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...
Eric S 6 hours 47 min ago (view)
Unfortunately, Kimbrel in Cub mid season form as well, giving up a two out, two run oppo homer to Willson.
Kimbrel Cub stats which I tried to bury but were dug up again: gave up a career high 9 home runs in only 20 2/3 inning, averaged a career high 9.1 hits allowed per 9 innings and served up a 6.53 ERA for his troubles. And no full spring training build up period again. Still hopeful he's got something left in the tank this year and next but man, he's got my full attention going into the season
BobbyD 7 hours 13 min ago (view)
Hmm. Never thought about it that way. Maybe it is a very stable genius?
crunch 9 hours 53 min ago (view)
maybe he's hoping it'll be bad enough to flip the population odometer over to 0 after humanity is wiped from the planet. let's give him more time to see if he's right before we get too down on him.
crunch 9 hours 56 min ago (view)
"Shohei Ohtani threw just 15 of his 50 pitches for strikes in an intrasquad game Tuesday. Trent Rush had him at eight walks, a hit by pitch and six wild pitches before he was shut down for a day. "
crunch 9 hours 57 min ago (view)
anthony rizzo is in mid-season form.
he sat out today with lower back tightness.
BobbyD 11 hours 20 min ago (view)
Well, back in February (I think; that was about 17 years ago now), our diaper staining commander in his own mind declared we had 15 cases in the U.S. and that would quickly go to zero. 130k dead and rapidly rising now 4 months later I still have brain dead neighbors in SoCal saying if Biden gets elected we're screwed. I wonder what they think screwed looks like.
crunch 18 hours 15 min ago (view)
cubs taking full advantage of that "night games deal" with the wrigleyville neighborhood...almost all the home games will be night games.
8 home day games, 6 on the weekend.
crunch 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
deleted that link. it was a republished-to-feed article, not a new one, so it's not very useful.
cubbies.4ever 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
Is Cubs 3rd draft pick Jordan Nwogu not going to sign? Most teams are done signing. Since the Cubs have the other 4 signed there's not a question of negotiations. I thought Little (using his viral video of 105 mph as leverage) or Moreno being a promising HS SP would be the tough ones.
Jackstraw 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
Apparently being run by the same guy who put Quintana in charge of washing dishes.
Cubster 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
Joey Gallo tests Positive.
Cubster 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
4-29-20: White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told "FOX & Friends" Wednesday morning that he expects to see life go "back to normal" in the U.S. by June and "the hope is that by July the country’s really rocking again."
Well, that prediction has held up especially well in FL, TX, AZ and CA
George Altman 1 day 11 hours ago (view)
I'm beginning to think maybe this guy doesn't have a good grasp on being President.
crunch 1 day 13 hours ago (view)
"Angels summer camp workouts are optional on Monday due to COVID-19 testing delays.
The testers simply failed to show up to Angels camp on Sunday, and there were also apparently some shipping issues with samples during the July 4 holiday weekend. The Astros, Nationals, and Cardinals have outright canceled their Monday workouts because of delays within MLB's testing protocol."
neat. this is going just great.
but hey, i'm sure a month from now we'll be done with all this crazy virus stuff going on...as players consider multi-game road trips through FL/TX/AZ/CA.
Arizona Phil 1 day 14 hours ago (view)
With players dropping like flies and others opting-out, methinks the MLB season could resemble the last three innings of a Cactus League Spring Training game.