The Cubs took a particularly big swing in the Rule 5 Draft this year, plucking starting pitcher Gray Fenter out of the Orioles organization despite him having last pitched at just A-ball at age 23 in 2019. The odds that he’d come ready to be on a big league roster in 2021 were slim – and that’s what it would take for the Cubs to keep him – but you miss all the shots you don’t take and what have you.
You could tell from our initial write-up on his selection that it seemed like a really big, surprising, low-likelihood swing. And it was a whiff.
Bryan with some extra thoughts on Fenter, who heads back to the Orioles:
Drafted when the Cubs budget seemed WAY tighter than it turned out being, Fenter made no sense once the January additions happened. But he is a minor lg free agent at the end of the yr, unless Baltimore adds him to 40-man, so this Spring could have served as a recruiting pitch. https://t.co/uiEpeVR1V2
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) March 12, 2021
Notably, the Cubs could’ve worked out a side trade to keep Fenter without Rule 5 restrictions, but the Orioles must’ve wanted him back. The Orioles pay the Cubs $50,000 to get Fenter back (whose selection by the Cubs cost them $100,000).
Fenter’s departure opens up a 40-man roster spot, which will assuredly be needed by the end of Spring Training for a non-roster guy making the team.