Friday, June 2, 2023

Cubs Retain Two Pitchers After They Clear Waivers


It’s Jed’s league, ladies and gentlemen! No, but seriously, it’s always good to have a lot of pitching depth and even if things do not eventually work out, it is nice to get as many opportunities to try and get the most out of a player in your system with hopes that they can contribute in some capacity. The Cubs made a couple more signings in January that led to the DFAs of two pitchers, but because of the timing of these acquisitions coming later in the offseason many teams across the league don’t have flexibility on their 40-man rosters to pick up guys on the waiver wire.

On Tuesday, fans learned that right-handed pitcher Manuel Rodriguez and left-handed pitcher Anthony Kay both cleared waivers, meaning they’re back with the Cubs. The duo has been outrighted to Triple-A.

Maddie Lee, who covers the Cubs for the Chicago Sun-Times, later explained in a tweet that unlike other situations, Rodriguez and Kay do not have the option to elect free agency.

Rodriguez, 26, was first added to the Cubs’ 40-man roster following the 2019 season. It came as somewhat of a surprise, but during spring training in 2020, he showed off his electric stuff on the mound.

Unfortunately, his path to the big leagues was delayed after the 2020 minor league season was wiped out because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Rodriguez was a stud again in 2021, posting a 1.31 ERA in 20 games at Double-A and Triple-A, before getting promoted to the majors in late July. His first cup of coffee in the majors doesn’t look good overall, as Rodriguez pitched to a 6.11 ERA in 17.2 innings. But in reality, that ERA was blown up because of one bad outing in September, when he allowed five earned runs without recording an out. Rodriguez was eventually shut down for the final couple weeks in 2021 with a shoulder injury.

Last season didn’t get begin any better for the right-hander, as Rodriguez started the season on the injured list in April and was eventually placed on the 60-day injured list in June. He did return to action and was called up to the Cubs in late August. The numbers weren’t eye-popping, as he only struck out eight batters and walked nine in 13.2 innings, but he mostly limited the damage with a 3.29 ERA in 14 appearances, picking up four saves along the way.

Meanwhile, Kay was picked up by the Cubs back in December, claiming the left-handed pitcher off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. The 27-year-old has pitched in 28 MLB games all coming with the Blue Jays from 2019-22. You can read more about Kay’s career here.

Maybe I’m too optimistic and it’s not like the Cubs have or are going to be successful with every pitcher they have or bring in, but I do feel fairly confident in the organizations pitching infrastructure and seeing that they were willing to lose a few pitchers through DFAs this offseason speaks to the team’s confidence in the other pitchers they have coming up. But I’ll repeat, it’s never bad to have a lot of pitchers in your system that you can still get an extra look at like Rodriguez and Kay.


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