As we anticipate the Chicago Cubs landing another middle-of-the-order bat in the lineup, the front office has made a flurry of moves in the past week that all have upside in their own right. Primarily in the pitching department, where Cubs GM Carter Hawkins quietly shines, all three signings have the potential to crack the big league roster in Spring Training 2023. For an already-loaded pitching staff full of above-average arms in the rotation, bullpen, and farm system, the Cubs have bought into the motto that you can never have enough pitching.
Even if the Cubs execute a big trade to send several pitchers off to another team in return for one key player, the depth Chicago possesses is still well-equipped to handle any challenges it may face next season. There will always be injuries and guys missing time for personal reasons. The front office will have the luxury of not running out of arms, specifically in the bullpen, where the Cubs boast at least 4-5 solid bulk relief options on top of a plethora of prospects that can be called upon at a moment's notice if needed. Regarding the three recently inked to minor league deals, let's review their skill sets and further assess what they bring to the table for the Cubs in 2023.
Three minor league pitchers - 3. Anthony Kay
Anthony Kay was claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays, which saw the Cubs DFA Alfonso Rivas in a corresponding move to make room on the 40-man roster. Though Kay has struggled with command, what typically is an area of concern for teams is likely something Cubs GM sees in him in either his delivery or mechanics that he can fine-tune to unlock Kay's true potential. After a couple of different IL stints that limited his 2022 to 21.1 IP, Kay posted a 5.48 ERA, including a 2.0 WHIP. His 8.36 ERA in Triple-A was mostly due to issuing 11 free passes in 14 frames.
A reclamation project of sorts, the 27-year-old former first-rounder via the Mets in the 2016 amateur draft will be an exciting development in terms of what the Cubs can do with their pitching infrastructure. All the numbers at face value show not much to be desired, but this is one of the players in which the Cubs will find something and turn around. In 2015, Kay posted a 2.05 ERA primary as a starter for the University of Connecticut. A year later, after starting 17 games in 2016 at the collegiate level in which he posted a 2.65 ERA in 119 innings, the potential has always been there. Let's see what the Cubs can do to help him turn the corner in his professional career.