We are all waiting for big Cubs news. We’re not getting big Cubs news.
Thus I bring you minor Cubs news: The Cubs have apparently signed lefthanded reliever Kyle Ryan to a minor-league deal. How did we learn this? From the player’s Twitter page, on which he says he is a “LHP for the Chicago Cubs.”
Ryan was the Tigers’ 12th-round pick in 2010. He was in the big leagues in 2014 and had a pretty good year out of Detroit’s bullpen in 2016: 3.07 ERA, 1.132 WHIP, 1.0 bWAR in 56 appearances covering 55⅔ innings. He had a back injury that ended his 2016 season in mid-September and after he got off to a bad start with the Tigers in 2017 he spent most of last season at Triple-A Toledo, where he also didn’t throw well: 4.96 ERA, 1.809 WHIP in 48 relief appearances.
Ryan is 26 and has talent. In this 2016 article he gives props to his then-Tigers teammate and current Cub Justin Wilson:
Ryan credits teammate Justin Wilson with helping him figure out his game.
"Just be myself," Ryan said. "Don't let the batter change me. Just because I know who the guy up there is doesn't mean I pump up and throw harder. Be who I am. I don't throw hard. I let my ball do what it normally does and just sink."
Wilson is another pitcher who would love to turn around a bad 2017 season (at least, it was bad once he got to the Cubs). Perhaps Ryan could become the Brian Duensing of 2018. He’s under team control for five more seasons and isn’t arb-eligible until 2020, so there’s another potential benefit if the Cubs can figure out what was wrong with him last season.
Here’s some video of Ryan in an effective relief appearance against the Mariners in 2016:
A good no-risk, high-reward signing.
H/T to Tim Huwe and The Zygote 50 for pointing me in the direction of this signing.
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