The Chicago Cubs signed free-agent reliever Jason Adam on Monday evening, and he’ll have a chance to lock down a spot in the bullpen.
The Chicago Cubs‘ comical offseason rolls on as they signed yet another free agent to a minor-league deal. Jason Adam, the former fifth-round pick in the 2010 MLB Draft for the Kansas City Royals, has yet to stick with a team, as he spent last year in the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization. He made 23 appearances with the big league club, tossing 21.2 innings while striking out 18 batters but did allow ten free passes. Still, his 2.91 ERA is impressive and had the fourth-lowest home runs per flyball ratio (3.2 percent) for relievers who had pitched at least 20.0 innings.
Oddly enough, his new teammate, Rowan Wick, was the best in that department last year, not allowing any home runs in 31 appearances. I may have just jinxed him, and I am sorry for that. Opponents hit .192 off Adam last year after being called up on August 1. As noted, he’s had a circuitous route to the big leagues, initially drafted by the Royals in 2010, traded to the Twins in 2014, signing with the Padres in 2017, signing with the Royals (again), and traded to the Blue Jays last March.
He has good velocity on his fastball, and opponents were able to hit just .164 off his primary pitch last year and shows good break on his curveball. With a spin rate of 2539 rpm, Adam’s curveball has 5.1 inches more horizontal movement than league average, but he had trouble locating it as opponents were able to do the most damage off of this pitch.
The Cubs’ bullpen lost the most this offseason with the departures of Pedro Strop, Brandon Kintzler, and Steve Cishek. Only Cishek has signed with another team, so I suppose the door is still open for the other two to return. Adam will now join a group of Craig Kimbrel, Kyle Ryan, and Wick to form, what is hopefully, a strong back end of the bullpen.
Earlier this offseason, the team acquired Trevor Megill via the Rule 5 draft and signed Brandon Morrow, Dan Winkler, and Ryan Tepera to deals. The Cubs will be relying on Kimbrel to return to elite form after signing with the team mid-season and posting a 6.23 ERA in 23 appearances. It could become ugly should the Cubs’ bullpen show the inability to hold a lead and all eyes will be on Tom Ricketts. I can only polish so many turds in one offseason.