Chicago Cubs add to 40-man in the form of young pitching


After some shuffling and roster moves over the past week, it’s time to look at some new names and faces on the Chicago Cubs’ 40-man roster.

Last week, the Cubs signed right-hander Andury Acevedo. The 25-year-old moved quickly through the New York Yankees organization last year, finishing the season up at the Triple-A level.

Spanning all levels of the minors in 2015, Acevedo compiled a 2.59 ERA in 59 innings. His 3.2 BB/9 is a bit alarming, especially since his 7.5 K/9 rate is quite low as well. The Cubs gave him a major league deal and added him to the 40-man roster, giving pitching coach Chris Bosio another low-risk, high-reward piece.

Chicago then claimed Jack Leathersich off waivers from the New York Mets. This move is a little more interesting as Leathersich had Tommy John surgery in 2015 and won’t be back until mid-2016 at the earliest.

In 17 games with the Mets last year, Leathersich was 0-1 with a 2.31 ERA in 11.2 innings. He did strike out 14 batters but also walked seven. Whether he stays on the 40-man roster all offseason remains to be seen and will largely depend on the team’s subsequent moves.

Keeping the theme of pitching rolling, the Cubs hooked up with a familiar trade partner in the Texas Rangers, bringing right-hander Spencer Patton to the North Side. Patton is 27 years old and made 27 appearances with the Rangers last season.

He struggled to the tune of a 9.00 ERA in 24 innings but his 36-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio is promising and he complied a 1.67 ERA in Triple-A last year, so he definitely has some upside. The player going to the Rangers in the trade is infielder Frandy De La Rosa. De La Rosa is a 19-year-old who played a Low-A ball last year, hitting .273 in 278 at-bats.

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The Cubs then added infielder (and likely trade chip) Dan Vogelbach, pitcher Pierce Johnson, catcher Wilson Contreras and infielder Jeimer Candelario to the 40-man roster to protect them from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. Those moves put the Chicago Cubs’40-man at 37 players.

However, the team was not done.

On Tuesday, the Cubs signed right-hander Drew Rucinski to a minor-league deal. Rucinski, 26, saw some time with the Angels’ big league club in both 2014 and 2015. He has primarily been a starter in his career so it will be interesting to see how the Cubs approach him.

Heading into the 2015 campaign, he was a Top-30 prospect in the Los Angeles organization, but that promise hasn’t carried over to the bigs as he holds an 0-2 record and 6.28 ERA in his Major League career.

Rucinski has appeared in eight games, and has made just one start. It has not yet been announced whether or not Rucinski will be on the team’s 40-man roster.

So the Cubs are sticking to their offseason gameplan of bolstering their pitching staff, as they have added four pitchers in the last week. All of the pitchers added are young guys who are still developing their careers so they make a lot of sense moving forward for the Chicago Cubs.