Remember once-promising Cubs pitching prospect Angel Guzman? His last season in MLB was spent in Chicago’s bullpen, where he amassed a 2.95 ERA and 1.049 WHIP in 61 innings. His arm basically fell off, and his young career was cut short. But a 31-year-old Guzman is back, this time to be a coach.
The Cubs also announced their minor league coaching staff for 2014, adding eight new coaches including former Cubs pitcher Angel Guzman. He’ll be the pitching coach in the Venezuelan rookie league. Former major league pitcher Bruce Walton was named pitching coach at Triple-A Iowa.
I’m not sure why I’m so happy about this, but I always liked Guzman. Welcome back to him.
While the Cubs and the rest of MLB are just waiting on news about whether or not Masahiro Tanaka will be posted, Theo and Co. decided to sign a different Japanese pitcher.
The Cubs announced minor-league deals with left-handers Tsuyoshi Wada, Jonathan Sanchez and Tommy Hottovy in the middle of Thursday’s echo chamber. That had American media outlets running with a New York Times translation of Japanese newspaper reports: The Rakuten Golden Eagles are supposedly waiting at least another year before releasing Tanaka. Maybe.
Wada – who went 107-61 with a 3.13 ERA and 36 complete games in Japan – didn’t live up to the two-year, $8.15 million deal he signed with the Baltimore Orioles. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012 and hasn’t made it to the big leagues.
He’ll be 33 in February and will be in competition for a rotation spot, from all reports I read.
Reports of minor league signings are generally less-than-thrilling, but don’t expect to see any big splashes unless someone can pony up major value for Jeff Samardzija or the Cubs can somehow sign Tanaka if/when he gets posted.
“We’re obviously focused on trying to time things well and make sure that we have a long continuous winning streak/era,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “Trying to ramp that up too quickly (could) be something that really negatively impacts us. And I do think that historically there’s been a lot of moves that have been made for that reason: ‘This is what the fans want.’
“You want to excite the fans in December, (but) you look back over the teams that quote-unquote ‘won the offseason’ and they almost always lost the offseason. I think that’s usually a pretty safe rule. So we’re trying to do what we feel is right for the long-term picture. There’s obviously things we will certainly do for the short-term. But as far as trying to create headlines – trying to win the winter – that’s almost always a fool’s errand.”
Logically, we all know it’s a fool’s errand. But I long for the days of the Cubs making interesting moves in the offseason. Maybe next year.