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The Chicago Cubs have signed an interesting reliever to a minor league deal: righty Jensen Lewis, a formerly very good pitcher with the Indians. The deal, reported by Baseball America, presumably comes with a non-roster invitation to Spring Training.

Lewis, 28, was intermittently a very solid reliever for the Indians from 2007 to 2010, posting a 3.68 ERA (115 ERA+) and 1.359 WHIP over 198 innings during which he struck out 8 per 9 innings (3.9 BB/9).

For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, Jensen appears to have simply “lost it” starting in 2011. After an ugly Spring Training that year, he was sent to AAA to start the season, and was released by the Indians in June of that year. He didn’t catch on with another team that season, which makes me wonder if there was an injury issue. He bounced back a bit last year with the Diamondbacks at AAA, posting a 3.65 ERA and 1.235 WHIP over 56.2 innings. He struck out 43 and walked 20. That’s definitely not a bad ERA for the PCL, and playing in Reno.

Taken all together, Lewis might be one of the more interesting non-roster invites to Spring Training (I’m assuming he’ll get an invite).

Probably playing at least a small role in the signing? Lewis’ pitching coach in college was the Cubs’ new Minor League Pitching Coordinator Derek Johnson.

  • http://bleachernation ferris

    nick turley,zack nuding from yankees for sori and cash,makes sense for both teams, I cant believe the yanks would be more intereted in wells than sori……if you can get 30 plus homers an 100 plus rbi for less I havent seen it.

    • Pat

      It may be because prior to last year the last time Soriano put up 30/100 was 2005, and teams are seeing last year as a fluke.

      • http://windycitysportswonk.blogspot.com/ Myles – WCSW

        Yeah, but 30/100 are arbitrary points. In 2010, he hit .258/.322/.496, with 24 HR. That’s an effective season.

        In 2008, he hit .280/.344/.532 (.368 wOBA), with 29 HR. That’s a very good season.

        In 2007, he hit .299/.337/.560 (.378 wOBA), with 33 HR. That’s a titanic, 7 WAR season.

        As a Cub, Soriano has produced 19.7 WAR. That’s an average of around 3.3 a season, which is a good player.

        • Pat

          2007 bWAR was 4.1 (fWAR always seems higher and when used in valuation statements gives crazy numbers).

          I’ve repeatedly seen the “he’ll give you 30/100″ argument. Just pointing out that it isn’t actually true. You want to say there a better than average chance he will be above average offensively despite his age, I wouldn’t argue with that.

          • http://windycitysportswonk.blogspot.com/ Myles – WCSW

            Fair enough. I actually liked bWAR’s stats a good deal more than fWAR’s, but ever since the change to defensive metrics on B-Ref they’ve been harder to swallow.

            Shameless plug, but I think Soriano has a good deal of value to a team if we eat his contract enough to get to 2/$10.
            http://windycitysportswonk.blogspot.com/2012/12/how-much-value-does-alfonso-soriano-have.html

            • GDB

              I’m just assuming the reason nobody sees trading for Soriano as a good idea, is because we are asking for a decent prospect in return.

              A year ago we’d likely have dumped him on anyone willing to pay some money, but the only reason to trade him now is to get a decent prospect back. If no one offers anything worthwhile, then we might as well stick with him for next year as well.

  • baldtaxguy

    This signing cannot hurt at all. Stockpile and make the bullpen positions competitive. I like this plan.

  • jdblades7

    Has anybody heard who is in contention for Michael Bourne.Dejesus and Soriano will be gone by midseason.I know he has too many K’s, not high enough OBP, and will have to overpay and give more years than would like to get him, but it is hard to find a good leadoff hitter and his defense and speed are stellar.

  • leroy

    Wait he didn’t have Tommy John Surgery??? I’m impressed already.

    • DarthHater

      Don’t worry, judging from the elbow position in the photo, he could still need TJS in the future. Then we’d have another bounceback candidate! Cool!!

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