It was only a matter of time before the Rangers-to-Cubs shuttle was engaged, right?
The Chicago Cubs today picked up a hard-throwing lefty off of waivers from the Rangers:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 27, 2019
As with Jharel Cotton, the Cubs snag a big arm that was DFA’d on rostering day last week. It’s just something the Cubs do every single year in November, and they’ve certainly wound up with some interesting relievers over the years from the practice.
Pelham, 24, is a pure stuff snag, because his results at AA and AAA last year were comically bad (ERA around 12, FIP around 8 … yowsa). The 6’6″, 235-pound lefty has an enormous fastball, which sits in the upper-90s and has absurd movement. It is graded as a present 70 on the 80/20 scale, which is incredible. It gets swings and misses at an enormous rate (near 20%!). Of course, he was DFA’d for a reason: he couldn’t throw it for strikes consistently last year, and it torched his results.
We’ll have to dig in a little more on Pelham soon. He’s not a guy I was familiar with, but it’s pretty obvious that he’s a guy the Cubs wanted to grab because of the elite fastball and then get into their pitch lab to see what they can do. He’s got options left, so he can spend time at AAA Iowa when the season begins to keep working on things.
The 40-man roster currently stands at 38. Of course, the Cubs may well try to outright Pelham at some point to see if they can stash him at Iowa to open the year without using a 40-man spot.