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Cubs take reliever Megill in Rule 5 Draft

@MLBastian
December 16, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- There will be openings in the Cubs' bullpen this spring, so the team has maintained an open mind this offseason about building an inventory of candidates. The hope will be that some of the arms in camp emerge as real options for the Major League relief corps.

SAN DIEGO -- There will be openings in the Cubs' bullpen this spring, so the team has maintained an open mind this offseason about building an inventory of candidates. The hope will be that some of the arms in camp emerge as real options for the Major League relief corps.

That came into play on Thursday, when the Cubs concluded the Winter Meetings with the selection of right-hander Trevor Megill from the Padres in the MLB phase of the Rule 5 Draft. Over the past year, Chicago had success with two other relievers acquired from San Diego -- setup man Rowan Wick and lefty Brad Wieck -- and Megill has been in the team's sights as well.

"Megill's a guy we tried to trade for actually prior to the Rule 5," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "He's a guy we've liked and have had good reports on. He's a big, physical right-hand reliever that had a good year last year in Triple-A. So we've had some experience with him, and we're excited he was there."

The 26-year-old Megill posted a 3.86 ERA with 87 strikeouts against 22 walks in 60 2/3 innings (39 appearances) in 2019 across three levels in San Diego's system, topping out at Triple-A. In his Minor League career, the 6-foot-8 righty has turned in a 3.38 ERA with 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 102 games.

Megill was originally a third-round Draft pick in 2014 by the Cardinals, who had new Cubs vice president of scouting Dan Kantrovitz leading the Draft at the time. Megill did not sign that summer, and he was then taken in the seventh round of the '15 Draft by San Diego. While Megill was not among MLB Pipeline's Top 30 Prospects for the Padres' deep system, he is expected to crack the Cubs' list.

The addition of Megill bumps the Cubs' 40-man roster to 38 players at the moment. The acquisition cost was $100,000 for Chicago, and Megill must remain on the 26-man roster for the entire season or be offered back to the Padres for $50,000.

As things currently stand, closer Craig Kimbrel, lefty Kyle Ryan and Wick are the only virtual locks for the Cubs' bullpen. Righty Tyler Chatwood will be in the 'pen as well, if he does not fit into the rotation picture. Wieck is a front-runner for another spot, with internal options like Dillon Maples, Alec Mills, James Norwood and Duane Underwood Jr., among others, also in the hunt for jobs.

This offseason, the Cubs have also added Jharel Cotton, Dan Winkler and CD Pelham to the mix. Along with Megill, they give the North Siders a handful of low-risk, high-reward possibilities while the Cubs also explore the free-agent and trade markets for additional bullpen help.

"There's times you can't do it," Hoyer said of making a Rule 5 Draft selection. "You don't have room on the roster sometimes and you can't fit it in. But in the years you do have that space on the roster, it's a nice thing to be able to do. Obviously, there's challenges that come with it, but Megill's a guy we're excited about and excited to see him in Spring Training."

OTHER RULE 5 MOVES
The Cubs lost right-hander Michael Rucker (Orioles) and utility man Vimael Machin (Phillies, traded to A's) in the Major League portion of the annual Draft. In the Triple-A phase, Chicago grabbed righty Brock Stewart from the Blue Jays, outfielder Jerrick Suiter from the Pirates and outfielder Vance Vizcaino from the Rockies. Those three players are now part of the Cubs' system without the potential requirement of offering them back to their former franchises.

Jordan Bastian covers the Cubs for MLB.com. He previously covered the Indians from 2011-18 and the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.