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Cubs

The Cubs will offer 30-year-old lefty reliever Danny Hultzen a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.

Hultzen was the No. 2 overall pick (Mariners) in a stacked 2011 draft featuring Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer, Anthony Rendon, Francisco Lindor, George Springer and Cubs shortstop Javier Báez. Hultzen was once a top pitching prospect, but he's suffered a number of injuries through the years, putting his professional career in jeopardy.

He underwent multiple arm surgeries and at one point said he couldn't pick up a ball anymore. In 2017, Hultzen returned to his alma mater, the University of Virginia, to complete his degree and served as a student coach for the baseball team.

The Cubs signed Hultzen in 2018 based on the recommendation of a former coach in the Mariners' system. After striking out 23 batters and allowing only four hits in 14 1/3 innings at Triple-A Iowa in 2019, Hultzen made his big-league debut on Sept. 8, against the Brewers. He hit the first batter he faced (Christian Yelich) and walked the second before striking out the next three.

"It's been a long road when you think about all the ups and downs the past few years," he said after the game. "This makes it all worth it."

In six outings with the Cubs, Hultzen allowed no runs in 3 1/3 innings, surrendering four hits and two walks compared to five strikeouts.

 

The Cubs non-tendered Hultzen last month because he had no minor-league options remaining. Thus, they would’ve had to add him to the 26-man roster or risk losing him on waivers if they tried sending him to the minor leagues.

Should the Cubs sign Hultzen to a minor-league deal, they won’t have to add him to the 40-man roster unless they promote him to the big-leagues.

Bringing Hultzen back would be yet another example of a low-risk, high-reward bullpen addition made by the Cubs this offseason. Jharel Cotton, Dan Winkler and Trevor Megill haven’t grabbed many headlines, but they offer pitching depth and could carve out larger roles on the Cubs' pitching staff. 

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