The Chicago Cubs once again have a full 40-man roster as they head toward the offseason. That’s because they just claimed 24-year-old lefty Joe Ortiz off of waivers from the Texas Rangers.
Ortiz, who spent much of this year rehabbing an offseason foot injury (motorcycle accident), contributed some in the Rangers’ bullpen just last year. He posted a 4.23/3.97/3.83 ERA/FIP/xFIP line over 44.2 innings in 2013. He was much stronger against lefties than righties, posting a .297 wOBA-against versus lefties, and a .331 wOBA-against versus righties.
Ortiz had huge strikeout rates in the minors, but was at just 14.4% in 2013. He doesn’t walk anyone, though, consistently in the 5 to 6% BB rate range.
The guess here is that the Cubs saw a young lefty whom they could give a chance to win a relief job next year. It looks like Ortiz has minor league options remaining, so he wouldn’t have to make the club out of Spring Training for the Cubs to hold onto him.
Then again, the trick might be sticking on the 40-man all offseason, given how much work the Cubs have to do there. We’ll have more on Ortiz soon.