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Cubs acquire Josh Roberson from Rays for Adrian Sampson and Manuel Rodriguez

This is a minor deal.

Josh Roberson pitches for the Rays in Spring Training 2023
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The Cubs have made a minor trade this morning:

Josh Roberson is a 27-year-old righthander who was the Marlins’ 12th round pick out of UNC-Wilmington in 2017. He was acquired by the Rays in 2022 as the player to be named later in the Louis Head trade.

Roberson has been pitching at Triple-A Durham this year and has posted a 4.50 ERA and 1.667 WHIP in 31 relief appearances, with 43 strikeouts and 22 walks in 36 innings. Clearly, he can throw hard but doesn’t always know where the ball will wind up. He’s allowed just one home run this year, though, so maybe the Cubs’ Pitch Lab can help.

Adrian Sampson threw well for the Cubs last year, then got hurt and just recently returned. He’s pitched in nine games in the Cubs system this year and the results were not good: 9.32 ERA, 1.857 WHIP, six home runs in 28 innings. I wish him well.

Manuel Rodriguez always had promise in the Cubs system, but never fulfilled it. In 35 games at Triple-A Iowa this year he has posted a 4.42 ERA and 1.500 WHIP, with 56 strikeouts and 18 walks in 38⅔ innings. At 26, there’s still a chance for him to become a decent MLB reliever.

Roberson likely reports to Iowa.

From Ian Malinowski of our SB Nation Rays site DRays Bay:

Rays picked Roberson up in a minor deal last year. I had never looked at either before, but he actually has very similar stuff to Manny Rodriguez — fast but too-straight fastball, excellent gyro slider, apparent lack of control.

They’re close on age, too, but if they were ever able to get a bit of control the sliders would play.


Josh Roberson for Adrian Sampson and Manuel Rodriguez...

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