The Cubs made an announcement Friday that a new reliever was joining the club.
Shae Simmons was signed to a split contract, which places him on the 40-man roster, and here’s what he’ll make depending on whether he makes the team or not:
Shae Simmons has a split contract with #Cubs: $750,000 in the big leagues and $120,000 in the minors— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 14, 2018
Simmons was the Braves’ 22nd-round selection in 2012, and two years later he was pitching in the Atlanta bullpen, and he had a pretty good year: 2.91 ERA, 1.200 WHIP in 29 appearances, producing 0.3 bWAR.
Then he had Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2015 season. When he returned, he made a handful of appearances in 2016 for the Braves and then was traded to the Mariners before the 2017 season, for whom he made nine appearances. The 7.04 ERA in 2017 looks pretty bad, but most of that was four runs allowed on the last day of the season; the other eight outings produced a 2.57 ERA and 0.714 WHIP with a .136 opponents BA and eight strikeouts in seven innings.
Small sample sizes here, obviously, but Simmons consistently throws in the mid to high 90s and now, more than two years removed from TJS, might be a candidate to take the last spot in the bullpen, perhaps as insurance against a poor spring from Justin Grimm. It’s a low-risk, high-reward signing.
The placement of Drew Smyly on the 60-day disabled list to make room for Simmons on the 40-man roster was the obvious move. Smyly is recovering from TJS himself and isn’t likely to pitch in a big-league game until at least August.
This does, however, beg the question of who’ll be moved off the 40-man if, as expected, Chris Gimenez wins the job as backup to Willson Contreras. There don’t seem to be any obvious candidates for removal from the current 40-man roster, although (for example) if Eddie Butler doesn’t make the 25-man roster (likely), he’d have to clear waivers as he’s out of options.
As always, we await developments.
This poll is closed