The Cubs headed into Tuesday with only one vacancy on their roster. By the end of the day, the team had found a way to add three arms to the fold, including homegrown pitching prospect Justin Steele.Prior to Tuesday's deadline for setting the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5
The Cubs headed into Tuesday with only one vacancy on their roster. By the end of the day, the team had found a way to add three arms to the fold, including homegrown pitching prospect Justin Steele.
Prior to Tuesday's deadline for setting the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 Draft, Chicago selected Steele's contract from Double-A Tennessee, swung a trade with the Padres to acquire righty Rowan Wick and claimed lefty Ian Clarkin off waivers from the White Sox. With the help of some other transactions, the Cubs' roster still consists of 39 players.
The Rangers claimed infielder Jack Reinheimer off waivers from the Cubs, who also outrighted outfielder Johnny Field and lefty Jerry Vasto to Triple-A Iowa after both players cleared waivers. In order to land Wick, Chicago dealt infield prospect Jason Vosler to San Diego.
Vosler, who was ranked 28th among the Cubs' Top 30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline, was eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, which is scheduled to take place on Dec. 13 on the final day of the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. Players who signed with their current club at age 18 or younger and have played professionally for at least five years are eligible to be selected, as are those who signed at 19 or older and have at least four years of professional experience.
Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.
Steele -- the Cubs' No. 8-ranked prospect, per MLB Pipeline -- was a fifth-round pick by the Cubs in the 2014 MLB Draft. The left-hander is 15 months removed from Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow, but he made a promising return to the mound this past season. After returning to game action in July, Steele posted a 2.31 ERA with 53 strikeouts and 13 walks in 46 2/3 innings (11 starts) across three affiliates.
The 23-year-old Steele reached Double-A by late August and later logged six starts for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League. Over 18 2/3 innings in the AFL, Steele had a 5.79 ERA with 16 strikeouts and 11 walks.
The 26-year-old Wick posted a 6.48 ERA in 10 games with San Diego last season, but spent the bulk of the year between Double-A and Triple-A. In 49 Minor League games last season, Wick fashioned a 2.67 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 31 walks in 54 innings. The right-hander averaged 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings, sitting around 94-95 mph with his four-seam fastball, which was balanced with a slider and curveball.
Clarkin, 23, has posted a 3.55 ERA in 81 career Minor League games since being selected by the Yankees with the 33rd overall pick in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft (one slot after Yankees star Aaron Judge). Clarkin was traded by New York to the White Sox in July 2017 as part of the blockbuster, seven-player swap that sent Player Page for David Robertson, Todd Frazier and Tommy Kahnle to the Bronx.
This past season, Clarkin turned in a 4.76 ERA in 25 appearances (12 starts) between three affiliates, topping out at Double-A Birmingham. In 85 innings, the left-hander had 50 strikeouts compared to 37 walks. Clarkin had a 6.29 ERA in his first 48 2/3 innings, but then missed time due to a groin issue. Following his return in July, the lefty had a 2.72 ERA in 36 1/3 innings over the remainder of his season.
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, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.