Sonnanstine looked promising in his first two seasons with the Rays, particularly in 2008 when he posted a 101 ERA+ and had an excellent walk ratio of 1.7 per nine innings and had two good starts for the Rays in the 2008 postseason. But he has regressed the last three years, was banished to the Rays' bullpen and spent much of 2011 at Triple-A Durham.
Sonnanstine will be 29 in March. He's a reclamation project, but at that age he's got a much better chance to be productive than the retreads (Doug Davis, Ramon Ortiz, Rodrigo Lopez) that Jim Hendry signed last year. Theo Epstein is certainly familiar with Sonnanstine because of their time together in the AL East; I'm all for signings like this. In fact, one pitcher like that who I'd really like to see the Cubs give a NRI to is Scott Kazmir. Maybe Kazmir is done, as some here said last year. But maybe the Cubs can reclaim him, too; he's lefthanded and just 28 years old next month.
The Cubs today also officially announced the signing of right-handed former Rockies reliever Manny Corpas to a similar, non-guaranteed split contract.