And just like that the Cubs’ offseason needs are fulfilled!
I kid, of course, but the Cubs did make an acquisition today, claiming right-hander Cory Mazzoni off waivers from the San Diego Padres:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 6, 2017
Mazzoni, 28, is a former Mets second round pick (2011) who made his way to the Padres via trade back before the 2015 season. Upon reaching San Diego, he was among the Padres’ top 15 or so prospects (in a good system), before he had to undergo shoulder surgery before the 2016 season. He began reestablishing himself here in 2017, though he managed just 38.1 IP all year.
In any case, given his pedigree and the injury that slowed his development, this could just be an example of the Cubs taking a chance on a former top prospect post-surgery to see what he’s got left.
With that said, he was quite good out of the Triple-A bullpen this season, earning a 0.89 ERA and 1.11 FIP in 20.1 innings pitched. He was so good, in fact, that the Padres decided to include him as part of their September call-ups, but … things didn’t go quite as well in MLB. During his 8.0 inning stint this September, Mazzoni put up a 13.50 ERA and 12.16 FIP. HOWEVA, those numbers are largely inflated by his first two appearances, after which he got much better results (3.60 ERA (though a still rough 8.96 FIP)).
In terms of what the Cubs may have been attracted to specifically, Mazzoni did have a nice 50.0% ground ball rate in Triple-A this season, as well as a 37.8% strikeout rate and 3.7% walk rate. They’ve consistently stated that they’ll be targeting strike throwers for the bullpen, so maybe Mazzoni, as a Minor League depth type, is one of those guys.
After the other moves today involving Matt Carasiti and Leonys Martin, the Cubs’ 40-man roster sits at 34.