Cubs News: Club lands reliever Josh Osich in exchange for PTBNL

The Cubs added a second left-hander ahead of the trade deadline in Josh Osich.

Major League Baseball fans were shaken this morning when the San Diego Padres acquired starting pitcher Mike Clevinger from the Cleveland Indians for a slew of major and minor league talent. Cubs fans knew better than to expect a deal remotely close to that nature for their club, unfortunately.

The Cubs do continue to be active on the deadline front. Former Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Jose Martinez was traded for two PTBNL’s yesterday and will fill the role of the “lefty masher” Chicago so desperately needs.

Second to the Martinez deal is the deal for now-former Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Josh Osich. Osich has been in the league since 2015 when the San Francisco Giants selected the big lefty in the draft’s sixth round. He found a ton of success that first year, pitching to a 2.20 ERA in 28 2/3 innings.

From then on, Osich struggled mightily. He could never return to that first year’s level of production. Over the next four seasons, Osich posted a significantly below-average 5.37 ERA between the Giants and the Chicago White Sox. He held opposing hitters to a .261 average but struggled with control and limiting baserunners.

Fast forward to this year and his stint in Boston. There are a few good things that stand out about Osich’s profile for the Red Sox. He has dramatically improved his strikeout rate, seeing a jump from 22.4 percent last season to 28.6 percent in 2020. It is a career-high for Osich. The veteran lefty has also slightly improved his hard-hit rate, seeing a couple of percent drop in the overall numbers.

One of the best things, and the reason why the Cubs entertained the idea in the first place, is Osich’s improvement in games when facing left-handed hitters. The ERA this season has still ballooned to obscene levels, but Osich is striking out left-handed hitters at a 32.1 percent rate. He also limits walks to just above three percent. Opposing hitters are batting only .231 vs. Osich, and he has managed to carry a sturdy 3.10 xFIP.

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Osich is essentially a free addition for the Cubs. There will most likely be a player of little to no value returned to Boston to complete the trade, and at best, the Cubs get a guy who can provide some late-game help versus lefties. Only time will tell with the outcome.