The Chicago Cubs are working to put the finishing touches on their Opening Day roster, and the team made a series of roster moves Sunday, including designating infielder Ildemaro Vargas for assignment.
The Cubs also selected the contracts of infielders Matt Duffy and Eric Sogard, along with left-handed pitcher Rex Brothers, paving the way for all three to make the team’s initial roster.
Finally, the Cubs signed outfielder Cameron Maybin to a minor league contract. He will join the team’s alternate site camp, according to the organization.
The moves were first reported by several Cubs' beat writers, including Russ Dorsey of the Chicago Sun-Times and MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. The team confirmed the moves a short time later.
Vargas, who was competing for a back-up infielder job with the Cubs, appeared in six games with the team last season. He hit a solo home run and had two hits in nine at-bats, and batted .222 in those appearances.
The move to DFA Vargas, and to keep Duffy and Sogard, puts to an end an intriguing derby to determine the team’s makeup in the infield. Nico Hoerner was sent down to the minors late in camp, meaning that Sogard will likely back up David Bote at second base and Javier Báez at short, and Duffy could get time at both corner infield spots.
Duffy last played for the Tampa Bay Rays, batting .252 in 169 plate appearances during the 2019 season.
Sogard, signed prior to camp as a free agent after spending the 2020 season with the Milwaukee Brewers, drove in 10 RBI’s and batted .209 last season in Milwaukee. He has had a solid Cactus League run with the Cubs, posting a .500 on-base percentage and collecting three extra-base hits in 30 at-bats.
Brothers will serve a key role in the Cubs’ bullpen as a strong left-handed hurler. He has appeared in eight spring training games, striking out nine batters and walking just one in eight innings of work.
The Cubs will open their regular season on Thursday when they welcome the Pittsburgh Pirates to Wrigley Field for a three-game series.