Cubs Reportedly Sign Righty Reliever Dan Winkler to One-Year Deal (UPDATES: Split Deal, Actually)

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Cubs Reportedly Sign Righty Reliever Dan Winkler to One-Year Deal (UPDATES: Split Deal, Actually)

Chicago Cubs

It’s always a crushing blow to my fan-who-obsesses-about-baseball ego when a transaction involves a player I’m not at all familiar with, especially when he’s been in the league for six years. My bad.

But anyway, this is a guy the Cubs have signed today:

Winkler, 30 in February, was most recently a reliever with the Braves who was dumped during a down 2019 season, but posted a 3.43 ERA with even better peripherals over 60.1 innings during the 2018 season. Even on first glance, it’s crystal clear this is one of those low-cost, we-think-we-can-do-something-with-this-guy moves the Cubs make every year in November/December.

Will Winkler be the next Kyle Ryan or Rowan Wick (or Brian Duensing for the good year he had)? Good question. Few are, but you have to take your swings. We’ll have to dig in on Winkler ASAP, in particular what happened in 2019 after such a promising 2018 season.

Just to be clear: this is not the kind of move that impacts or precludes other moves (in the bullpen or elsewhere). This is a guy the Cubs’ scouts must’ve really liked, so when he became a low-cost free agent – and when the roster/non-tender deadlines passed – the Cubs felt like he was worth a 40-man spot. (Unless this is a minor league deal, which, hey, even better. The phrasing there suggests a 40-man spot, though.)

UPDATE: Just to confirm it’s a big league deal, and obviously the minor league option remaining is very important to the Cubs:

UPDATE 2: And it’s for a touch over the Major League minimum, with incentives to double that – not a bad deal for either side:

And in case you missed the related news, the Cubs might bring back Brandon Morrow on a Minor League deal.

UPDATE 3: Gotta love some twists and turns on a low-key signing like this. The deal is *actually* a split deal, which means the big league salary is not guaranteed:

That’s a notable distinction from a financial perspective – would allow the Cubs to move on with a minimal loss – but it does mean Winker still gets the 40-man roster spot. The Cubs signed a virtually identical type of deal with Shae Simmons a couple years ago, and that one didn’t work out. Not quite a big league deal. Not quite a minor league deal.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.