The Cubs have selected the contract of catcher P.J. Higgins, per Bruce Levine of 670 The Score. In a corresponding move, utility player Ildemaro Vargas has been designated for assignment.
Higgins, 29, was a 12th round selection of the Cubs in the 2015 draft, who worked his way up to make his big league debut last year. Unfortunately, after just nine games in the majors, he landed on the injured list with a forearm strain which ultimately required surgery and finished his season. He was outrighted in the offseason and became a free agent, but quickly re-signed with the Cubs on a minor league deal. He’s evidently put the injury behind him, as he’s off to a scorching hot start this year. In 22 Triple-A games so far, he’s hitting .417/.500/.569, 193 wRC+.
The Cubs needed to add a catcher to the roster due to Willson Contreras suffering a hamstring injury yesterday. That injury doesn’t seem to be serious enough for a stint on the injured list, though Higgins will combine with Yan Gomes as the club’s catching duo until Contreras is ready to return to game action.
As for Vargas, he’s never hit much in the big leagues, as evidenced by his batting line of .227/.265/.354, 60 wRC+ over 186 career games. However, he’s often proved alluring to teams due to his extreme versatility, seeing time with the Diamondbacks, Twins, Pirates and Cubs. In addition to being a switch-hitter, he’s also slotted into the defensive alignment at every spot on the diamond outside of center field and the battery. In ten games with the Cubs this year, he’s hit .130/.231/.348 for a wRC+ of 64 while playing second base and shortstop. The Cubs will have a week to trade him or put him on waivers. If he were to clear, he would have the ability to reject an outright assignment and elect free agency, as he’s been previously outrighted in his career.