The Cubs claimed outfielder Billy Hamilton off waivers from the New York Mets, the team announced Monday, adding a base-running threat to the roster.
Hamilton has just one hit in 22 at-bats this season, but he has three stolen bases, more than any Cub. The Cubs are in the bottom third of MLB in stolen base percentage (68 percent).
“We can get better in the bullpen and we can get better on the bases, and we can get better on defense, and we’ve got to hit better,” Cubs manager David Ross said Sunday of the Cubs’ inconsistency since a 13-3 start. “There’s so many things that we have to improve on.”
Adding Hamilton doesn’t address the Cubs’ other concerns, but it could be a start on the base paths.
The Cubs have added difference-making base runners in September before. Who could forget September 2018 call-up Terrance Gore, who scored five runs and stole six bases in just 14 games?
Hamilton has yet to report to the club. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, the Cubs designated left-handed pitcher Matt Dermody for assignment.
Also on Monday, the Cubs added utility man Ildemaro Vargas to the active roster, after claiming him off waivers from the Twins over the weekend. He will be available in Monday’s game against the Cardinals.
“He’s got a great skillset,” Ross said of the switch-hitter Sunday. “He’s hit lefties in the past. … Good contact bat, which is always nice to have in certain situations on big-time strikeout guys.”
As for what Vargas’ role will be, Ross said, “We’ll see.”
The Cubs announced three additional roster moves on Monday:
- The team officially signed right-handed reliever Pedro Strop to minor league contract, after the two parties agreed to terms last week.
- Right-handed pitcher Duncan Robinson joined the Cubs’ 60-Man Player Pool and will report to the South Bend alternate site.
- The club released catcher Jose Lobaton, who was in South Bend on minor league contract.