Carl Edwards Jr. is getting a change of scenery.
The Cubs dealt the embattled reliever to the San Diego Padres Wednesday afternoon along with international bonus pool money in exchange for left-handed pitcher Brad Wieck.
Edwards — who turns 28 in September — has a 5.87 ERA and 1.11 WHIP this season in 20 appearances with the Cubs. He was sent down during the first week of April after a rough start to the season and then went on the injured list in early June with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder.
When Edwards returned to the big leagues on the Cubs' last homestand, he made just one appearance in which he got only one out while hitting a batter, walking a guy and giving up a single. The organization immediately sent him back down to the minor leagues the next day.
Edwards was a huge part of the Cubs bullpen from 2016-18, posting a 3.03 ERA with a 1.06 WHIP and 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 167 appearances during that span. At various points over the last few years, the Cubs — and especially manager Joe Maddon — tabbed Edwards as a potential closer of the future with his nasty stuff and ability to miss bats and induce weak contact.
But it never materialized for the right-hander with the Cubs, between issues with his mechanics and the mental side of the game.
In return, the Cubs get a bit of salary relief to help with the Nicholas Castellanos acquisition and also added Wieck to the southpaw mix.
Wieck, 27, has 31 strikeouts in 24.2 innings for the Padres this season, but also sports a 6.57 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. He had a 6.11 ERA in 14 minor-league appearances prior to his stint in San Diego.
Over his minor-league career, Wieck has 12.5 K/9 and a 3.16 ERA while working mostly as a reliever.
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Jon Lester is the best free agent addition in Cubs history, the guy who joined a last place club and helped push them to perennial contender status. He played a big part in the Cubs snapping their World Series drought, and even at 36 remains a durable, competitive starter.
Here’s a few things you may not know about the Cubs’ left-hander.
1. While playing in a soccer tournament in Italy at the age of 13, an Italian club approached Lester about playing professionally. He turned it down and the Red Sox drafted him five years later.
2. In August 2006, two months after making his MLB debut, Lester was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He underwent chemotherapy in the 2006-07 offseason and returned to the Red Sox in July 2007.
3. Lester’s charity, NVRQT, works to raise awareness and funds to fight pediatric cancer. Lester was the Cubs’ 2019 Robert Clemente Award nominee for his charitable efforts.
4. In 2011, Lester was featured on a wine label produced by Longball Cellars. Proceeds from “CabernAce” benefited the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
5. Lester, an avid golfer, once shot an 81 at Augusta National, according to Golf Digest.
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Back in 2013, the Cubs locked up a 23-year-old Anthony Rizzo on a seven-year, $41 million extension — with two options that could make it nine years for $74 million.
Rizzo is a cancer survivor, and gaining financial stability was a big thing for him. Seven years later, the deal is one of the best in baseball from a team perspective, but incredibly below market value overall.
However, the big first baseman, who’s emerged as a cornerstone for the Cubs, has no regrets over his decision.
“I’ve had the freedom from 22, 23 years old to financially do whatever I want and play freely,” Rizzo told NBC Sports Chicago’s Gordon Wittenmyer. “And I’m going to be able to do financially whatever I want for the rest of my life as long as I don’t make poor choices.
“At the end of this contract, it’ll make a lot of money, and I’m playing the game I love.”
The Cubs shut down extension talks with Rizzo over the winter, and he said it never got to the point of discussing any numbers. He has “no idea” what the Cubs’ thinking was on shutting down those talks, too.
The two sides will likely talk extension again in the future, but until then, the Cubs have Rizzo on an absolute bargain of a deal.
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