The Cubs have activated Nico Hoerner and Keegan Thompson from the 10-day injured list. To create two roster spots for the returning players, outfielder Nick Martini was optioned to Triple-A while right-hander Dillon Maples was designated for assignment.
Maples is out of minor league options, which is why Chicago had to take the DFA route to remove the 29-year-old from the active roster. A veteran of parts of five MLB seasons, Maples had an 8.49 ERA over 23 1/3 career innings for the 2017-20 Cubs before posting a 2.59 ERA in 31 1/3 frames in 2021.
However, Maples has benefited from a .203 BABIP, as his SIERA is 4.64 and his walk rate is an ungainly 18%. Control has been a persistent issue for Maples at both the Major League and minor league levels, and the Cubs seem to have seen enough.
“There’s some people in the organization that feel like we’ve just run out of time,” manager David Ross told NBC Sports Chicago’s Gordon Wittenmyer and other reporters. “We wish [Maples] the best in his career and hopefully for his sake he catches on with somebody, and he’s able to have a long, successful major-league career. It just doesn’t look right now at this time like it’s going to be with us.”
Thompson will start today’s game against the Brewers after missing a little over two weeks due to right shoulder inflammation. The right-hander has shuttled up and down from Triple-A Iowa a few times this season, with a 3.54 ERA to show for his first 48 1/3 career innings in the big leagues. Working mostly as a reliever, Thompson has managed that respectable ERA despite some unimpressive peripherals, including a 12.8% walk rate.
Hoerner suffered a right oblique strain at the end of July, and thanks to previous IL trips due to a left hamstring strain and a left forearm strain, Hoerner has played in only 39 games. The former top prospect has at least hit decently well (.312/.388/.388 in 152 PA) when he has been able to play, and the Cubs will certainly be interested in evaluating Hoerner over the season’s last two weeks to help determine his role with the 2022 team and beyond.