The Cubs have reportedly made another low-risk gamble on a bullpen arm.
According to MLB Insider Robert Murray, the Cubs have reached an agreement with right-hander Daniel Winkler on a one-year deal.
Sources: #Cubs in agreement with free-agent reliever Daniel Winkler on one-year deal.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) December 6, 2019
Winkler, an Effingham, Ill. native holds a career 3.68 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 1.176 WHIP and 10.3 K/9 in 117 games (100 1/3 innings). He spent 2015-19 with the Atlanta Braves, undergoing Tommy John surgery in June 2014 and another elbow surgery in April 2017. The Braves dealt him to the San Francisco Giants at the 2019 trade deadline for closer Mark Melancon.
Winkler posted a 4.98 ERA in 27 big league games last season and a 2.93 ERA in 30 minor league games. His best MLB season came with the Braves in 2018, as he made a career-high 69 appearances and posted a 3.43 ERA, striking out 69 batters in 60 1/3 innings.
The Cubs entered the offseason in search of bullpen upgrades following a rough 2019. That search includes finding pitchers who may not have long track records, but qualities demonstrating their ability to make an impact at the big-league level. In this case, Winkler possesses solid spin rates on his cutter, four-seamer and curveball, meaning he induces soft contact and swings and misses.
“We need to keep unearthing pitchers who we acquire for the right reasons, we work well with and have the physical and mental wherewithal to go out and miss a lot of bats,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said at his end-of-season press conference, “which is something we didn’t do a lot of — although we did increasingly in the second half with this pitching group — and find more guys who can go out and pitch in high-leverage spots."
The Cubs were successful in unearthing arms last season, acquiring Rowan Wick and Brad Wieck from the Padres in separate deals. They recently acquired Jharel Cotton from the Oakland A’s in a similar buy low move.
Not every pitcher will be as successful as the Wi(e)cks were last season, but the Cubs must continue making low-risk bullpen moves. At the best, they find a legitimate relief arms; at the worst, they move on from a low-cost investments.Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Cubs and your teams on your device.
On this edition of the podcast, Tony Andracki, Nate Poppen and Tim Stebbins wonder: What are the Brewers doing this winter? The trio also discuss the latest moves by the Braves and Phillies and how the Cubs fit into the National League playoff race at the moment. Plus, they react to rumors regarding Willson Contreras and Nicholas Castellanos and weigh in on whether or not Nico Hoerner should be the Opening Day second baseman.
01:00 - What are the Milwaukee Brewers doing so far this winter? What does the Omar Narváez trade haul say for the market for Willson Contreras?
06:30 - Get ready for every Cubs trade rumor this winter to be linked to the Angels and Joe Maddon.
08:00 - Are the Brewers the 4th best team in the N.L. Central right now?
10:30 - After the Cole Hamels and Zack Wheeler signings, where do the Cubs stack up against the rest of the contenders in the National League?
13:00 - How will Cole Hamels be viewed by Cubs fans after spending just a season and a half at Wrigley Field.
14:40 - The Cubs are rumored to still be "interested" in Nicholas Castellanos. How would he fit in the outfield long term? What would signing Castellanos allow the Cubs to do with the rest of their roster?
18:45 - Should Nico Hoerner be on the Cubs roster out of Spring Training? What would Hoerner making the team mean for the construction of the roster and infield depth?
Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: