The Chicago Cubs continue the process of turning over their minor league system, opening up spots for the sea of pitchers they took in the 2012 Draft by releasing a handful of pitchers who might not otherwise have had spots, according to Baseball America.
The two most prominent pitchers released by the Cubs were young righties Austin Urban and Arturo Maltos-Garcia. If those names ring a bell, they probably should: Maltos-Garcia was the Cubs’ 30th round pick in the 2011 Draft, and Urban was the 41st round selection. Each received an overslot bonus (recall, 2011 was the Oprah Draft – “you get an overslot bonus, and YOU get an overslot bonus, and YOU GET AN OVERSLOT BONUS”), and each was a talented pitcher who’d slipped in the draft due to injury concerns. The Cubs even went so far as to pay for Maltos-Garcia’s Tommy John surgery and rehab (plus a nice bonus) as an incentive to get him to sign.
The point of signing so many talented arms in the draft, though, is that some will work out, and others will not. The more you accumulate, the better chance you have of actually getting a couple of them to the Majors some day down the road. Maltos-Garcia threw a handful of innings at Boise late last year, and Urban did not pitch at all for the Cubs in 2012.
I confirmed with Urban that he had, in fact, been released, as opposed to the “release” being some kind of procedural maneuver. Urban, who’d recently started throwing healthily in minor league camp, told me the release was a surprise, and that he expected to sign on with another organization.
Also released were pitchers Hung Wen-Chen, Tony York, and Kyle Shepard. Chen was a long-time Cubs farmhand, but didn’t pitch for the organization in 2012. Shepard, a lefty, was an undrafted free agent whom the Cubs signed back in June. York, a right-handed reliever, was also an undrafted free agent signed last year.