I’m not exactly sure how the Chicago Cubs are convincing all of these pitchers to sign with them on minor league deals – the competition is going to be insane – but, since depth is a wonderful thing, I’m perfectly happy about it.
Today’s installment of the Cubs’ burgeoning depth features 33-year-old lefty Manny Parra inking a deal with the Cubs, and already arriving in Spring Training. He’ll compete with an enormous group of quality pitchers trying to win a spot in the Cubs’ bullpen.
Parra is coming off an injury-plagued 2015 season that saw him go on the DL three different times (neck strain, elbow strain, biceps tendinitis/shoulder issue). Still, he managed to pitch 32.1 innings with the Reds, positing a 3.90 ERA and sterling 3.07 FIP. He struck out only 17.7% of the batters he faced last year, but walked a microscopic 4.6%.
Even if the bullpen features eight arms to start the year, consider that Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm, Travis Wood, Trevor Cahill, and Adam Warren are locks if healthy, and Clayton Richard is probably just about right there, too. That would leave just one spot for a group that includes Parra, Rex Brothers, C.J. Riefenhauser, Zac Rosscup, Neil Ramirez, Carl Edwards, Jr., Spencer Patton, Brandon Gomes, Jean Machi, Jonathan Pettibone, Armando Rivero, and Andury Acevedo, among many others.
Holy crap. I suppose part of this will be solved by the fact that not everyone will be healthy, but even still. It’s crowded like I’ve never seen before. Hopefully the Cubs get a really nice bullpen together AND a really nice group of arms ready at AAA Iowa.