Cubs Sign Four Free-Agent Pitchers to Minor League Contracts
12/14 UPDATE: Baseball America reports that the Cubs have re-signed three of the four players who were non-tendered on 12/2 to 2017 minor league contracts: LHP Gerardo Concepcion, RHP Conor Mullee (claimed off waivers from NYY last month), and LHP Zac Rosscup.
All three will presumably receive an NRI to Spring Training.
The fourth non-tendered player (3B Christian Villanueva) did not re-sign with the Cubs, so he will probably try his luck with a new organization (could be seeking a major league deal). Villanueva would be blocked by both Kris Bryant and Jeimer Candelario if he were to remain with the Cubs.
Concepcion was non-tendered so that the Cubs would not have to pay him a $600,000 minor league "split salary" in 2017, Mullee missed the last half of the 2016 season with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (may have undergone surgery), and Rosscup underwent shoulder surgery last March.
By non-tendering Concepcion, Mullee, and Rosscup and then re-signing them to minor league contracts, the Cubs were able to remove the trio from the MLB 40-man roster without exposing the players to waivers, and by waiting a week to re-sign them, the Cubs did not risk losing them in the Rule 5 Draft.
ORIGINAL POST (12/13) - Baseball America is reporting that the Cubs have signed four free-agent pitchers to 2017 minor league contracts.
All four will likely receive an NRI to Spring Training with the big club.
Three of the names are probably somewhat familiar, as two of them have pitched in the big leagues with other MLB organizations, and a third was in the Cubs minor league system last season.
As a practical matter the four were officially signed after the Rule 5 Draft so that they would not be eligible for selection, but the contracts were likely negotiated sometime earlier in the off-season.
1. Maikel Cleto, RHP (ex-ATL)
2. Daniel Corcino, RHP (ex-LAD)
3. Jhondaniel Medina, RHP (ex-PIT)
4. Miguel Mejia, RHP (ex-CUBS)
Owner of a 97-98 MPH fastball, the 27-year old Cleto was signed by the Seatttle Mariners out of the Dominican Republic in 2009 and was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for SS Brendan Ryan 2010... he was rated by Baseball America as having the best fastball,in the SAL in 2008 (he was hitting 99 on the gun back then) and was a BA organizational Top 20 prospect three times (#16 post-2008 for SEA and #16 post-2010 and #14 post-2012 with STL)... he was a starting pitcher through the 2011 season, but then was moved to the bullpen... he was claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Royals in 2013 and then was claimed off waivers by the White Sox in 2014, and he got most of his big league work with the Sox (28 games in 2014)... he pitched in 41 MLB games combined between the Cardinals and the White Sox (working to a combined 6.60 ERA and 1.76 WHIP but with 58 K in just 45 IP) in 2011-14 (he had some crazy K/9 numbers in the minors, too) but was outrighted to AAA by the Sox in 2015... he split the 2016 season between Laguna (Mexican League) and AAA Gwinnett (ATL)... he is presently working out of the bullpen for Licey in Liga de Beisbol Dominicano... he is out of minor league options (0+169 MLB Service Time) should he be called up to Chicago and added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2017, and since he has been outrighted previously in his career, he would be able to elect to be a free-agent if he is outrighted again...
Corcino is 26 and was signed by the Cincinnati Reds as a 16-year old out of the Dominican Republic in 2006... he was ranked by Baseball America as one of the Reds Top 15 prospects four years in a row (as high as #6 after the 2011 season and #4 after 2012), drawing comps (at the time) to Johnny Cueto... back when he was a stud prospect with the Reds, BA reported that he was presenting a 91-94 MPH fastball with movement, a plus-slider, and a promising change-up... he was on the MLB 40-man roster of the Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers (he was claimed off waivers by the Dodgers in 2015) for three seasons and he had a "cup of coffee" with the Reds in late 2014 but was back in the minors in 2015-16... he is currently working out of the bullpen for Escogido in Liga de Beisbol Dominicano... like Cleto, Corcino is out of minor league options (0+034 MLB Service Time) should he be called up to Chicago and added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2017, and since he has been outrighted previously in his career, he would be able to elect to be a free-agent if he is outrighted again...
At 23, Medina is the youngest of the foursome... he was signed as a 16-year old by the Baltimore Orioles out of Venezuela in 2009 and was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012... after seven seasons in the minors, he finally reached AAA in 2016... Kiley McDaniel at Fangraphs reported in April 2016 that the 5'11 Medina was featuring a 92-94 MPH fastball that touched 96, an above-average splitter, and a decent curve, but he also continues to have command issues (207 BB in 393 IP in 198 career minor league games)... he was declared a first-time minor league 6YFA after the conclusion of the World Series...
The 28-year old Mejia was born in Brooklyn but grew up in Puerto Rico... he was signed as a NDFA by the Detroit Tigers out of Florida International University in 2009 and spent three seasons in the Tigers system... he then pitched for the Saitamo Seibu Lions in Japan (NPB) during the summer and for Caguas (Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente) in winter ball 2011-16... he left Japan and signed a minor league contract with the Cubs last off-season and he split the 2016 season between AA Tennessee and AAA Iowa... he has been pitching out of the bullpen for Caguas again this off-season, and he could be a reliever for Team Puerto Rico in the 2017 WBC...
Arizona Phil 3 hours 37 min ago (view)
The Cubs have purchased the contract of 25-year old 6'5 260 RHP Adam Heidenfelder from Gary (American Association) and he has been assigned to the ACL Cubs.
Hagsag 13 hours 45 min ago (view)
Does anyone know what type of injury Amaya has?
Hagsag 13 hours 48 min ago (view)
I can not believe what a good 3b he has been playing.
Wrigley Rat 19 hours 39 min ago (view)
Robert Stock was claimed off waivers by the Mets.
crunch 21 hours 38 min ago (view)
HR in the 8th. dope.
crunch 23 hours 49 min ago (view)
he's back out in the field in the top 3rd...must be okay, but he sure doesn't look confidently healthy. *shrug* off-day tomorrow...
crunch 23 hours 59 min ago (view)
p.wisdom seems to have injured his right leg/knee swinging a bat...
crunch 1 day 21 min ago (view)
“It did not feel good to take Javy out of the game,” Ross said. “I never feel comfortable doing that at all. That's a pit in my stomach and it was in my stomach the entire game.”
“I blame it on myself. I lost the count of the outs,” Báez said. “We talked about it. We're on the same page. I'll be there tomorrow to help the team.”
First.Pitch.120 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
The thing that gets me is that she cheated with the guy providing religous-based pre-marital counseling. Hmmm... this guy is abusing his (quasi-)professional couseling position to pursue an intimate relationship; forgot the parts of the Bible about lying, cheating, & doing dirty by the 2016 WS MVP; and clearly has very conflicted feelings on the marriage construct... yep, I'm blowing up multiple people's lives to ride-or-die with THAT guy.
Hagsag 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
I am with my hero Zo.
crunch 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
whole zobrist thing got fleshed out (no pun) in public now...
Arizona Phil 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have signed C Harrison Wenson (ex-LAA) to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to Hi-A South Bend. Wenson spent five seasons in the Angels organization, and he got an NRI to MLB Spring Training as an extra catcher with the Halos this past spring.
crunch 1 day 23 hours ago (view)
69 (nice) pitches...goes 4.2ip and leaves with a man on 1st
4.2ip 3h 1bb 5k, 3r/er (2hr)
alzolay continues to have the HR screw him over. 12 given up in 62.1ip
crunch 1 day 23 hours ago (view)
d.ross pulls baez for alcantara for what was either a mental mistake forgetting the outs or totally not hustling by baez in the bottom 4th running the bases.
cubs are down by 1.
hell of manager power play. hope this plays out well...expect it will.
crunch 2 days 45 sec ago (view)
nico expected back in early july...duffy had a "setback" and is in limbo...bote has started baseball activities, but nowhere near a return time.
crunch 2 days 16 min ago (view)
haha. ump checked alzolay's hat and glove between innings and declared it all clear.
stuff so nasty they wanna make sure you're not on that "sticky fingers" bandwagon.