Pitchers and Catcher report in less than two weeks for Spring Training. This offseason the Chicago Cubs made some major moves (or non-moves) that changed the look of the team which included sending star pitcher Yu Darvish to the San Diego Padres and not bringing back Kyle Schwarber.
This past week, Cubs decided to fill some holes on their roster by signing a World Series-winning outfielder, a starting pitcher, and bringing back a relief pitcher. They also made a couple waiver moves as well. Below is a brief synopsis of these moves and a little bit about each athlete to keep you up to date with the latest Cubs news.
The biggest addition to the team this offseason is 2020 World Series-winning outfielder Joc Pederson. Joc Pederson, 28, signed a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2022. It’s worth $7 million guaranteed. Cubs.com writer Jordan Bastian says the deal is split between two years with $4.5 million being the 2021 base salary and $2.5 million as a buyout for the 2022 option. If this is exercised, the deal is worth up to $10 million. Pederson also has performance bonuses dealing with the player appearances that could net him another $500,000.
Pederson did not have a great 2020 season after posting a career-worst .681 OPS and -0.3 WAR in 43 games. He could not even hit above .200 but Pederson flipped the script in the playoffs. He hit .382 with a .432 on-base percentage with four runs, two home runs, and eight runs batted in during their postseason run. This run culminated with the Los Angeles Dodgers winning their first World Series title since 1988 and Joc Pederson helped make that happen.
Pederson can play anywhere in the outfield as well as fill in at first base and DH if needed. He, as well those rooting for the Cubbies, won’t mind the low average if he can bring some of his pop to the lineup. In 2019, Pederson hit a career-best 36 home runs and drove in 74 runs. He also scored 84 runs which were another career-high.
Pederson at Wrigley Field: 18 games, 39 at-bats, 5 hits, 2 home runs, 3 RBI, 9 walks, 12 strikeouts, .128 BA, .282 OBP, .282 SLG, and 2 GDP.
Trevor Williams, 28, agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million. He designated for an assignment on November 20 when the Pittsburgh Pirates needed to make room on their roster prior to the Rule 5 Draft. Williams spent the first 5 years of his MLB career with Pittsburgh. Over the 5 seasons, Williams was 31-37 with a 4.43 ERA and 446 strikeouts in 106 appearances (94 starts).
The last two seasons have not been great but the Cubs would like to the Williams of 2018 makes a return. He was 14-10 in 31 starts with a 3.11 ERA (59 ER/170.2 IP) and a league-leading one shutout.
Playing in the National League Central, Williams has played at Wrigley Field often and had pitched in 8 games there over his career. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been pretty as he holds a 2-6 record, a 7.09 ERA, eight home runs, and 18 walks allowed at the famous stadium. Most of this came in his disastrous 2019 season after giving up 15 earned runs, 5 home runs, and walking six in just 7.2 innings over 2 starts.
Andrew Chafin, 30, was originally acquired by the Cubs in a trade between them and the Arizona Diamondbacks this past season to bolster the bullpen. He was brought back this week on a one-year deal worth $2.75 million with a mutual option for 2022.
In 2020, Chafin had an 8.10 ERA before coming to Chicago and finished with a 6.52 after making just four appearances. He pitched just three innings and allowed just one run after the trade. The left-hander a career ERA of 3.67 over 343 appearances. On top of that, he’s struck out 291 batters in 274.2 innings.
Max Schrock, 26, time as a Cub has been short. He was originally claimed off waivers from St. Louis back on October 30, 2020. But after a handful of moves on Friday, the Cubs waived him.
Schrock has played in just 11 MLB games and has taken 17 at-bat but he will always have a special place for Wrigley Field.
On August 17, Schrock hit his first career home run off a pitch from Kyle Ryan.
Sergio Alcántara, 24, was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs from the Detroit Tigers. He was one of the pieces of a deal that sent J.D. Martinez to Arizona back in 2017. He spent most of the last 3 years in the minor leagues before making his major league debut on September 6, 2020. That evening, a guy with just nine minor league home runs in over 2,000 minor league at-bats sent the second pitch he saw over the fences for a home run off Rich Hill.
He played just 10 games in 2020 while batting .143 in 21 at-bats with two runs, a triple, a home run, two walks, and 4 strikeouts. He a switch-hitter and spends most of his time playing either second base or shortstop.
Are the Chicago Cubs done making additions? It’s unclear. But those that are following the team sure hope they aren’t done just yet.