The Chicago Cubs have signed former Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Michael Hermosillo to a minor league contract. While you definitely can’t qualify this as a major move it does signal an upcoming roster decision.

Replacing Almora?

Table of Contents

So, it kind of looks like the Cubs have found a replacement for Albert Almora Jr. Well, at least they’re adding another outfielder to their minor league depth who could potentially be called up during the season. And well yeah, Hermosillo is essentially taking Almora’s spot as that outfield depth at Triple-A.

Jon Heyman was the first to report the minor-league deal between Hermosillo and the Cubs Wednesday morning.

Almora still hasn’t been non-tendered, but it is kind of expected to happen by tonight’s 7 p.m. deadline. Almora, who is in his second year of arbitration eligibility, was projected to earn about $1.6 million in salary next season. Now, he’ll most likely have to sign a minor league deal with a different team to continue his career.

Meanwhile, the Cubs are essentially getting Hermosillo for the league minimum. Oh and fun fact, Hermosillo is a local product, going to Ottawa Township High School in Ottawa, Ill.

Hermosillo, who will turn 26 in January, hasn’t had much success at the major league level, but the right-handed hitter also hasn’t had much time in the big leagues.

Hermosillo’s early career

Going back to his high school days, Hermosillo also played football at Ottawa Township and he actually committed to play college football at the University of Illinois. However, after getting selected by the Angels in the 28th round of the 2013 MLB Draft, Hermosillo decided to pass up playing football with the Illini and instead signed his first professional baseball contract.

In 2017, Hermosillo moved up the Angels’ farm system and left a good, lasting impression as he posted an .828 OPS in 30 games at Triple-A. The outfielder was called up by the Angels in the middle of May in 2018, making his MLB debut against the Tampa Bay Rays.

During his rookie season, Hermosillo played in 31 games and slashed .211/.274/.333, in 57 at-bats. He only got 36 at-bats in 2019 with the Angels and in the shortened 2020 season Hermosillo was limited to just eight at-bats.

Hermosillo and the 2021 Cubs

So, what exactly do the Cubs think they have in Hermosillo? Well, to be fair, his career .188/.288/.287, slash line with the Angels covered a grand total of 101 at-bats. That’s nothing of a sample size in the grand scheme of things.

Looking at Hermosillo’s minor league numbers from 2018-19, he posted decent power numbers, hitting 12 home runs in 68 Triple-A games in 2018 and then 15 home runs in 68 games at the same level the following year.

More specifically, Hermosillo was good against lefties, batting .318/.386/.659, vs. southpaws in 2019. And yes that was the super juiced ball year at Triple-A, but in 2018 he also posted a .294/.415/.485, slash line against left-handers.

So yeah, we’re talking about a potential bench bat, who in a perfect world would come up in case of injury to the major league roster and can hopefully be good enough against left-handed pitching.

At this point, there’s no expectation of Hermosillo being a top option for that last roster spot come Opening Day, but he’ll be in a group of 3-4 players who will be on-call at Triple-A throughout the 2021 season.