Cubs News: Brad Wieck signs minor-league deal, Erich Uelman traded

Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds
Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

The Chicago Cubs made a pair of minor moves on Wednesday morning as the team reached an agreement on a two-year minor league deal with left-handed relief pitcher Brad Wieck and traded right-handed relief pitcher Erich Uelmen to the Philadelphia Phillies for cash considerations.

Wieck last appeared with the Cubs at the Major League level in 2021. During the 2021 season, Wieck did not allow a run in his 17 innings of work. After recovering from a heart condition, Wieck was working his way back last season from an elbow strain before undergoing Tommy John surgery in July. Wieck will likely miss most of the 2023 season as he recovers but there could be a chance that he returns to one of the Cubs' minor-league affiliates by the end of the season. That could pave the way for Wieck to return to the Major League level in 2024. In any event, for the Cubs and Wieck, a two-year deal gives both sides some insurance.

Meanwhile, the Cubs designated Uelmen for assignment in December to make space on the 40-man roster for Drew Smyly.

Uelmen made his Major League debut for the Cubs in 2022 as he posted a 4.67 ERA in 27 innings of work. With the Cubs having signed veteran Brad Boxberger earlier this offseason and Adbert Alzolay expected to pitch out of the bullpen in 2023, Uelmen likely would have started the season with the Iowa Cubs had he remained with the organization.

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We are still waiting on the resolution for the status of catcher PJ Higgins and first baseman Alfonso Rivas. Like Uelmen, Higgins and Rivas were designated for assignment prior to the holiday break. The hope is the Cubs are able to keep both within the organization as Higgins and Rivas would provide much valuable depth while playing with the I-Cb