Today the Cubs added yet another fringe arm to the roster, claiming 29-year-old lefty Alex Hinshaw off of waivers from the San Diego Padres. The Cubs transferred Arodys Vizcaino to the 60-day DL to open up a spot for Hinshaw on the 40-man roster.
Hinshaw pitched in relief for the Padres this year, mostly poorly, putting up a 4.50 ERA (remember, he pitches half the time at Petco) and a 1.536 WHIP over 28 innings. Before this season, Hinshaw spent a few years in the high minors with the Giants after making his debut with them back in 2008 and 2009.
Hinshaw has great stuff, as evinced by his huge K-rate throughout his career. He struck out 36 this year in those 28 innings of work, and his carer minor league rate is a robust 11.1 per 9. His worst enemy, however, has been his inability to stay in the zone – he’s walked an absurd 6.4 batters per 9 this year, which is only slightly worse than his career minor league mark of 6.2.
Generally-speaking, he’s thought of as a guy who could be a capable LOOGY, but until he figures out his control problems, he won’t have consistent success (that said, he has held lefties to a sub-.670 OPS this year, so I guess that is relative success). The Cubs are likely to let him pitch at AAA for the next week and a half, and then will bring him up in September when the rosters expand to 40. From there, the Cubs will get a solid month to evaluate what he’s got, and decide whether to keep him for 2013.
Hinshaw isn’t young, but, given the upside and the zero risk, I love this move.
UPDATE: Actually, Hinshaw is expected to join the Cubs *this* week, so they’ll have to bounce someone from the 25-man roster to add him. One of the Cubs’ younger bullpen arms could be shuffled back to Iowa to await September roster expansion.