The Cubs non-tendered Justin Hancock (along with Ronald Torreyes and Allen Webster) at the deadline last Friday.
At the time, it didn’t seem like non-tendering Hancock, who had pitched well before an injury ended his season, was a good idea.
As often happens, there’s a good explanation for the Hancock non-tender:
Former #Cubs RHP Justin Hancock signing with Nippon Ham-Fighters in Japan. One-year deal with club option for a second year, source tells The Athletic.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) December 5, 2018
It seems to me that this deal was likely in the works when the non-tender happened, and the Cubs did that simply to smooth the way for Hancock’s signing with the Fighters (we only wish they were actually “Ham Fighters”).
Hancock is 28, and posted a 1.46 ERA and 1.135 ERA in 10 appearances for the Cubs covering 12⅓ innings. He flashed speed up to 98 miles per hour at times. Seems to me that if he pitches well in Japan, he might get himself a deal to come back to MLB after a year, or two if the Fighters decide to exercise that option.
Best of luck for success in NPB, Justin.