The Cubs made a signing today that we've all been waiting on:
Sweeney will get $1.5 million in 2014 and 2015 w a $2.5 million option or $500,000 buyout
Sweeney will get $1.5 million in 2014 and 2015 w a $2.5 million option or $500,000 buyout— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 8, 2013
What? You were expecting something else?
Don't be disappointed in Sweeney. The Cubs signed him to a minor league deal on April 3, three days after the Red Sox released him at the end of Spring Training. (And in case you were wondering, Theo Epstein had already left the Red Sox organization before Sweeney got there.) The Cedar Rapids, Iowa native spent April in Des Moines and tore up the PCL, hitting .337 with six home runs before getting called up to Wrigley the first week in May. Despite missing sixty games in the middle of the season with a broken rib, Sweeney had a fine campaign in 2013, hitting .266/.324/.448 with six home runs. Despite only playing in 70 games, those six home runs were a career high for him.
This deal was a no-brainer for the Cubs. Sweeney is still only 28 years old and he had a few of seasons of being a league-average outfielder in Oakland before getting sent to Boston in 2012 as part of the Andrew Bailey/Josh Reddick deal. He struggled in Boston, just like pretty much everyone else on the Red Sox under Bobby Valentine. Freed from the O.co Coliseum and Bobby V, Sweeney would have had his best season ever in 2013 if it weren't for the injury.
The size and money committed to the deal is tiny, at least by baseball standards. Sweeney won't block anyone from the minors and his ability to play all three outfield positions would make him a valuable fourth outfielder should someone better push him to the bench.
For Sweeney, he gets the security of a two-year deal and the likelihood of a starting outfield job next April. Sweeney also seems to generally enjoy playing for the Cubs. He's not a "building block" of the future, but he could be a bridge to the future and a role player after that.
It's a good first move of the offseason for the Cubs braintrust. Now let's see if there are any other high-profile signings in October.