Although it probably isn’t consuming quite as many of your waking moments as the Masahiro Tanaka drama, one pitcher’s situation, as it relates to the Cubs, seems to have a little clarity.
A report out of Korea indicates that reliever Chang-Yong Lim’s agent says his client has been invited to Spring Training by the Cubs, who retained his rights after non-tendering him earlier this offseason. Lim, who came back from Tommy John surgery late last year to throw a handful of innings in the minors and Majors for the Cubs, signed a two-year contract with the Cubs before the 2013 season. The contract had some unique particulars, though, about which you can read more here.
Lim, 37, had Tommy John surgery in mid-2012, before deciding to come to the States the following year. If he’s fully recovered, he has the stuff to make the Cubs’ bullpen, but there are so many bullpen options at this point. As I’ve written before in this context:
The Cubs’ legitimate bullpen options presently go 10 deep: Jose Veras, James Russell, Wesley Wright, Pedro Strop, Carlos Villanueva (or Chris Rusin, depending on the rotation), Hector Rondon, Blake Parker, Justin Grimm, Zac Rosscup, and Brooks Raley. The typical bullpen includes seven guys, so, barring a trade or injury, that means someone like Parker or Grimm wouldn’t even make the pen at this point.
That list doesn’t include minor league deal/non-roster invite guys (some of whom, like Jonathan Sanchez, really do have a fair shot of making the pen as a specialist). And that doesn’t include rostered youngsters like Arodys Vizcaino, Alberto Cabrera, Neil Ramirez, and Dallas Beeler. And that doesn’t include Kyuji Fujikawa, who is expected back at midseason. There is depth, yo. Lots of it.
It’s a little unclear whether Lim wanted an opportunity to latch on to other teams (and the Cubs are holding him hostage, so to speak) or if the Cubs genuinely hope he can land a spot in the bullpen. The report indicates that the Cubs told Lim from the moment they non-tendered him that they wanted him to stick around. Whatever the case, he’ll get a shot in Spring Training, and, if he doesn’t make the team, we’ll find out whether he can be retained on a minor league deal, or whether the Cubs will let him try to catch on with another team.