11/20 Cubs add 4; LaHair DFA
The Cubs selected the contracts of four players, including Logan Watkins, the Minor League Player of the Year, and added them to the 40-man roster but also designated All-Star Bryan LaHair for assignment. Besides Watkins, right-handed pitcher Trey McNutt, infielder Christian Villanueva and right-handed pitcher Robert Whitenack were added to the Cubs’ roster, which is now at 40.
Tuesday was the deadline for Major League teams to protect eligible prospects from next month’s Rule 5 Draft. Among the players left unprotected were right-hander Nick Struck, who was the organization’s 2012 Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
The Cubs are pursuing an opportunity for LaHair, 30, with a Japanese team. He batted .259 with 16 home runs and 40 RBIs in 130 games but lost the first base job to rookie Anthony Rizzo. LaHair batted .390 in April with five home runs and 14 RBIs, but then struggled. Rizzo was promoted from Triple-A Iowa on June 26, and won National League Rookie of the Month honors in July by batting .330 with seven home runs and 17 RBIs. LaHair did consider playing in Japan after the 2011 season if he couldn’t get regular at-bats.
The Cubs also announced right-handed pitcher Carlos Gutierrez, 26, who was claimed off waivers from the Twins Oct. 24, has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Iowa.
– Carrie Muskat