The Chicago Cubs have made some rather interesting moves in the last few days. In an attempt to put the best roster in the clubhouse they can, the team has sent down two players who seemed untouchable just a few weeks ago. Late last week, Albert Almora went down to Iowa in exchange for Addison Russell.

On Monday, it was announced David Bote has been sent to AAA as well. The Cubs say the move is in preparation of getting reliever Steve Cishek off the IL. Chicago had a day off on Monday. They used the day off to retool the roster further and get ready for an important week of games.

Chicago Cubs making moves

After a hot start to the second half, some fans believed the club was about to leave the rest of the NL central in their dust. The prolonged run has not materialized. Chicago has limped along, treading water enough to be within shouting distance of first place.

At the same time, they've lost enough that they can't put away either the St. Louis Cardinals or the Milwaukee Brewers. The struggles have led some to think Joe Maddon's message has worn thin. As part of their attempt to prove those rumors wrong, the front office has been shifting the roster around.

While Almora being sent down was something people have been looking for over the last few months, Bote's demotion was a surprise.

While the utilityman has had a bit of an up and down season so far in 2019, he had been trending upwards. Posting a .257 average with 10 homers on the year, he's slashed .290/.436/.452 over the last 28 days. Most teams who want to contend would settle for those numbers in a heart beat.

The Chicago Cubs would point to the assumption the numbers are as good as they are because it's been in limited playing time.

He's appeared in just 19 games and started eight times in those 28 days.

When the Cubs sent Almora to Iowa, they cited regular playing time as a big reason. While there hasn't been an official statement from the front office, the motives appear the same.

Chicago acquired Nicholas Castellanos at the trade deadline. That move, paired with his excellent play since arriving in the Windy City, has cut Almora's playing time down.

In the last few weeks, he's largely been nothing but a pinch hitter.

Bote has had a little more playing time, but Ian Happ's recall earlier this month along with Russell being up spelled it out.

Gone till September

While Chicago Cubs fans might be surprised by Bote's demotion, there is a way to lessen the hit. The rosters are due to expand to 40 in just under two weeks. It would be an absolute shock if both players didn't return to the club on September 1.

Until then, an offensively challenged Cubs team just sent down one of its hotter bats. How the squad performs over the next few weeks will bear watching.