Cubs’ Sean Newcomb ‘pumped’ for new opportunity in Chicago

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Newcomb ‘pumped’ for new opportunity with Cubs originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

It’s easy to see why Sean Newcomb described his week as “kind of crazy.”

Monday, the then-Braves pitcher made a relief appearance in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.

That turned out to be his final outing with Atlanta. They designated him for assignment Tuesday and traded him to the Cubs a day later for veteran Jesse Chavez.

Friday, the lefty was standing at his locker in the Cubs clubhouse, meeting the media for the first time with his new team.

“I was pretty pumped,” said Newcomb of the Wednesday phone call from Cubs president Jed Hoyer after the trade. “I didn’t really expect there to be a trade, especially coming to a great organization like this.”

An organization that offers Newcomb a fresh start and chance to recapture his early-career success.

“There’s a lot of cases where guys switch up teams and have success,” Newcomb said. “I've definitely seen it happen and am looking forward to working with [the Cubs].”

Newcomb started his big-league career off strong. He made 30 starts in 2018 and finished with a 3.90 ERA. A year later, he posted a 3.16 ERA across 55 appearances, 51 of which were in relief.

He’s struggled in recent seasons while dealing with command issues. Newcomb holds a career walk rate of 4.8 per nine innings, including 7.5 last season. 
    
Newcomb said he wasn’t pitching as much as he wanted to with the Braves, noting their bullpen was full of talented arms.

There’s real opportunity for him to get innings with the Cubs, and between his pedigree and past success — Newcomb was the No. 15 overall pick in 2014 and a former top-25 prospect — he’s a low-risk, high-upside addition that could benefit from the change of scenery.

“That’s not a myth,” Cubs manager David Ross said this week of the change-of-scenery concept. “Different messaging, different energy. Guys just like a fresh start, especially if you’ve had some struggles.

“That doesn’t always translate to success, but just clearing out and getting a new start with a new group, a fresh set of eyes.

“I think just being able to hear a different voice, to have different perspectives, talk through problems and get a fresh start doesn’t ever hurt anybody that’s had some struggles.”

Seeing familiar faces could help Newcomb's transition. He was teammates with Chris Martin and Drew Smyly in Atlanta last season and came up in the Angels farm system with Michael Hermosillo.

Newcomb is looking forward to getting started.

“Coming here is definitely a completely fresh start,” he said. “I’m excited about it.”

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