The Cubs have activated Ian Happ from the IL after he spent 11 days on the shelf with a rib contusion suffered in a collision with Nico Hoerner in the Cubs’ 13-12 loss to the Reds in the final game of their series in Cincinnati. Happ wasn’t placed on the IL right away but was instead used as a decoy in an extra-innings win over the Dodgers that saw LA manager Dave Roberts leave reliever Garrett Cleavinger in the game to face Matt Duffy, who then singled home a run.
Based on Happ’s performance thus far this season, his role in that strategic ploy represents some of his most productive work. He’s batting .167 with just a 68 wRC+ and has been worth -0.2 fWAR over 102 plate appearances. The Cubs really need him to be better than that, particularly with Jake Marisnick still out.
In order to make room for Happ on the roster, the Cubs designated Ildemaro Vargas for assignment following a brief stint in which he hit .143 with a steal in 24 plate appearances. Having Hoerner back means there’s really no spot for Vargas at this point. He may clear waivers and be assigned to Triple-A if he wants to remain in the organization.