Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

chicago cubs logo featureThe Chicago Cubs haven’t announced the deal yet, but since Brandon Gomes, himself, is saying it’s happening, I’ll take his word for it.

That is to say, the Cubs have brought in yet another depth bullpen option, joining, most recently, Jean Machi. This time, it’s former Tampa Bay Rays reliever – and Joe Maddon familiarity – Brandon Gomes. The 31-year-old righty gets a minor league deal and an invitation to Spring Training, according to his interview in the Herald News.

Gomes was for several years right there on the cusp of AAA and the bigs for the Rays, appearing at both levels in each of the past five seasons, and having modest success in the big leagues.

He saw the most action in the Major Leagues in 2015, though his 59.0 innings netted a mere 4.27 ERA, 4.76 FIP, and 4.73 xFIP. Projected to make near $1 million in arbitration in 2016, the Rays instead decided to let him go.

For the most part, Gomes has been a contact pitcher in the big leagues, limiting walks, but without as much success limiting the long ball. He had an extraordinary spike in his strikeout rate in 2013 – 34.9% in 19.1 innings versus a career mark of just 20.3% – but that could have just been a small sample aberration. Gomes works in the low-90s with his fastball, and pairs it with an average slider.

In short, Gomes is an interesting bullpen depth option for an organization suddenly loaded with them. Given how little the Cubs had coming up to the AA/AAA level organically this year, it makes sense for them to go nutty with the depth. You never know how the season will play out, and how guys could wind up figuring prominently into the pen.

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