Cubs Add Three More Minor League Free-Agents to the Fold
SAT 1/10 UPDATE: Matt Eddy at BA is now reporting that the Cubs have also signed 27-year old RHRP Jorge DeLeon to a minor league contract. DeLeon was signed by the Houston Astros as a shortstop out of the Dominican Republic in 2006 and was converted to RHP post-2009. He was added to the Astros 40-man roster post-2010 and made his big league debut in August 2013. He was claimed off waivers by Oakland in October 2014 and then was released last month. DeLeon will almost certainly get an NRI to Spring Training, and then be bullpen depth at AAA Iowa.
Baseball America reports the Cubs have signed three more minor league free-agents over the past few days, including veteran MLB catcher Taylor Teagarden, INF Chris Valaika, and RHP Andres Santiago. The trio join RHRP Anthony Carter, RHRP Fernando Cruz, OF Adron Chambers, and INF Jonathan Herrera, who were signed to minor league contracts earlier. All seven will likely receive an NRI to Spring Training.
The 31-year old right-handed hitting Teagarden has accumulated 4+ years of MLB Service Time as a back-up catcher over the course of seven seasons with TEX, BAL, and NYM. He has plus-HR power and an above-average arm, hitting 202/262/382 with 21 HR and 26 doubles with 31% CS in 172 MLB games. He was the 3rd round pick of the Texas Rangers in 2005 out of the University of Texas, and has hit 265/376/493 with 74 HR in 399 career minor league games. While he will certainly receive a Spring Training invite (NRI) with the big club, he will probably end up sharing the Iowa catcher job with Rafael Lopez, and be available to be called up if anything happens to one of the catchers on the big league roster.
Valaika has a career 238/282/351 slash-line in 99 MLB games (mostly with Cincinnati) 2010-14. The 29-year old was signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs this time last year, and spent Spring Training with the Cubs before being assigned to Iowa, where he hit 278/344/423 in 102 AAA games. He was called up in August after Emilio Bonifacio was traded to the Braves, and spent the last two months of the 2014 season with the Cubs, hitting 231/282/339 in 44 games and playing all over the infield (1B-2B-3B-SS), before being outrighted back to AAA in October. Valaika will compete in Spring Training with Jonathan Herrera and recently-outrighted Logan Watkins for one or maybe two MLB utility infield slots.
Santiago had a fairly pedestrian eight-year minor league career with the Dodgers after being selected in the 16th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, but he threw a nine-inning no-hitter with 12 strikeouts against the Tennessee Smokies (the Cubs AA affiliate) in his last AA start last August. After turning 25 in October, Santiago pitched for Caguas in Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente (the Puerto Rican Winter League) and put up a 0.96 ERA and 1.02 WHIP with a 4/12 BB/K and no HR allowed in 16 games (18.2 IP) as los Criollos primary set-up man. As such, he will probably be in the mix for a bullpen job at AAA Iowa in 2015.
Now 28, Anthony Carter was drafted out of a Georgia JC by the White Sox in 2005 and was signed as a "Draft & Follow" in 2006. He was converted to closer at AA in 2010, and pitched in 129 AAA games 2011-14. He was on the White Sox 40-man roster for two seasons but never got called up. He spent most of the 2014 season working as a middle reliever for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan (NPB), before returning to the U. S. and signing with the Cubs. He will provide bullpen depth at AAA Iowa in 2015, and could conceivably get a call-up at some point during the season.
Adron Chambers hit 216/289/295 (257/333/357 vs RHP) for the St. Louis Cardinals in 84 MLB games 2011-13, with a 277/364/394 slash-line in 740 minor league games (315/392/444 vs RHP at AAA in 2014). The 28-year old left-handed hitter can play al three outfield positions, and is probably destined to be at Iowa in 2015, although he could get the call if something happens to Chris Coghlan or Ryan Sweeney. Chambers mashes RHP, but his futility against LHP (even in the minors) would probably relegate him to platoon duty.
Fernando Cruz was drafted as an infielder by the Kansas City Royals out of Puerto Rico in 2007. He was converted from a 3B to RHP in 2011, after a previous conversion to catcher failed. Cruz did not pitch in either 2013 or 2014 (he spent the entire 2013 season on the 60-day DL), and was released. But the 24-year old Cruz was one of the best relievers in the Puerto Rican Winter League post-2014, where he was a teammate of Javy Baez at Santurce. Cruz probably will be competing for a bullpen job at AA Tennessee.
Of the seven free-agents signed by the Cubs to minor league contracts post-2014, 30-year old Jonathan Herrera probably has the best chance to claim a big league job in Spring Training. A switch-hitter who can play 2B-SS-3B, Herrera (like Taylor Teagarden) has 4+ years of MLB Service Time, hitting .263 in 417 career MLB games (mostly with the Colorado Rockies). Because of his age and MLB experience, Herrera might have an opt-out clause in his contract that will allow him to ask for and receive his release if he doesn't make the Cubs Opening Day MLB 25-man roster.
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Wrigley Rat 2 days 21 hours ago (view)
Cubs Reportedly Sign Powerful Infielder Alejandro Rivero Out of Indy Ball: https://www.bleachernation.com/cubs/2021/10/21/cubs-reportedly-sign-powe...
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