The Cubs will have yet another pitcher in camp vying, most likely, for a spot on the Iowa Shuttle:
Chicago Cubs and reliever George Kontos in agreement on minor league deal. Kontos went to Driveline a Metrics / data driven pitching rehab destination . Kontos picked up 3 MPH while working there .— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) January 26, 2019
You’ll note the Driveline reference there — same place Luke Hagerty did some throwing, as well as former big-league pitchers Tyler Matzek and Joe Beimel, among others. Driveline has had some success in helping pitchers out, hopefully this will work for George Kontos as well.
Kontos is a Chicago-area native who attended Niles West High School (where, incidentally, a friend of mine, a fellow bleacher season-ticket holder, was one of his gym teachers) and Northwestern. Over eight seasons in the major leagues he has posted a 3.10 ERA and 1.154 WHIP over 350 appearances, mostly with the Giants, though since 2017 he has also pitched for the Pirates, Indians and Yankees. His 2018 numbers weren’t great and he spent some time in the minor leagues. Overall, though, he has a good groundball rate and, apart from 2018, rarely walked hitters (2.6 per nine inning career walk rate through 2017).
Kontos isn’t likely to crack the Cubs’ Opening Day bullpen, especially with the recent signing of Brad Brach, but he could wind up at Triple-A Iowa and perhaps help out in case of injury. A good, low-risk, possibly high-reward signing.