Chicago Cubs News: Bailey Horn sent to White Sox in surprise move to clear space

The Chicago Cubs gave up a promising relief prospect in Bailey Horn in order to make room for Cody Bellinger on the 40-man roster.

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The Chicago Cubs were expected to trade a pitcher from their 40-man roster to open a roster spot for Cody Bellinger, but the name of the player being moved came as a surprise.

Reports surfaced on Monday night that the Cubs were trading a pitcher, with many suggesting that it would be Keegan Thompson. Thompson is no longer a factor at the Major League level for the Cubs and could have had an appeal to other teams as a possible reclamation project.

Instead, the move for the Cubs was to trade pitching prospect Bailey Horn back to the Chicago White Sox. The Cubs first acquired Horn at the Major League Baseball trade deadline in 2021 in a deal that sent veteran reliever Ryan Tepera to the White Sox.

Upon acquiring Horn, the Cubs converted the left-hander to a reliever with the hope that he would be on the fast track to the Major Leagues. Horn was added to the team's 40-man roster last Fall to avoid being lost in the Rule 5 draft.

Horn earned a quick promotion to Triple-A after opening the 2023 season by allowing two runs in his first nine innings pitched at the Double-A level. Horn struck out 19 of the 35 batters he faced at the Double-A level to open last season, leading many to believe the quick promotion to Triple-A was a sign that he would join the Major League bullpen eventually.

The Chicago Cubs decision to trade Bailey Horn may suggest they think they can fix Keegan Thompson.

Horn struggled at Triple-A last season with a 4.38 FIP and a regressing strikeout percentage, so he has yet to make his Major League debut. There was a hope that. Entering the 2024 season, Horn could be used as an up-and-down reliever for the Cubs this season.

Right-handed starting pitcher Matt Thompson is the return for the Cubs from the White Sox. Thompson posted a 4.85 ERA at the Double-A level last season with a 1.65 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Circling back to Keegan Thompson, it's possible that the Cubs believe they can fix the command issues that plagued his 2023 season, leading to the reason why Horn was traded to clear the 40-man roster space for Cody Bellinger.

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