Cubs Will Have Rule 5 Pitching Prospect Michael Rucker Returned

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Cubs Will Have Rule 5 Pitching Prospect Michael Rucker Returned

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs picked up an arm in the Rule 5 Draft this year (Trevor Megill, who is competing for a bullpen spot) and lost an arm, with pitching prospect Michael Rucker heading to the Orioles. The Cubs also lost utility man Vimael Machin to the A’s, and if he and Rucker were to stay on their respective new big league rosters for the season, they would be lost to the Cubs for good.

BUT, it seems Rucker, for one, will not be making the O’s this year, and has already been returned to the Cubs:

Rucker, 25, is a sneaky favorite of Bryan’s, having spiked his fastball velocity into the upper-90s late last year. We kinda suspected he might be a Rule 5 target, and sure enough, the rebuilding Orioles took a chance.

But without the ability to stash Rucker on the 40-man, and given that he’s spent just one year as a converted reliever (almost entirely at AA), it’s not necessarily shocking that they weren’t realistically going to jump him straight to MLB. Indeed, I read some articles that they were considering converting him back to the rotation – that would have been a HUGE leap. So, then, I gather he was a really speculative pick for the Orioles, who had lots of roster spots back in December. They saw what they needed to see, and are going another direction. I’m not sure it’s as much of a shot at Rucker as you might think.

Now Rucker, the Cubs’ 11th rounder in 2016, returns to the group of hard-throwing righties competing for innings at AAA Iowa when the season opens. Good to have him back in the organization.

As for Machin, he’s still competing – with some level of a realistic chance – for a bench job with the A’s.

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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.