It was only a matter of time before the Chicago Cubs front office addressed their overcrowded outfield situation, and 26-year-old Tony Campana is the one who gets the boot. The fan favorite was designated for assignment today to make room on the 40-man roster for recently acquired outfielder Scott Hairston. The Cubs now have 10 days to either trade Campana, or place him on waivers.
Now that Campana has been DFA’d, the Cubs outfield will look like this: Alfonso Soriano in left field, David DeJesus in center field and a platoon combination of Nate Schierholz, Scott Hairston and Dave Sappelt in right field.
Is it fair? Maybe not, but it does tell us that the Cubs feel they have more roster depth now than this time last year, which is comforting. It seems as though the front office would rather have an abundance of pitching options on the roster than position players. The Opening Day roster could feature 11 or 12 pitchers and just 13 or 14 position players.
So far, I’ve seen mostly mixed reactions to this transaction. People are going to criticize the move, but Campana has one tool and one tool only and that’s his blazing speed, which apparently is not something a non-contending team is going to use a roster spot on. In an interview with Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, Cubs President Theo Epstein explained that he would like to keep Campana in the organization, but he could be a valuable player for a team in contention, if given the right role.
I would like to see the Cubs attempt to get something out of the young speedster in a trade, though it would be a minor one, just to add even more depth. However, Campana has not yet proven to anyone that he can get on base in order to utilize his speed, which will leave teams skeptical of his value. In two seasons with the Cubs, Campana’s on-base percentage was a low .306. He did swipe 54 bags in 59 attempts, so if he can figure out a way to get on base, he could steal a ton more.
So what happens next? There are teams still searching for outfield depth for their 25-man roster, with the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets first coming to mind, but I predict Campana will clear waivers and start the year in Triple-A Iowa.