Chicago Cubs trade Zach McKinstry to Detroit Tigers for a pitching prospect -- opening up a roster spot for Miles Mastrobuoni
Published in Baseball
MESA, Ariz. — The Chicago Cubs haven’t finalized their opening-day roster, but Monday’s trade of infielder Zach McKinstry to the Detroit Tigers opened up a spot for infielder Miles Mastrobuoni.
McKinstry was sent to the Tigers for Carlos Guzman, a 24-year-old minor-league pitching prospect who posted a 4.11 ERA in 27 games last year with Class-A West Michigan and Double-A Erie.
Mastrobuoni, a second baseman and right fielder, hit .333 with 2 RBIs in 18 games this spring. The 27-year-old left-handed hitter was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays last November for minor-league reliever Alfredo Zárraga.
He’ll back up Nico Hoerner at second along with Nick Madrigal, and will also be a fourth outfielder, meaning Christopher Morel will start the season at Triple-A Iowa.
Morel was informed of the decision Monday, though it was not made official. President Jed Hoyer said earlier Morel needed to play regularly. Morel hit .235 with 16 home runs in 2022 after being a surprise call-up from Double A, but also struck out 137 times in 379 at-bats.
“He’s the nicest kid in the world and super upbeat and respectful,” Hoyer said. “It was just like ‘Hey, you’re not going to play every day here, that’s not the best thing for your development, and when we do call on you we want you to play. And when we need you and you’re playing great we’ll bring you up.’
“For the role he was likely to be in for us, it didn’t make a lot of sense.”
The Cubs also plan on keeping third-string catcher Luis Torrens, a nonroster invitee who also can play first. Torrens, who hit .316 with two home runs this spring, was somewhat of a roster surprise with Yan Gomes and Tucker Barnhart sharing the bulk of the load, though the Cubs spent much last season with three catchers.
Torrens hit 15 home runs with the Seattle Mariners in 103 games in 2021, but only three in 55 games in ‘22. He was signed as a nonroster invitee in late January.
Manager Davis Ross announced before Monday’s game that Javier Assad, who excelled in the World Baseball Classic after a strong rookie season in Chicago, would make the team in the bullpen as expected.
Left-hander Brandon Hughes was likely headed to the injured list after incurring left knee soreness last week, and Rowan Wick was unlikely to make the roster.
The Cubs don’t have to announce their opening-day roster until Thursday morning.
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