Another arm for the Cubs’ pitcher development infrastructure to work with: former Marlins righty Jordan Holloway.
According to MLBTR, the Chicago Cubs have signed the hard-throwing Holloway to a minor league deal, and he’ll be coming to big league Spring Training. The 26-year-old was let go by the Marlins after the 2022 season that saw him deal with an elbow fracture, and limited him to just 2.2 big league innings, and 23.2 minor league innings. He stands 6’6″, can pump it into the upper-90s, and when healthy, he’s already had periods of big league success. Coming off a season marred by the injury and surgery, you like the chance to rework a guy a bit, especially since he’s still fairly young. In other words, it’s the profile of a guy the Cubs have had success reclaiming into a useful bullpen arm, so it’s not a surprising signing.
That big fastball doesn’t necessarily come with great pitch characteristics (other than the velocity), but the slider he pairs with it definitely does. It seems like he’s a very traditional big righty reliever who uses a high-velo fastball to set up a wipeout slider.
Notably, Holloway is out of minor league options, so that was probably a factor in the Marlins not keeping him on the 40-man roster. Having him on a minor league deal is far more preferable, because then you can let him work in Spring Training, get acclimated to your system, head to Triple-A to open the year, and then come up when he’s read/there is a need.
The timing of Holloway arriving the same day Mark Leiter Jr. – a recently-reclaimed righty reliever who was also out of minor league options and was waived – is not lost on me. It’s kinda like how the Cubs grabbed Vinny Nittoli at the same time they were losing Erich Uelmen, and there were a lot of parallels between those two guys, too. The Cubs just like to keep a nice steady flow of relievers to work with, especially when those guys don’t otherwise create roster crunches.