Hey, it’s the reliever trade! The Cubs are bringing in an arm from the Blue Jays, but, natch, it’s not one of the guys we were talking about.
Breaking: According to a source, the Cubs are about to acquire RHP David Phelps from Toronto for minor league pitcher Thomas Hatch
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) July 30, 2019
Phelps, 32, has been a Cubs target in the past, but he was coming back from Tommy John here in the early going, and signed with the Blue Jays on a one-year, $2.5 million deal with a club option for 2020. Good, solid reliever in the past, though it’s always a little dicey in that first full year back from TJS.
So far, he’s had success over 17 appearances (his ERA- is 21% better than league average), but I’ll have to dig in on the peripherals.
More on him momentarily.
My guess is that Duane Underwood is up for tonight’s game, and then is swapped out for Phelps tomorrow.
UPDATE: One thing to keep in mind about pretty much anyone coming from Toronto is that the park factor for homers at Rogers Centre this year is BY FAR the largest in baseball (i.e., it’s been super easy to hit dingers there). All three of Phelps’ homers allowed have been in Toronto.
That also squares – again, we only have a small sample – with his hellacious numbers at home (.257/.350/.543) and great numbers on the road (.179/.258/.321).
UPDATE 2: As for Thomas Hatch:
Tom Hatch was headed to relief next season, as his platoon split issues became untenable as a starter once he reached Double-A.
He’s got a chance to make it in the bullpen — we’ll see how the stuff plays up — but that deep bullpen type arm is position of strength in system.
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) July 30, 2019
UPDATE 3: A little contractual stuff:
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 30, 2019
The cash might be to help cover the $750K or so left this year, or it’s possible it is tied to the increases in his option for next year. Right now, it’s a $1 million team option (no buyout), which is pretty awesome. But if he reaches just 30 games pitched (13 more), it goes up to $3 million. Maybe the Blue Jays cover some of that? And it keeps escalating as he pitches more ($5 million for 40 games, and $7 million for 50 games).
UPDATE 4: Officially official:
The #Cubs today acquired RHP David Phelps and a cash consideration from the Toronto Blue Jays for minor league RHP Thomas Hatch.
To make room for Phelps on the 40-man roster, LHP Xavier Cedeño has been transferred to the 60-day IL. pic.twitter.com/7tsw2vYqED
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 30, 2019