Cubs officially sign Tsuyoshi Wada to minor league deal, invite him and 3 others to Spring Training

In a move that should have surprised nobody, the Cubs have officially signed former NPB star pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada.  It had been rumored for awhile.

The Cubs also signed OF Mitch Maier and announced the signings of two other LHPs that have been previously reported here —  Jonathan Sanchez and Tommy Hottovy.  We talked about Sanchez more in depth here, comparing his increase in velo and transition to the bullpen to Oliver Perez.

Wada will be given an opportunity as a starter though his stuff is fringy even in comparison to most 5th starters.  He works in the mid to upper 80s with his fastball, relying more on deception, movement, and changing speeds than velocity.  His secondaries (slider, change) are average at best while his command is solid, though I don’t know if it’s quite good enough considering he is unable to cover mistakes with his pure stuff.

I would have considered him in relief where I think his deception would be more effective with limited exposure.

Sanchez and Hottovy are headed for the bullpen this spring.

As for Maier, he’s a 31 year old lefty hitter with good plate discipline but little power.  His career numbers are .248/.327/.344 with 10 HRs and 15 SBs in 360 games and 1117 PAs.

He’s likely an OF depth option that the Cubs can call up from Iowa, but may well be thrown into the mix competing for what will likely be the 5th OF’er position on the roster.   He can play all 3 positions in the outfield though he is about average defensively.

Like many of the Cubs OF acquisitions before him (Aaron Cunningham, Casper Wells, Justin Ruggiano, Ryan Kalish), Maier is a good athlete with a solid approach.

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  • Another set of low risk, moderate reward signings. Keeping on keeping on.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Agree, we might get lucky and find a useful player

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    This kid never seems to catch a break lately.

  • Well, FWIW both Wells and Maier have pitched mop-up relief at the MLB level. Let's hope we don't need them in that role during 2014!

    Also hoping that Sanchez has a better attitude with the Cubs than he did with KC. He wasn't exactly a high-character guy while pitching here.

  • In reply to kansasblackhawk:

    Hopefully a couple of lousy years and having to sign a minor league deal has given him some perspective.

  • It is now 8 am - Friday morning in Japan

    I believe we will have resolution to the whole Misahiro Tanaka will he/won't he posting question by Midnight tonight (central time) which would be 3pm in Japan on Friday as the meeting between Rakuten & Tanaka should be over - They will either let him go or they wont.

    At this point, who really knows though, maybe they need to meet 3 or 4 more times before they decide what they should do.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Everyone is so eager to report the final resolution to this Tanaka situation they keep jumping the gun. ESPN is all over the New York Times speculation. Just like they were all over that blog post that he was getting posted. How will we know for sure the final decision? Is it an official release from the team?

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    Probably a press conference. Hopefully by late tonight.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    Until the president or team spokesman for Rakuten comes out and says definitively whether they will post him or not it's all just speculation.

  • I know every team signs their fair share of these fringe type guys, but is it just me that seems this year the Cubs have signed more of them than usual?

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    It does seem like a lot. Part of it is we've probably already forgotten many of the guys who they ran out there last spring. Lots of opportunities with the Cubs and the FO wants to try to get as many as they can, but I'm assuming only the players who show the potential to play a role will stick.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Brent Lillibridge?

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    Oh yeah...Alberto Gonzalez, JC Boscan, Zach Putnam, Hisanori Takahashi, Dayan Diaz, Corey Wade, Jensen Lewis, Andrew Carpenter, Edwin Maysonet, Joehrmyn Chavez, and that veteran lefty whose name escapes me right now...or was he the year before? It all runs together.

    Doing the same thing as last year. Maybe the difference is that this year the Cubs didn't sign 4 SPs (EJax, Feldman, Baker, Villanueva) maybe the focus is greater on these guys this year.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Speaking of Mr. Chavez, it would appear "Johermyn Chavez, high leverage reliever" did not go so well:

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    As one example.

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    Is it really official that Tanaka will not be posted??

  • In reply to William Ray:

    I don't know, but his arms look too short to be an effective pitcher in this picture:

  • Meh! more cannon fodder

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