Chicago Cubs Reportedly Sign Pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada to a Minor League Deal

tsuyoshi wada oriolesAt the outset of posts like this, I frequently reference a previous post where I mentioned the player that is the subject of the present post. I do that not so much to pat myself on the back for having incredible and handsome foresight, but instead because I’ve often dug into concepts previously that I want to make sure to reference this time.

So it is with free agent pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada, whom the Cubs have signed to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training, per Sponichi (and Google Translate). When the Baltimore Orioles declined his option back in October, I wrote this:

Early possibility (among many) for a pitching flyer via a minor league deal? How about lefty Tsuyoshi Wada, who came over from Japan before the 2012 season to some fanfare (some … not a lot), only to promptly undergo Tommy John surgery? He spent the 2012 season rehabbing, and then the 2013 season working out his arm at AAA. The Orioles just declined a $5 million option on him, making him a free agent. He’ll be 33 next year, so there are some years in the tank. Just a flyer type here, but maybe something worth keeping an eye one.

It *was* something worth keeping an eye on!

That quoted bit sums up much of what there is to say on Wada. He pitched sufficiently well in his years in Japan that, when he became a free agent, the Orioles gave him to a two-year, $8.15 million contract. While not the kind of deal you’re going to see Masahiro Tanaka get, that’s a healthy sum for a second tier starter from Japan, making his stateside debut.

In other words, before coming to the States and immediately requiring Tommy John surgery, Wada was well thought of. Getting him in on a minor league deal and a chance to see if he’s full recovered from the surgery is a very nice get. He threw a hair over 100 innings at AAA last year, posting a modest 4.03 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and 7.0 K/9.

When it comes to that 7th/8th/9th starter range, this is the kind of guy you want to see in the mix: theoretically steady, might not kill you if he gets the call, and a little bit of upside.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

237 responses to “Chicago Cubs Reportedly Sign Pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada to a Minor League Deal”

  1. Patrick W.

    Thinking of heading over to BearsBN, finding the post about Cutler starting Sunday and posting “SUPERBOWL!!!”

  2. Sacko

    So Wada was projected to be a starter with the O’s in 2013?

  3. Ryan WEit

    As a college student who watches way too many YouTube videos, this comment section here is way calmer than those. But I agree that as a person who also likes to read the awesome discussions in the comment sections, it is getting harder and harder to find those discussions here

  4. Ferris

    Im thinkin russell in a bigger deal now,thats three lhp weve signed this offseason so far.

    Rassmus sanchez drabeck an a lower level guy….shark is good not great.

    Rassmus solid player an would be a nice flip piece in july if he dont extend reasonably…fft

    1. dAn

      Either that, or its simply an acknowledgment of the org’s lack of depth in terms of LH bullpen arms, after having DFAd Gaub, Maine and Beliveau in 2012. Cubs may also be concerned that Russell is done, after the way he pitched in the second half of the season–he was awful.

  5. North Side Irish

    Hot Stove Cubbies ‏@HotStoveCubbies 2m
    Source: Cubs offered Schierholtz to the Dbacks for Adam Eaton but were turned down because the Cubs wanted a pitcher as well, #fellapart

    FWIW, the Cubs were trying…they just got a little greedy.

    1. Soda Popinski

      Hey-zues. In my eyes, you take Eaton for Schierholtz any day of the week.

      1. Sandberg

        This is why I doubt it’s true.

    2. dAn

      That’s too bad, because Schierholtz for Eaton straight up would have been good for the Cubs. Whatever happened to “turning short term assets into long term assets”? Color me a bit skeptical.

    3. Rebuilding

      You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ll be really disappointed in the FO if that’s true. Shierholtz for Eaton would be a no brainer

    4. Serious Cubs Fan

      Wow….if this is true Theo/Jed are definitely starting to lose my trust. Don’t get me wrong they know more and are much more informed then we but I don’t understand their reasoning. That would be a ton of surplus value for Schierholtz a guy who is a solid power hitting platoon player in my opinion with only year of control left. Ton of upside with Eaton

      1. Carew

        I understand their thought process. Schierholtz came off a career year and has pretty solid value right now. They just wanted to try to make bank on his career year. I’m not torn about this and shouldn’t be a reason to lose trust.

    5. Serious Cubs Fan

      I don’t follow @hotstovecubbies on twitter? Is he a generally informed and reliable guy for these types of sources?

    6. Cheese Chad

      I don’t know why, but I don’t believe it. Is it possible that the D-Backs wanted a pitcher?

  6. Serious Cubs Fan

    Ron Coomer is the new Cubs Radio analyst with Pat Hughes, AKA: Coom Dawg. Excited

  7. Serious Cubs Fan

    “You (players) will screw the game. The game will never screw you.”- Ron Coomerhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcDNyb04mh8

    1. Serious Cubs Fan
  8. wilbur

    another good call by the bn blog on this pitcher, should be a contributer at some point. Is he was he strictly a starter before or has he pitched in the bp before. This could also help pave the way for signing tanaka, doens’t hurt to have someone around who speaks the same language.

    anyone hear Coomer got the cubs radio gig or is that cat not out of the bag yet? thanks wgn, cubs too.

  9. Serious Cubs Fan

    Seems like Garza is struggling to find a team who will give him a 4-5yrs deal bc of injury concerns. Twins particularly are currently not budging on no more then a 3yr deal

  10. Serious Cubs Fan

    The Cubs are asking for Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and a third prospect from the Blue Jays for Jeff Samardzija, Elliott reports. Anthopoulos recently said he was constantly being asked about Stroman and Sanchez, the Jays’ top two pitching prospects, in possible deals.

    1. Shortcircuit

      Here’s an article on it. They might not do it, because there are indications that they won’t include both.

      http://cubbiescrib.com/2013/12/12/report-cubs-asking-blue-jays-top-talent/

  11. Ferris

    Ss Parezza sp simms sp northcut
    For shark an vitters

    1. Ferris

      That trade is atlanta….sorry

  12. steve r

    how about we do the deal with Toronto, Stroman, Drabeck, and one of either Lawrie or Rasmus for Shark and Russell. Stroman and Drabeck are young starters to add to our growing pitching depth, Lawrie could lock up second base, which he was origionally I believe, and his bat should play there a lot better than Barneys ever will. Rasmus has a good bat but he hasn’t reached his full potential yet, and I actually like him a lot. He has a good glove in CF, decent speed and some power, maybe Mueller could get his full potential. Of the 2 I really like Lawrie a lot more, the guy can hit, and if we think he could be a good 2B, then we would be good there for the forseeable future. Maybe we add Schierholz to the deal and get all four guys plus another minor league pitcher with high upside. Add Rasmus and Lawrie to our lineup and things get a little better, IMO.

    1. dumbledoresacubsfan

      I would be cool with this if Toronto said yes. I like Lawrie a lot more than Rasmus, though.

  13. Die hard

    Maybe Ricketts has a surgeon in the family as he seeks out TJ pitchers? Who knows why? But such minor moves indicates a much deeper problem with ownership finances that will surface sooner or later

    1. Blackhawks1963

      I think its clear that the financials of the Cubs are very tight right now. I’m not passing judgment on that completely, because it’s hard to know the truth when Tom Ricketts can hide behind the building strategy still being in its formative stages as the “excuse” for not spending right now. That and the paralysis that overhangs the Wrigley renovation project.

      But this is a team where it was readily assumed that a modest $100 million or so payroll would be in place for Year 3 of Theo Vision. Well, the payroll is going to be $80 million for 2014. That’s a pronounced difference, and for a big market team EXTREMELY low. Build strategy or not.

      I’d like to see Brett become a little bit more objective in his editorials on the subject, but alas this is his toy and he can operate it as he sees fit.

  14. Mattm

    Brett the difference is that those teams are making mlb moves too.

    1. CubbieBubba

      Agreed. The TJ thing made sense the first few times, then it was funny, but now it is clearly a sad addiction.

      1. C. Steadman

        well about 33% of pitchers in the MLB have had TJ surgery…so its not like TJ pitchers are uncommon

  15. Blackhawks1963

    200 posts on a situational lefty signed to a minor league deal coming off Tommy John surgery and who tops the radar gun at 89. This is a depth move…all clubs do these sorts of moves…hard to pass judgment one way or the other…it’s a modest investment that you make….make enough of these modest investments and one or two might wind up paying off.

    Meh.

    1. Die hard

      201 now and counting but whose counting?

    2. CubbieBubba

      …some people post nearly 200 times a day.

  16. Ferris

    Phillips and four mil. for shurholtz…..phillips great def. 261-18-103
    Could hit fourth behind rizzo… they jus tried to trade phillips for gardner

    1. C. Steadman

      brandon phillips is declining…i dont want him

      1. bbmoney

        You must not realize the 103 means he had 103 RBIs last year. Declining my eye.

        1. C. Steadman

          OPS last three seasons starting with 2011 to 2013…810/750/706…ISO 157/148/135…RBIs are a stat that relies too much on other guys on base when he gets hits…lets see his RBI total without Choo

          1. bbmoney

            Yeah, sorry kidding.

            Not that hard to have 100 RBI hitting right after two 400+ OBP guys. Heck I bet Barney would have had 80+ hitting 4th in that lineup in that park.

        2. hansman

          I hope I am missing the sarcasm in this post.

          1. bbmoney

            I didn’t make it obvious enough.

            I should have said TEH RBIZZZZZZ!!!

            1. C. Steadman

              yeah cmon man…use all caps and a :P next time haha…when i saw you posted it i was like…”thought he was a sabr guy…”

              1. hansman

                Yes, CAPS or !!!!!!!!!!1!!!!11!1!1!!!!111 is the acceptable notation for sarcasm. Use both and you ensure that noone is ever confused.

                1. C. Steadman

                  i have the sarcasm sense of Sheldon Cooper…

                  1. Patrick W.

                    You? Nahhhhhhh You read sarcasm just. fine.

                    1. C. Steadman

                      haahahaha i was hoping you wouldnt see this…:P

        3. C. Steadman

          he only had a 1.6 bWAR last year…even with those 103 RBI

      2. Blackhawks1963

        I don’t think you have to worry. Phillips isn’t going anywhere unless the Reds eat some money. Maybe he eventually heads to the Yankees, but right now it seems like they are inclined to get a deal done with Omar Infante. Either that or trade for Gordon Beckham.

        1. C. Steadman

          we’ll send them Barney! :P

  17. jim

    Luv wada signin! If i was holly i wud quit csn.

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