Proving once again that there is no such thing as having too many middle infielders, the Cubs have claimed Sergio Alcántara off waivers from the Tigers. Originally signed by Arizona as an undrafted free agent in July of 2012 and then traded to Detroit in the JD Martinez trade five years later, the 24-year-old made his MLB debut last season.
Playing both second and third in a total of 10 games, the switch-hitting Alcántara batted .143 with a triple, home run, and RBI. He has played mostly shortstop in the minors and has compiled a .256 average with 86 doubles, 14 triples, nine home runs, and 187 RBI in 631 games. He also batted .257 with two home runs and eight RBI for Tigres del Licey in the Dominican Winter League this offseason.
Nothing about Alcántara’s performance to this point really jumps off the page and he’s only 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, so we’re not talking about a guy with latent power or anything. He does, however, possess a cannon that led Baseball America to tab him as the “best infield arm” in the Tigers system at the end of the 2019 season.
This move adds a little depth to the system while also giving the Cubs a contact bat they’ve so desperately sought for years now. With the 40-man roster now at 38 and several more pressing needs to address, however, it’s entirely likely the Cubs will try to sneak Alcántara through waivers in order to clear a roster spot.
Update: Sure enough, Alcántara has been designated for assignment in order to make room on the roster for righty reliever Brandon Workman. The Cubs have a week to either trade Alcántara, try to pass him through waivers, or release him. A trade seems unlikely because he is out of minor league options and doesn’t really have a ton of value as a depth infielder.