Chicago Cubs Sign Chris Coghlan to Minor League Deal

chicago cubs logoThe Cubs’ borderline outfield options continue to swell.

Joel Sherman reports that the Cubs have signed former Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan to a split minor league deal, where he’ll make $800,000 if he makes the team, plus another $250,000 in possible bonuses. He can opt out of the minor league deal if he’s not called up by June 15. For now, he’ll head to Spring Training and try and win a job.

Coghlan, 28, hasn’t been able to do much since his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2009, mostly because of an ever-growing strikeout rate. Last year, in part-time duty, he hit just .256/.318/.354 (and actually featured a reverse split, batting much better against lefties than righties). For his career, the lefty-hitting Coghlan has hit .279/.344/.410 against righties, which ain’t too shabby.

Coghlan can play any of the outfield positions, though FanGraphs indicates he isn’t great at it.

The Cubs weren’t able to make a significant upgrade in the outfield this offseason, and will head into the year with a mix of platoon types and quality fourth outfielders. With Coghlan, Ryan Sweeney, and Nate Schierholtz as lefty platoon candidates (plus, theoretically, Brett Jackson, Ryan Kalish and Mitch Maier), and Junior Lake, Justin Ruggiano, and Casper Wells (and Josh Vitters, Darnell McDonald and Aaron Cunningham) from the right-hand side, the Cubs will have a number of mix-match options available. Cobbling together a starting caliber output from the group as a whole might not be impossible.

In the end, getting a guy like Coghlan on a minor league deal is pretty nice.

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

54 responses to “Chicago Cubs Sign Chris Coghlan to Minor League Deal”

  1. DarthHater

    Start printing those World Series tickets! FIRST!!! :-D

    1. DarthHater

      I apologize, Brett. Couldn’t resist. I won’t do it again. :-P

    2. mjhurdle

      i was going to try to start a pool to see who could guess the time of the first complaining post, but you ruined it :)

  2. Sacko

    And This is reality I’m speaking of…and why Tanaka is fantasy.

  3. FullCountTommy

    I’d add Josh Vitters to the right-handed mix, but I’m more optimistic about his bat than most

  4. Justin

    Yes, let’s hope Coghlan performs so we can flip the shit out of him at the deadline. Good times!!

  5. Myles

    I don’t think his emerging strikeout rate is the whole story. He also tore his meniscus in 2010, and his BABIP was crazily high in 2009.

  6. woody

    This makes no sense to me. We already have a slew of borderline outfield types that we picked from the trash heap. Appears like they are amassing canon fodder for the 2014 season.

    1. Justin

      Flippability candidate. Live it!!! Love it!!!

    2. Threat Level Midnight

      Every year teams make a slew of minor league signings and for some inexplicable reason every year there’s this contingent of fans who always freak out about them.

      It makes perfect sense. The Cubs need depth in case of injuries and they need to fill out their roster at AAA. How else do you think they do it?

      1. Chris

        Uh, with BA Top 100 prospects, duh!

        /sarcasm.

  7. woody

    Brett;
    I was wondering where Ruby Silva fits into the big picture? I know he is a left handed bat. It seems to me that in the future outfield we would want at least one left handed starter. In your opinion aside from the obvious of Soler and Almora, which guy on the farm do you see making an impact, and do you forecast any of them seeing action at Wrigley this year?

    1. woody

      That reference was specifically for outfielders.

  8. Jon

    If you put a blindfold on, and throw a couple of hundred darts, one of them is bound to hit near the bulls eye.

    1. gocatsgo2003

      Yes, that would be the idea.

    2. Webb

      Except all your darts are bent or broken.

  9. itzscott

    SIGN ALL THE 4TH OUTFIELDERS!!!

    1. ChiMike702

      More like 4A Outfielders.

  10. Fishin Phil

    Any chance we can get the league to give the Cubs like a 30-man roster instead of 25? If we have two or three platoon players for each position, we’re gonna need a bigger bench!

  11. ssckelley

    That oughta shut Scott Boras up for awhile!

    1. Fishin Phil

      That truly made me LOL.

    2. hansman

      No, Tanaka isn’t a Boras client.

      1. hansman

        Dang fails.

        1. Fishin Phil

          Have a hamburger, it will get better.

          1. hansman

            I am the Dodgers of the Hamburger Olympics.

  12. BenW

    Another no-risk, low reward signing. Not exciting, but I don’t really see the downside.

    1. BlameHendry

      how about a waste of money. Minimal money (relatively speaking) but still a waste.

  13. Serious Cubs Fan

    I hope the Yankees land Tanaka, bc it may put pressure on Toronto to trade for a SP A.K.A Samardzija. They maybe more willing to hand over both Stroman and Sanchez in a deal. I doubt it but you never know

  14. Rudy N

    I’m fine with all these signings. My only concern is the incredible log jam at AAA and my I-Cubs viewing pleasure…. I would much rather see an outfield of Szczur, Silva, Ha, Jackson Vitters and Jackson (some combo of that) than Ryan Kalish, Mitch Maier, Casper Wells Darnell McDonald, Aaron Cunningham and Chris Coghlan. If too many of these guys stick it pushes the kids down which in turn pushes Soler, Andreoli and others down or out, ect. How many of these guys can they reasonably keep as depth?

    1. TWC

      “My only concern is the incredible log jam …”

      Logjammin’:

      logjammin_karl_hungus2.jpg

      He fixes the cable.

  15. Blackhawks1963

    Sign all the FIFTH outfielders !

    1. Serious Cubs Fan

      Some the minor league deal “fifth outfielders” we resigned are pretty much extremely questionable “fifth outfielder” Types. Some of those guys I’m not even sure we’d even be able to flip one those guys for prospects, like in a Scott Hairston type deal for Ivan Pineyro deal…. Maybe Justin Ruggiano but we didn’t sign him. We traded for him.

      1. Blackhawks1963

        Coghlan has the probable flip value of a used infield rake.

  16. Voice of Reason

    This guy is another perfect sign for this team.

    If he doesn’t make it, we’re not putting out a bunch of cash.

    If he does make it then he could be traded.

    If one of our minor league outfielders is ready to come up then we’re not out much if he makes the team and he ends up sitting the bench. So, he’s not standing in the way of any progression of a young outfielder.

  17. BlameHendry

    So excite
    Many improvement
    Very success
    Wow

    1. Hee Seop Chode

      I thought for a second this was going to be a haiku.

    2. Hee Seop Chode

      Honest Question:

      Do the Cubs have a higher player velocity than other organizations? Could the opportunity to essentially try out so many players be an advantage of being terrible? Market inefficiency/identified opportunity?

  18. cavemancubbie

    It would seem there isn’t much, if any, confidence in our young outfielders, Jackson, Vitters, even Lake, by our FO. Sorry, I can’t get excited anymore by signing guys and flipping them later on. MEH!!!

  19. Cizzle

    Maybe someone can explain this to me: How can this quote (Baez’ calling-card is his power though, using plus-plus bat speed and a strong lower half to be able to hit the ball out of the park to any part of the ballpark) and 37 HR in the minors last year, translate to a “now” power grade of 55 (the same grade as his speed, and a lower grade than his arm).

    1. bbmoney

      I was curious about that too.

      My best guess, and it’s only a guess, is that’s the kind of power Baez would hit for right now if placed in the MLB today. It’s probably be his lack of contact skills holding him from letting that power shine in game action as of today.

      But I’d like to hear if people think I’ve got the wrong idea.

  20. ColoCubFan

    Sorry Brett, but I wouldn’t call the platoon outfielders picked up this Winter as a significant upgrade. The outfield this year looks like a decision of who can hurt us the least instead of help us the most!

  21. Fastball

    If we were to add up all the minor league guys and their new salaries I wonder if we are over the salary cap yet? We got a shitload of minor league free agents signed to $1 Million dollar deals with bonuses. Theo better hope to hell these guys don’t all have career years. Otherwise Ricketts will be calling for a price hike on hotdogs and beers.

  22. bobdawg78

    Fastball, most of these guys signed to these minor league deals, only get paid in the million range, if they get added to our 25 man roster. Most of these guys like Coughlin, Wada, Sanchez, etc… Aren’t going to get called up, thus they won’t make much of anything. People like Coughlin after ST, might ask to be released from their deals to look else where, if they don’t break camp with the parent club.

    These are all signings, so if there is any major injuries we have coverage, and lord for bid it CLICKS for one or more of these guys, and they SURPRISE and make the team. Then they become potential trade pieces later in the year. LOW RISK moves, with various ranges of POTENTIAL REWARD.

  23. Diehardthefirst

    The Cubs will be using a short centerfielder throughout its minor league exhibition games and if fans embrace then will lobby for NL to adopt as answer to DH

  24. blewett

    Coghlan is only 28 and a former ROY. Why not sign him to a minor league contract? Perfect example of a cheap lottery ticket.

  25. Bails17

    It’s funny how most of the trolls on here can’t see this signing for what it is…but rather a lack of an impact signing. This is a good sign for the Cubs. The guy was been hurt the last couple of years and could really be a nice piece if he can return to form. But…there must always be trolls..I guess.

  26. Diehardthefirst

    This team is definitely being molded in Moneyball fashion- who knows? May work again!!

  27. Diehardthefirst

    Speaking of OF– too bad Orioles beat us to Tyler Colvin

    1. Fishin Phil

      Ummm yeah, that kept me awake all night.

      ;)

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