The Cubs' bullpen additions this winter have all been of the low-key variety, with the club signing right-handers Dan Winkler and Ryan Tepera to split deals. That trend continued Tuesday with the reported signing of Jason Adam to a minor-league deal.
According to MLB insider Robert Murray, Adam's deal is worth $700K and can max out at $1.2 million. It includes a non-roster invite to spring training, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
It's a minor-league deal between Adam and Cubs worth $700K that can max out at $1.2 million. Has a real chance to make Opening Day roster. https://t.co/iNiyurBMdp— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) January 15, 2020
Can confirm that the Cubs have signed reliever Jason Adam to a Minor League deal with non-roster invite. Wrote about him as a possible target after he was non-tendered in early December. @ByRobertMurray on it 1st. pic.twitter.com/yea5FQJz50— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) January 15, 2020
Adam, 28, made his MLB debut with the Royals in 2018 and pitched for the Blue Jays last season. The righty posted a 2.91 ERA in 23 big-league outings with Toronto, holding a 19.8 percent strikeout rate. However, he struggled with his command, walking 10 batters in 21 2/3 innings (11 percent walk rate).
In 147 career minor-league appearances (94 starts), Adam holds a career 4.21 ERA, including a 2.08 figure in 14 outings last season. The Blue Jays non-tendered him in December.
The Cubs bullpen will look at lot different in 2020. Steve Cishek recently signed with the White Sox, and Brandon Kintzler and Pedro Strop remain free agents. As of now, the only locks for the Opening Day group are Craig Kimbrel, Rowan Wick, Kyle Ryan and likely Brad Wieck, too.
Adam, therefore, has a real shot to make the bullpen out of camp. His four-seam fastball velocity averaged 94.4 mph in 2019 and its spin rate ranked in the elite 98th percentile. If he can command that pitch (12.3 percent walk rate last season), Adam will add another strikeout pitcher to the Cubs bullpen.
It may not be the big splash fans are hoping for, but Adam has the potential to be a solid low-cost addition for the Cubs.