Aug. 6, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: Tampa Bay Rays second basemanRyan Roberts
throws to first base to complete the double play after forcing out Arizona Diamondbacks base runnerAdam Eaton
in the third inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
After what many fans considered to be a dreadfully quiet Winter Meetings, the Chicago Cubs made a pair of roster moves on Friday afternoon, adding former Minnesota Twins prospect Liam Hendriks and utility player Ryan Roberts.
According to Lavelle Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter), Chicago added Hendriks off waivers after he was designated for assignment last week after the Twins signed former New York Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes.
Hendriks, 24, was once regarded as one of the top talents in the Minnesota organization, but his stock has fallen in the past two years after ranking in the top ten list of Baseball America’s Top 10 Twins prospects in both 2010 and 2011.
MLB Trade Rumors had this to say about the Australian right-hander in its post regarding the move:
"Hendriks has been unable to put it together in three Major League stints, however, as evidenced by his bloated 6.06 ERA in 156 innings. He’s averaged 5.8 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in those 156 frames to go along with a below-average 40.4 percent ground-ball rate. Hendriks barely averages better than 90 mph on his fastball, leading to too much hard contact when it’s in the zone, as evidenced by a 23.3 percent line-drive rate from his opponents that has helped bloat his career BABIP to .330."
They go on to say that he projects – at best – as a three starter in a big league rotation. However, some have speculated that Chicago could look to convert him to the bullpen, which could lend a hand to one of the Cubs’ weaker spots heading into 2014.
Roberts, 33, has spent time with four different organizations during his Major League career, including the Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays, appearing in 60 games in each of the past two years for Joe Maddon‘s club.
With a career slash line of .245/.321/.392, Roberts has never been much of an offensive standout, but his versatility on the defensive side of things makes him an interesting piece for Chicago. He has played at third base, second base and left field in the past, but could possibly work in left field, if need be.
His best season at the plate came in 2011 with Arizona, when he posted a career-high with a .341 OBP to go along with 19 home runs and 65 RBIs in 143 games. He also added 25 doubles and 18 stolen bases for the Diamondbacks that season.
Roberts’ deal is a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training.