The front office of the Chicago Cubs was busy on Friday, announcing four player signings. While we all long for the Cubs to sign someone we’ve actually heard of, these signings aren’t that. They do, as you might imagine, fit the bill of the Cubs trying to find value in players discarded elsewhere. First, a starting pitcher who we might see in the rotation in 2014.
The Cubs claimed right-hander Liam Hendriks off waivers from the Twins on Friday. The 24-year-old is 2-13 with a 6.06 ERA in 30 Major League appearances (28 starts) with Minnesota over parts of the last three seasons.
Hendriks signed with the Twins as a non-drafted free agent in February 2007 and became the 28th Australian-born player and 20th pitcher to play in the big leagues when he made his debut with Minnesota in 2011.
Hendriks looks like a control-type pitcher. Not many strikeouts and not many walks, but he’s been hit pretty hard, as a 6.06 ERA would suggest. He’s only 24, so maybe the Cubs Chris Bosio can work his magic and turn him into a useful starter. There were also three minor league signings.
The Cubs also have signed infielder Ryan Roberts, outfielder Ryan Kalish and catcher John Baker to Minor League deals with invites to Spring Training. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were with the Red Sox when they drafted Kalish.
Kalish missed all of 2013 with an injury and had the same surgery as Peyton Manning on his neck in August. He’ll likely be in the minors as a reclamation project.
Remember when Julie’s source told us it’s looking like the Cubs are planning on keeping Jeff Samardzija around? Other people are starting to say the same thing. For one, Dave Schoenfield of ESPN.com:
Are you as tired of Samardzija trade rumors as I am? At this point, he’s been tied to nearly every team in one rumor or another. The Blue Jays are the latest possible destination, but the Cubs reportedly asked for two top prospects plus a third player. Samardzija has two seasons left until free agency, and while he struck out 214 in 213 2/3 innings, his ERA was also 4.34, and 4.72 in the second half.
So maybe he just remains with the Cubs because of the high asking price. And then the Cubs will hopefully sign him to a 10-year extension so we don’t have to go listen to all these rumors again in July.
I guess I didn’t realize that Samardzija rumors were this offseason’s scourge, but after seeing what the Tigers got for Doug Fister, it shouldn’t surprise us if no one will pony up what the Cubs want for Samardzija. Mark DeRosa thinks he should stay with the Cubs, regardless.
“Absolutely I do, I think he’s what you build your team around,” DeRosa said. “I watched him play football and then when he signed with the Cubs, I remember first meeting him at the Cubs convention when he got called up. His presence in the clubhouse and his presence amongst guys who were much older than him, he fit right in. This guy is a killer. I love everything about him and I’d be hard pressed to believe that the Cubs will let him walk away unless they are just totally blown away [with a trade proposal].”