Even when the Major League team is winning (and boy are they winning), there’s always work to be done at all levels of an organization.
In that regard, do I have the upmost respect for the Chicago Cubs front office, who continue to work hard, even at the periphery, despite ungodly heaps of success at the big league level.
Now, what exactly “work to be done at all levels of the organization” means can change from day-to-day, but the number one priority at all times is the continuing collection of talented, useful, or otherwise necessary players, no matter how it is accomplished.
On Monday, the Cubs made one such move, signing 27-year-old pitcher Alex Sanabia.
More specifically, the Cubs purchased the contract of Sanabia, from the Mexican League Tijuana Toros, according to Zach Links and Steve Adams at MLBTR.
Sanabia was originally drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 32 round of the 2006 MLB Draft. He eventually made his Major League debut with the Marlins in 2010, but bounced up and down between the minor and major leagues, before being claimed off waivers by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013. He eventually found his way back back to the Marlins, but ended up signing a deal with the Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican Baseball League in March of this year.
Throughout his career at the Major League level (24 starts, 138.2 innings pitcher), Sanabia has a 4.15 ERA (4.61 FIP) with just a 14.2% strikeout rate and a 7.3% walk rate. As far as pitch mix goes, Sanabia is a sinker baller, but uses four pitches in total (sinker, fastball, slider, changeup). His fastball velocity is in somewhere in the upper 80s-lower 90s, but he doesn’t throw it very often.
According to Adams (MLBTR), Sanabia will head to Triple-A Iowa, where he could bolster the Cubs’ rotational depth in the upper minors (as the Cubs did when they signed Jake Buchanan to a minor league deal), or perhaps they’ll see how he works out of the bullpen. With Pierce Johnson back on the DL with a lat injury, there’s an opening in the Iowa Cubs rotation, for what that’s worth. Sanabia had been starting in Mexico, posting a 3.60 ERA over 30 innings across six starts. He’d struck out 20 and walked 3.
Sanabia’s not the sexiest of additions, but emergency depth is emergency depth for a reason. Even still, it remains more likely that Trevor Cahill or Adam Warren would get the first crack at the rotation should a need arise.