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Cubs add left-handed relief pitcher Xavier Cedeño

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The Cubs wanted some help in the bullpen and hope they’ve found it with Cedeño.

= Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs have reportedly signed left-handed reliever Xavier Cedeño on a one-year, $900,000 deal. The deal is reportedly non-guaranteed.

Cedeño, 32, signed last off-season with the White Sox after having been released by the Rays, where he had toiled the previous three years. Cedeño pitched 33 games for the White Sox and was 2-0 with one save and a 2.84 ERA. He struck out 28 batters and walked 13 over 25.1 innings with the South Side. He went to Milwaukee for two minor leaguers in a waiver deal on August 31, just before the deadline for postseason rosters. Cedeño pitched 8 innings over 15 games with the Brewers. He allowed only one run and seven hits in that time. He faced the Cubs in game 163 and gave up a single to Daniel Murphy and he walked Ben Zobrist in the sixth inning before exiting.

Cedeño was on the postseason roster for the Brewers in both of their playoff series, although he only saw time against the Dodgers. He pitched in four games as a left-handed specialist. The Brewers declined to offer him a contract after the season, making him a free agent.

Cedeño had missed most of the 2017 season with forearm soreness for which he treated with rest and platelet-rich plasma injections and not surgery. His best pitch is his cut fastball, which is only around 86-87 mph but he manages to get a large number of ground balls from opposing hitters. He was very good against left-handed hitters last season, holding them to a .207/.281/.293 line. He actually faced more right-handed hitters last season than lefties, so he’s not exclusively a left-handed specialist. However, historically he has been much better against left-handed hitters than ones from the right side.

James Fagen wrote a nice piece on Cedeño when he was still with the White Sox. (The Athletic sub. req.) In the piece, it talks about his efforts to come back from the forearm injury as well as his contributions to hurricane relief efforts for his hometown in Puerto Rico.

While the deal is non-guaranteed, the Cubs have been looking for left-handed help in the bullpen all winter. Assuming Cedeño looks as good in Spring Training as he did for the White Sox and Brewers last year, it’s a safe bet that he’ll be going north at the end of March.


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