Cubs add depth to 'pen with Chafin, Osich

September 1st, 2020

CHICAGO -- In a division that features the likes of Christian Yelich, Joey Votto and other skilled left-handed hitters, the Cubs have been taking a risk by fielding a bullpen with only one left-handed reliever. Chicago addressed that situation prior to Monday's Trade Deadline.

Before the clock struck 3 p.m. CT, the Cubs reeled in left-handers (via the Red Sox) and (via the D-backs) in separate trades. The North Siders landed Osich for a player to be named or cash considerations, and acquired Chafin and cash for a PTBN or cash considerations.

Cubs get:
LHP Andrew Chafin and cash considerations
D-backs get: PTBN or cash considerations

Cubs get: LHP Josh Osich
Red Sox get: PTBN or cash

The Cubs also landed outfielder Cameron Maybin (for shortstop prospect Zack Short) in a trade with the Tigers on Monday, following a deal for José Martínez with the Rays on Sunday.

"Left-handed relief and right-handed hitters that can hit left-handed pitching," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said, "those were two of the main goals that we had for the Deadline."

Utility man Hernán Pérez and outfielder Ian Miller were designated for assignment to clear room on the Cubs' 40-man roster. Hoyer also noted that outfielder Albert Almora Jr. would be optioned to the South Bend (Ind.) alternate training site. Another transaction will need to be made prior to Tuesday's game in Pittsburgh.

The 31-year Osich is under contractual control through 2022. In 13 outings this season, Osich has a 5.74 ERA with 20 strikeouts against five walks in 15 2/3 innings. Five of the 10 earned runs he allowed came in one outing on Aug. 21 against the Orioles. The lefty held lefty batters to a .231 average (.747 OPS) in '20, with a .211 average (.665 OPS) showing in his MLB career.

Osich would project to immediately give the Cubs a second lefty in the bullpen, alongside Kyle Ryan. Chicago's bullpen has allowed a .198/.331/.401 slash line this season but has only had 35 left-on-left battles involving its relievers. The lefty arms used in relief by the Cubs so far this year have pitched to a .241/.371/.828 slash line against left-handed batters.

"Osich, he's thrown well," Hoyer said. "He's had a couple bad outings, but his cutter's been really effective this year with lefties. I think he's certainly a guy that's transformed himself over the last few years."

Chafin, 30, is on the 10-day injured list with a sprained finger on his left hand, and he might still be a couple weeks away from being ready to join Chicago's bullpen. In 11 appearances this season, the lefty has an 8.10 ERA with 10 strikeouts and four walks in 6 2/3 innings.

In 2019, Chafin had a 3.76 ERA with 68 strikeouts and 18 walks in 77 appearances (52 2/3 innings). He has held lefties to a .230 average and .616 OPS during his big league career, spent entirely with Arizona.

The Cubs will only have to send a player to complete the trade with the D-backs if Chafin makes a postseason roster for Chicago. Hoyer noted that the lefty has been cleared to throw and the Cubs will be mapping out a throwing/rehab plan for Chafin soon.

"He's been an excellent lefty reliever," Hoyer said. "He takes the ball a lot and he's aggressive. He's got good stuff and his track record over the last four or five years is outstanding. He was a guy certainly we had targeted prior to the injury, and we just kind of stayed with it once he was hurt and found out that he'd be back this year."