Another year, another Cubs pitcher coming back from the Diamondbacks.
Last year, the Diamondbacks reached to the depths of the Cubs’ farm system to take Low-A pitcher Starling Peralta in the Rule 5 Draft before returning him to the Cubs in Spring Training when it became clear that he wasn’t going to make the team. Peralta then went on to have a largely forgettable campaign in the low minors for the Cubs in 2013.
This year, it’s the same story with Marcos Mateo, whose fate may have been sealed when the D-Backs signed Oliver Perez to a two-year deal, adding another arm (albeit a left-handed one) to a very crowded pitching picture. According to multiple reports, Mateo has been returned to the Cubs.
Mateo, who turns 30 in April, wow scouts with a dominant performance in the Dominican Winter League this year. He was coming back from an arm injury that cost him most of the 2012 and 2013 seasons, and could once again be a big league caliber reliever, as he flashed back in 2011. Back with the Cubs, Mateo is going to find the same kind of bullpen/roster crunch, and I doubt he’ll have a realistic shot at making the big league pen.
In theory, then, he could continue to pitch at AAA Iowa in case he shows electric stuff and forces his way up later in the year, or the Cubs might decide it’s time to let him find an organization in which he might have a slightly better shot of winning a bullpen job in the near future. We’ll see what happens when all of the paperwork settles, and the minor league rosters shake out.
Oh, and yes, he does look exactly like Antonio Alfonseca (sans the extra finger).