The Chicago Cubs have a need in the bullpen and may a move for a project reliever on Monday.
The Cubs signed former Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Edwin Escobar. Escobar last pitched in Major League Baseball during the 2016 season with the Diamondbacks and has a career ERA of 7.01 in 25.2 innings pitched.
While Escobar hasn't pitched with a Major League team since 2016, he appears to have figured out something as a reliever in Japan. In seven seasons in Japan, pitching predominantly as a relief pitcher, Escobar has posted a 3.17 ERA in a tick over 392 innings pitched.
Escobar is a former Top-100 prospect in Major League Baseball and did appear in the 2014 Futures Game. The signing shouldn't be viewed as one where the Cubs address their need for a left-handed relief pitcher in the bullpen, but it is the type of signing that the team has had success with in the past.
The Cubs, through their pitching infrastructure, have made a practice of being able to take projects such as Escobar and turn them into an effective reliever at the Major League level. That was a practice that paid off last season when the Cubs claimed Julian Merryweather off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. Merryweather posted a 3.38 ERA last season with the Cubs while emerging as one of the team's effective late-inning relievers by the end of the season.
This won't be the only move that the Cubs make this off-season as they look to improve their bullpen. Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer admitted that the bullpen was not fully addressed last off-season and that appears to be a mistake that he is looking to correct this winter.