Cubs Claim Righty Julian Merryweather Off Waivers from the Blue Jays, DFA Righty Manny Rodriguez

The Chicago Cubs are nonetheless scouring the waiver wire, tonight including one other pitcher they need to have an opportunity to work with: right-handed reliever Julian Merryweather. To open up a spot on the 40-man roster, the Cubs have designated righty Manny Rodriguez for task.

Merryweather, 31, has been an up-down man for the Blue Jays the previous couple of years, and since he is out of minor league choices, he was a chief candidate for the Jays to attempt to get by means of waivers (not in contrast to the Cubs with Mark Leiter Jr.). I would not be stunned if the Cubs attempt to do the identical factor later in the offseason.

Merryweather is a hard-throwing man (97/98 mph fastball), who sports activities a wipeout slider. A really conventional bullpen kind. His outcomes weren’t there this previous season, although, largely as a result of he obtained hit fairly darn exhausting when he did get hit. Moreover, his strikeout fee was barely under league common, which isn’t what you’d need to see from a man together with his pitch combine in a aid position (stroll fee was tiny, so I’m wondering if he was simply… pitching in the strike zone an excessive amount of?).

It’s not exhausting to see the Cubs’ curiosity in Merryweather total, although, as he is obtained that plus velocity on the fastball, which he pairs with above-average spin and above-average extension. He’s a man you’d need to work with when you have been the Cubs, regardless of the 6.75 huge league ERA in 2022 (26.2 IP). Merryweather hasn’t pitched a lot in the minors the final couple of years, however when he has, it has been dominant.

Bonus? Merryweather originated in the Cleveland group (2014 fifth rounder, was with Cleveland by means of 2017), so there’s going to be some familiarity there with Carter Hawkins.

As for Manny Rodriguez, I’m going to guess that a few of you’re stunned to see him get the DFA, which suggests the Cubs now have per week to waive, commerce, or launch him. I’m not SUPER stunned primarily based on how he regarded this previous season, sadly. Here’s what I wrote late in the 12 months:

Manny Rodriguez had a scoreless look final night time to decrease his huge league ERA to 2.84 over 12.2 innings of labor this season. And but… I’ve issues. If you have been watching, you’d discover that his fastball velocity is down this 12 months by 1 to 2 mph every day trip, and he is not getting any swings and misses. His swinging strike fee, 9.0%, is method under the league common (11.1%), which isn’t in any respect what it’s essential to see from a late-inning reliever. His CSW%, 21.1%, is kinda horrible. His strikeout fee (14.3%) and stroll fee (12.2%) combo are downright scary.

The eye check on Rodriguez has simply not seen something remotely spectacular from a man who, at occasions final 12 months, regarded completely explosive. I can not assist however surprise if the arm damage this 12 months actually put him behind the curve in his capacity to get to the place he wanted to be, bodily. Or not less than that is what I hope, as a result of this model of Rodriguez wouldn’t be an influence arm. He won’t even be usable over a bigger pattern.

In different phrases, as soon as Rodriguez returned from his arm points final 12 months, he simply wasn’t the identical man we would seen in 2021 (and that 12 months, he wasn’t getting outcomes, even when he was flashing intriguing stuff). The 26-year-old righty may curiosity some crew on the waiver wire that wishes an opportunity to reclaim him (he does have minor league choices remaining), however I might see him clearing waivers and being outrighted to Iowa. If that occurs, you simply hope final 12 months was a blip attributable to his prolonged absence from the arm damage.

Keep in thoughts, the Cubs nonetheless should make the Trey Mancini signing official (and in addition are presumably including one other reliever from right here), so it’s attainable they’d have been DFA’ing Rodriguez quickly in any case. Now they’ll attempt to get him by means of waivers, and possibly even then DFA Merryweather – when Mancini is official – and attempt to get *him* by means of waivers, too.

Rosters are very full this time of 12 months, so that you see a whole lot of waiver motion to attempt to get guys by means of (at which level you outright them to Triple-A, and if they can’t decline the outright, you mainly have them on a minor league deal for 2023). The Cubs could have been planning to DFA Rodriguez all alongside, however have been ready for the ultimate time once they felt they might get him by means of waivers, since he can not decline an outright task.

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