Chicago Cubs: Recent signings, Spring Training invitees carry plenty of intrigue
By Logan Whaley
The Chicago Cubs announced the signing of Mike Freeman and Kyle Ryan to Minor League deals as well as extended offers inviting 19 non-roster players to Major League Spring Training.
With just weeks until pitchers and catchers report, teams across Major League baseball, including the Chicago Cubs, are making a flurry of roster moves and announcements. And, for the Cubs, there are a handful of interesting names joining the team in Mesa next month.
The Los Angeles Dodgers designated Mike Freeman for assignment following their acquisition of Yu Darvish last summer. Shortly after that, the Cubs signed him to a minor league deal. Before working his way up to the major league team, Freeman slashed .273/.345/.390 over 88 plate appearances in 23 games at Triple-A.
He could not gain much momentum at the Major League level over 66 total plate appearances in 2017, slashing a meager .100/.182/.183 with one home run. Freeman found a high rate of success over the course of his career at Triple-A, totaling 1,385 plate appearances and a line of .315/.379/.422. He was initially brought in as a depth piece after the injury to Addison Russell. The Cubs must have liked what they saw from the 30-year-old to bring him back for 2018.
The other signing the club announced this week was 26-year-old Kyle Ryan. Drafted in the 12th round in 2010 by the Detroit Tigers, Ryan ranked as the teams No. 23 prospect in 2014. He also worked his way up to the big league club. Since his Major League debut in 2014, he has seen time with the Tigers each season amounting to 128 innings and a 3.87 ERA over that time. In 2017 Ryan pitched in eight games for the club, compiling a less-than-stellar 7.94 ERA over just 5 2/3 innings.
Ryan is a big guy, standing at 6’5″ and weighing in at 215 pounds. His primary pitches are a fastball and cutter although he sometimes throws a curveball and changeup. He also has produced at 54 percent ground-ball rate in the majors.