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2023 Cubs player profiles: José Cuas

The reliever with the funky sidearm delivery has a murky future with the Cubs. Great story though.

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Dominican-born José Cuas, as many know, went from Fed-X delivery driver to major-league relief pitcher.

He throws hard enough (92-94 mph), but he hasn’t met with a great deal of success due to his spotty control. The Cubs acquired Cuas from the Kansas City Royals for Nelson Velasquez, who really wasn’t going to have a place to play at the major-league level in the Cubs’ organization.

Cuas was originally drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 11th round of the 2015 MLB June Amateur Draft from University of Maryland (College Park, MD). He got to A ball in 2018, spent the year with the Brewers, and then was moved to the Diamondbacks’ organization. He spent 2019 there, was out of the game in 2020, and then found his way to the Royals, pitching his way to the major-league club in 2022, and riding the shuttle for the next two years until the trade with the Cubs.

He’s been up-and-down as a member of the Cubs’ relief corps, gaining a place in David Ross’ circle of trust for a minute, but his erratic results don’t indicate a lengthy stay, despite his 2.91 ERA (as of 9/12). He’s 3-1 overall in 2023, with a 4.09 ERA, 64 SO in 57.2 innings, and a not-impressive 1.561 WHIP.

At 29 years of age, he’s on the MLB minimum contract ($726,000), isn’t eligible for arbitration until 2026, and would have to suddenly develop control and command to be considered for another MLB deal.

I don’t see it. Maybe the Cubs will extend an NRI to Spring Training but anything more expensive is unlikely. His great story isn’t helping him get anybody out and his slider has trouble finding the zone, which means he has to aim his sinker and four-seamer and they invite barreling under such conditions. On the plus side, he has yet to give up a home run as a Cub. But he only has 16 innings under his belt, and gave up six in 41⅔ innings as a Royal.

This is his ceiling. Odds are that he’ll be on another team next year.