    What's your favorite memory of the Jensen Lewis era?

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    The sweet stereo's he made. :)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    It's a tossup between hearing his uncle Huey and the News, or how close we came to acquiring Russell Martin to reprise the Martin & Lewis comedy team / starting battery.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Brilliant analysis with the Martin & Lewis battery. Hadn't thought of that. Certainly would have sold more tickets.

  • Nice pick up. Lot of upside there. Surprised the Astros didn't grab him.

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