Back when the Chicago Cubs went through their second round of post-season roster chopping at the non-tender deadline, one of the names some folks were surprised to see chopped was reliever Jaye Chapman. The 25-year-old righty had been acquired midseason in the deal that brought Arodys Vizcaino over from the Braves for Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson.
From there, he pitched reasonably well with the Cubs in a very small sample size (12 innings) – 3.75 ERA, 1.500 WHIP, 9.0 K/9, 7.5 BB/9 (AHHH!), and 3.59 FIP. He looked decent in the process, and figured to be a guy with a good shot at winning a middle relief role next year. But then he was non-renewed by the Cubs in November, primarily because they knew they were going to need some roster spots.
Fortunately, it looks like the Cubs re-signed Chapman (officially on December 25, but the Cubs just released the signing) to a minor league deal, and invited him to Spring Training.
At worst, he’s additional reliever depth at AAA next year, and, at best, he’s a night arm with upside. He’ll face steep competition in Spring Training, though, what with guys like Cory Wade, Jensen Lewis, Hisanori Takahashi, and Andrew Carpenter already in line to fight as non-roster invitees in the Spring. More options, however, is always better.
I’m glad to see Chapman back on board, even if nothing comes of it.
The same goes for righty Zach Putnam, a promising reliever the Cubs had previously grabbed off of waivers from the Rockies. Like Chapman, Putnam was non-renewed, and has now been re-signed on a minor league deal. So, all that stuff I just said about Chapman competing or at least becoming nice depth at AAA? Ditto. In fact, Putnam might have a touch more upside than Chapman.