It looks like the Cubs are done adding to their MLB pitching staff via free agency for the most part and are now shifting gears looking to get some low-risk value on smaller deals. They’ve already signed a handful of pitchers to minor-league deals, added a former first-rounder off waivers from the Blue Jays and most recently agreed to a minor-league contract with right-handed pitcher Nick Neidert.
According to Robert Murray, Neidert’s deal with the Cubs includes opt outs on June 1 and July 1.
As you can see with the age, there could still be some room for upside here with Neidert, who does have pretty good numbers throughout his career in the minor leagues.
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Neidert was drafted in the second round, picked 60th overall by the Seattle Mariners in 2015. The right-handed pitcher has been a starter ever since he began to play pro-ball, making 115 starts and seven bullpen appearances in seven minor league seasons. Neidert has a career 3.16 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, with 514 strikeouts in 575.1 innings down in the minors. He made his way to the Marlins during the 2017-18 offseason, when he was part of a trade that resulted in Dee Strange-Gordon going to the Mariners.
The young righty was pretty good in his first year in the Marlins system, earning All-Star honors in 2018 at Triple-A, where Neidert had a 3.24 ERA in 26 starts.
In 2022, Neidert tossed 46 innings at Triple-A, where he was used in the bullpen and in then again in the rotation. He posted an impressive 1.96 ERA in 14 total appearances, striking out 48 batters and posting a 1.04 WHIP. The Georgia native does have major league experience, pitching for the Miami Marlins from 2020-22.
Neidert made his MLB debut as a reliever against the Philadelphia Phillies during the 2020 season. He didn’t get much action that year, making a total of four outings and throwing only 8.1 innings. In 2021, Neidert made seven starts and one relief appearance for Miami. He had mixed results, recording a 4.54 ERA and 1.51 WHIP in 35.2 innings for the Marlins, who called him up and sent him back down several times in 2021.
Neidert just wasn’t able to transfer his success from Triple-A that year to the majors, as he posted a 3.67 ERA in 68.2 innings with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. Gotta love minor league team names.
It looks like 2022 was a rocky year for Neidert despite his good numbers in Triple-A. He was DFA’d in April to clear a 40-man roster spot, but was retained and kept in the minors. He was first used as a reliever before jumping back into the starting rotation in June and was then called up by the Marlins in late July. Unfortunately, Neidert only made one start for Miami, allowing two runs in five innings against the New York Mets before a knee issue sidelined him for the rest of the season.
It’s unclear what Neidert’s status will be health wise heading into spring training with the Cubs as he reportedly had surgery on his injured knee. That was reported in early September.
Overall in his brief MLB career, Neidert has a 4.59 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 49 innings.
At the very least, it looks like the Cubs have a starter for their Triple-A rotation to begin the 2023 season.