I promise to eventually go back and actually list all the pitchers the Cubs have signed to minor league deals this offseason because I swear it seems like they have brought in more relievers than ever before and a lot more compared to other teams during the past three months.
The latest signing is right-hander Curtis Taylor, who was most recently pitching in the minors with the Washington Nationals. Taylor and the Cubs have agreed to a minor league deal.
The 27-year-old will theoretically be competing for a bullpen job in spring training, but it is more likely that Taylor will be auditioning for a spot with the Iowa Cubs at Triple-A. Unlike several of the other pitchers the Cubs have signed to minor league contracts this offseason, Taylor hasn’t reached the big leagues yet during his professional career.
In 2022, Taylor pitched in 27 games at three different levels in the minors for the Nationals. He began the year on the injured list, making his season debut until May 28. Overall, Taylor pitched in 34 games and he posted a 3.91 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 46 games. Most of his work was at Triple-A, where Taylor had a 4.08 ERA in 35.1 innings, striking out more than 10 batters per nine innings in 27 appearances out of the bullpen.
Taylor has bounced around a handful of organizations since he was picked in the fourth round of the 2016 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Following the 2017 season, Taylor was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for right-handed reliever Brad Boxberger, who the Cubs signed this offseason.
The Rays had Taylor in their farm system from 2018-19, as the right-hander made it from Advanced A-Ball to Double-A. However, Taylor was eventually part of a three-player trade that was finalized on Sept. 1, 2019, when the Rays sent Taylor and fellow pitcher Edisson Gonzalez to the Toronto Blue Jays, who had traded infielder Eric Sogard to Tampa Bay early in July of that season.
I guess the timing has always been off with Taylor and injuries may have played a part as well because he kept having good results with every team he was on, especially with the Rays, but never got the call up to the majors with Tampa Bay. He didn’t pitch in 2020, as the minor league season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic and then in 2021 Taylor was limited to 34.2 innings between Double-A and Triple-A with the Blue Jays.
In Dec. 2021, Taylor joined the Nationals, as they claimed the righty off waivers. In six minor league seasons, Taylor has pitched in 147 total games, and he’s posted a 3.42 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 255 innings. Standing at 6-foot-6, Taylor certainly presents a tricky look for opposing hitters with his lanky frame.
So, we’ll see what the Cubs can do with Taylor during spring training and if he sticks around with the organization this year. As I mentioned from the start, the Cubs are bringing in a lot of pitchers into camp and they’ve had some success finding a couple diamonds in the rough in the past and that’s exactly their thinking with guys like Taylor.
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