As you know, Arismendy Alcantara‘s stay with the Chicago Cubs has been extended at least to the All-Star Break. At the break, he may or may not be sent back down to Iowa to get more daily at-bats in and to participate in the AAA All-Star Game (we’ll see, I guess). In the meantime, Emilio Bonifacio is rehabbing in Arizona and seems to be doing okay. Darwin Barney is of course back from the paternity list but could find his playing time cut short. If Alcantara is optioned, though, I don’t believe he can come back to Chicago for 10 days (barring an emergency situation brought on by injury to one of the MLB position players) so I feel like they would want to avoid that should the Cubs wish to get an extended look at Alcantara, at the expense of his participating in the AAA ASG.
Enter Jon Heyman, who says that the Seattle Mariners are looking at right-handed outfielders, including (surprise!) Junior Lake. This seems a huge stretch to me as Lake is in one of the worst slumps of his young career (but you may not have noticed because, well, he’s Junior Lake and this is pretty much what you get).
Lake is another righty-swinging outfielder the Mariners and other teams have scouted, and he may need a change of scenery. He is caught in a 1-for-32 slump, and may soon be caught in a logjam of young positional talent in Chicago.
He doesn’t need a change of scenery, he needs to fix his approach. But I digress. This probably means that the Cubs would take a hit on a near zero-value trade because although Lake is under club control through 2019, he, for lack of a better word, kinda sucks right now. So the only situation that would facilitate a trade is if the Cubs have pretty much given up on Lake but can still find a diamond in the rough on Seattle’s PTBNL list. After all, the Cubs did trade Scott Hairston for Ivan Pineyro, and Pineyro is certainly an interesting prospect even if he’s not on anyone’s radar.
The other option (ha) is to send either Lake or Mike Olt to Iowa to “work on stuff.” Both Lake and Olt have been relegated to the bench as they’re not being productive. I would prefer Lake go to Iowa due to the positional flexibility with both Bonifacio (returning whenever he’s done rehabbing) and Alcantara capable of playing infield and center field, however, and also because Olt has a better grasp of the strike zone. Despite his atrocious batting average, Olt gets on base about the same as Lake and has around the same OPS, and he plays a decent third base, so I would advocate keeping Olt. Alternatively, the Cubs should continue exploring trades involving Darwin Barney.
Ultimately, as long as Alcantara gets to stay and play, it doesn’t much matter to me what the Cubs decide to do here.