After weeks of ardent calls for the Cubs to add Ian Miller to the roster, they finally relented. The full-throttle speed demon has been recalled from South Bend and will provide a wrinkle that’s been absent for a team that has dropped too many close games. Beyond just his pure speed, Miller brings an intensity that hasn’t changed much since he and his dad were asked to leave their local Little League program back in the day.
The lefty-batting Miller led all of spring training with eight stolen bases and looked like a great fit for the Opening Day roster even when it was only going to be set at 26 players. He ended up not making the 30-man squad, which seemed a bit odd to this intrepid blogger considering the new rules of putting a man on second in extra innings. It became even more frustrating when David Ross opted for Albert Almora Jr. as a pinch runner late in games.
The box score numbers aren’t all that impressive, but Miller really set his pride aside in Triple-A with the Mariners and started to bang a little bit more. At the same time, he’s more than happy to lay down a bunt or beat out a bleeder for an infield hit. Lord knows the Cubs could use someone who makes things happen.
“Coming into spring training I really just wanted to just show what I could do physically,” Miller told CI during the shutdown. “I wanted to be able to score runs in unconventional ways, whether it’s a stolen base or moving up on a ground ball or making something happen with an error and advancing a base or two.
“It was really all about just showing that I could help the Chicago Cubs win a baseball game, whether it’s April 1st or it’s in October.”
In order to make room on the 40-man roster for Miller, who will wear No. 6 for the Cubs, James Norwood was placed on the 45-day IL. It will be interesting to see exactly how Miller is deployed, though the obvious answer is that he’ll usurp a good deal of Almora’s playing time and role as a defensive replacement and runner.
The Cubs also announced that they’ve signed infielder Patrick Wisdom to a minor-league deal and have assigned him to South Bend. The 28-year-old came up through the Cardinals system and debuted for them in 2018, hitting .260 with four home runs in limited action. He was traded to the Rangers in December of 2018 and then signed with the Mariners last year, but was DFA’d before playing for them.
Chicago’s 60-man player pool roster stands at 58, with 28 active players (plus four on the 10-day IL) in Chicago and in South Bend.