The Cubs’ front office knew its moves at the trade deadline were likely to be subtle, not splashy.
The shortened 2020 season has given many teams hope that they still can compete for a spot in the postseason with a month to go, so the Cubs are hoping subtle moves pay off big.
They supplemented their roster Monday by acquiring left-hander Andrew Chafin along with cash considerations from the Diamondbacks and lefty Josh Osich from the Red Sox for players to be named.
Chafin is 1-1 with an 8.10 ERA in 11 games, but he has a 3.68 ERA in seven seasons in Arizona. Osich is 1-1 with a 5.74 ERA in 13 games and has held lefties to a .665 OPS in his career.
The Cubs rounded out their deadline moves by picking up outfielder Cameron Maybin from the Tigers for minor-leaguer Zack Short.
“Left-handed relief and right-handed hitters that can hit left-handed pitching — those are two of the main goals we had for the deadline,” general manager Jed Hoyer said.
Sunday’s trade for designated hitter/first baseman Jose Martinez and Monday’s deals make up a nice haul. The moves will have an impact this season and in the future.
Chafin and Maybin will be free agents at the end of the season, but Martinez and Osich won’t hit the free-agent market until after the 2022 season.
“I think you’re always looking at years to control,” Hoyer said. “I know, certainly, the years I control are valuable, but I think we tried to be as targeted as we could in trying to address things that we haven’t done particularly well, and I think we did that.”
Osich and Chafin help bolster the Cubs’ bullpen. They join Kyle Ryan, the only other left-handed reliever. Chafin won’t pitch immediately because he’s on the 10-day injured list with a sprained finger. Hoyer said Chafin is on a throwing program and thinks it will be a few weeks before he pitches. It’s one of the reasons they received cash in the deal from Arizona.
The roles for Maybin and Martinez largely will be based on their ability to hit against lefties. The Cubs have had a deficiency in that area, slashing .208/.325/.333 against left-handed pitching. The Cubs hope a healthy Kris Bryant and Steven Souza Jr. will increase the production against southpaws.
Martinez has a career .319/.392/.554 slash line against lefties. Maybin has been slightly better against right-handers in his career and can provide the Cubs with a quality at-bat off the bench.
“We’ve seen it time and time again with a lineup that I think in some ways we felt should have been better equipped to handle lefties,’’ Hoyer said. ‘‘We just haven’t. I think maybe that is a good example of where the nature of the short season changes your thinking a little bit because we don’t necessarily have time for those things to even out.
“We just haven’t hit lefties, and it felt like teams were able to run left-handed pitching out against us without much fear. That’s something we certainly addressed. I think with Jose and Cam and then Souza and Kris coming off the IL, I think that’s something that maybe we can even turn from a weakness into a strength.”
The team’s deadline moves created a roster crunch, particularly in the outfield. With Bryant and Souza set to come off the IL as soon as Tuesday, it forced Albert Almora out of the picture.
Hoyer said the team will option Almora to South Bend. The Cubs also designated Hernan Perez and Ian Miller for assignment in corresponding moves.
“Albert hasn’t gotten consistent at-bats, and I think, as a result, it’s been a challenge for him to play sporadically and be able to produce,” Hoyer said. “We get a chance to send Albert to the alternate site, and he can get a bunch of at-bats and hopefully get clicking because we haven’t seen what he can do this year in part because of the playing time he’s been given.”