For now, there is no white knight to ride in and save the Chicago Cubs from their pitching troubles. For the most part – excepting a possible internal promotion – the arms already here must be the solution, at least for the next month or two.
But, in the interim, the Cubs will continue to try and bring in plausible depth because there’s no reason not to. After all, the situation at the big league level could always get worse. Might as well have around as many theoretical arms as possible, just in case.
To that end, as they did recently with lefty Daniel Schlereth, the Cubs have signed righty Felipe Paulino to a minor league deal (Baseball America). Paulino, 31, was with the Red Sox in Spring Training, but did not make the team, and did not stay with the organization after March. Presumably, he’s been looking for the right minor league deal since then, and wound up with the Cubs. Although the Cubs haven’t yet announced the transaction, Paulino is pitching in extended Spring Training already, according to Arizona Phil at TCR.
Paulino spent his 2014 season pitching poorly for the White Sox, though he was battling shoulder issues all year after recovering from shoulder surgery the year before (and Tommy John surgery the year before that). Strictly speaking, Paulino has been a starter for virtually all of his career, but I wonder whether the Cubs will consider working him out of the bullpen when he’s assigned to a minor league team, given his recent history of shoulder/arm troubles. He’s always picked up strikeouts at a decent clip without sporting an outrageous walk rate. Prior to the cascade of injuries, Paulino had some successful years with the Royals and Astros.
He’s a flyer and depth for the Cubs for now. After some time in Arizona, both to get ready for the season, to work with Cubs staff, and to be further evaluated, Paulino could head out to one of the upper level teams in the Cubs’ system.