Chicago Cubs Sign Righty Reliever Curtis Taylor to a Minor League Deal

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Chicago Cubs Sign Righty Reliever Curtis Taylor to a Minor League Deal

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs are really loading up on minor league/reclamation/developmental relief arms this offseason, as they always do. I love it. Take 10 swings, and if you’re really good at it – which the Cubs seem to be – a couple of them will hit, so to speak.

The latest relief addition is Curtis Taylor, most recently of the Washington Nationals’ farm system. The 27-year-old righty just signed a minor league deal with the Cubs, having pitched mostly at Triple-A for the Nationals last year (4.08 ERA over 35.1 innings). Before that, he was at Double-A and Triple-A for the Blue Jays in 2021, having previously been in the Rays and Diamondbacks organizations (he was a popular trade candidate). I don’t have the particulars, but Taylor pitched a little bit at the lower levels last year with the Nationals, too, so I suspect he was rehabbing some kind of injury.

Taylor, who is a relief-only guy with good strikeout and walk numbers in the minors, was still considered a top 40 system prospect (Blue Jays) as recently as the start of 2021. Here’s what FanGraphs wrote:

Taylor’s stretch with Toronto in the Fall was the first time the org’s dev group had really gotten to see him throw in person, as he was hurt when they acquired him from Tampa Bay for Eric Sogard. It was the second time Taylor was dealt; the first was when the Rays acquired him from Arizona for Brad Boxberger. Taylor was shut down and given a PRP injection to remedy a UCL strain without surgery and didn’t pitch the second half of 2019. Before he was shelved and traded, he was typically throwing 35 to 50 pitches once every three to five days, seemingly in preparation for some kind of multi-inning role, and that seems to be what he’ll be doing for Toronto. At full speed he works in the mid-90s, generates huge extension, and bends in some above-average sliders. He was more 91-93 at instructs.

So, there you go. When he’s right and healthy, you’re looking at a mid-90s fastball with extreme extension (the Cubs love guys who do anything extreme), and a possibly above average slider. The reliever toolkit, and a guy I’m sure the Cubs are happy to have a chance to work with.

Although Taylor may have a theoretical chance to win a bullpen job out of Spring Training, his track record suggests to me this is more of a true minor league signing, where he’ll compete for a job in the Iowa bullpen in the spring – there’s just so much depth! – and if he’s got a spot, there he’ll work with the Cubs to take into game action whatever was the Pitch Lab focus in the spring.

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.