The Cubs aren’t sneaking too many players through waivers these days.
Not five minutes after word that the Cubs had lost outfielder Jacob Hannemann on waivers to the Mariners (in order to call up Taylor Davis), the Cubs also lost lefty Jack Leathersich on waivers to the Pirates (Sahadev Sharma). Last month, the Cubs lost pitchers Dylan Floro and Aaron Brooks on waivers to the Dodgers and Brewers, respectively.
Leathersich, 27, had an extraordinarily inauspicious debut with the Cubs earlier this year, but at AAA, he had a 38.1% K rate, and a 2.84 ERA over 44.1 innings. He’s always battled control problems, but for a formerly dominant pitching prospect who was in his first full year back from Tommy John surgery, he was coming along. It’s not at all hard to see him becoming a useful big leaguer next year.
And if that happens, it probably won’t be with the Cubs. If the Pirates elect to keep Leathersich on their 40-man roster all offseason, he’ll be theirs next year. And if they try to get him through waivers this offseason, I’m going to bet that he’s the type of guy who’ll be claimed and waived and claimed and waived. Teams are going to want him, without question. The only question is whether a team will be willing to use a 40-man roster spot on him for the duration. For now, that team wasn’t the Cubs.
There’s always a chance that Leathersich will reach minor league free agency this offseason and elect to re-sign with the Cubs, but you rarely see that in these situations with minor league veterans.
Best of luck to Leathersich, who will hopefully not be striking out Cubs batters in the near future. Which, well, could include this week – the Cubs face the Pirates for a four-gamer starting in an hour.