Cubs Ink Jensen Lewis to Minor League Contract

According to Baseball America, the Cubs signed right-handed pitcher Jensen Lewis to a minor league contract. The 28-year old, former third round pick of the Indians, spent last season at Triple-A Reno in the Diamondbacks organization. Lewis posted a 7-2 record in 52 games with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

The Indians selected Jensen Lewis in the third round of the 2005 draft out of Vanderbilt. Lewis last pitched in the big leagues in 2010 (4-2 in 37 games, all out of the pen, with a 2.97 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP).  The Indians released Lewis in June of 2011 and he signed a minor league contract with Arizona last November.

Jensen Lewis’ Page on Baseball-Reference

The Cubs’ new minor league pitching coordinator, Derek Johnson, was Jensen Lewis’ pitching coach at Vanderbilt.

Lewis’ deal figures to include a non-roster invite to big league camp. Jensen joins Blake Parker (RHP), J.C. Boscan (C), Edwin Maysonet (INF/OF), Brian Bogusevic (OF), Alberto Gonzalez (IF) and Johermyn Chavez (OF) as players that have received non-roster invitations to Spring Trainingpitchers and catchers report on February 10.

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  • paulcatanese

    I would imagine Derek Johnson had a little influence, with the signing of Lewis, knowing him from Vanderbilt.
    That could have helped, working with him for four years.
    By the way Neil, like the new format.

  • roland

    A little strange in that this guy walks a ton of batters. Something the new regime frowns upon greatly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.canavan.14 Jim Canavan

    I know this is a low risk signing but don’t we have a enough of these guys?

    • Aaron

      No, you can never have enough arms for the pen…as long as they’re NRI’s, which this was. If someone gets hurt in Spring Training, or you make a trade, you’re left scrambling for scraps like Berken, Lopez, etc. at the last minute, and that is never the right way to go.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jim.canavan.14 Jim Canavan

        I would rather hear that they signed Liriano or Jackson than this. I hear you about ST but this guy is on par with the Berken and Lopez types.

        • Aaron

          Of course, I would too…but you have to understand he’s not a starter, he’s a reliever.

          The problem with all these higher priced FA starters (ie.-Greinke, A. Sanchez, Jackson, etc) is that the Cubs not only have to outbid other teams, but they have to sell them on being a winner in a few years….OR, they could sell them on a short-term deal with a promise to ship them to a contender if they’re out of contention . That’s an incredibly difficult sell to anyone. Nobody wants to play for a loser (unless their names are ARAM, Lee, Soriano, etc., who all turned down trades near the deadline to contenders, but I digress). SO they either have to overpay considerably, which clearly isn’t in the cards, or give guys coming off injury/ineffectiveness to have a “pillow” contract.

          Baker and Feldman certainly fit that description. Liriano, McCarthy (who has already signed), Pelfrey (also since signed), Braden, Chris Young, etc. are other examples of buy low types. (well…somewhat, buy low given the going rates)

          I would have loved to have a rotation like this:

          Garza

          Samardzija

          A. Sanchez

          E. Jackson

          Liriano

          However….you still have a pathetic lineup that will likely look like this:

          DeJesus-CF
          Castro-SS
          Rizzo-1B
          Soriano-LF
          Stewart/Valbuena-3B
          Barney-2B
          Schierholtz-RF
          Castillo-C

          Barney, Schierholtz, Stewart, and DeJesus are essentially black holes offensively.

          The FA starting pitchers likely saw that, and that’s why they haven’t signed any above average starters thus far.

          This team is primed to contend in 2014 or 2015 at the earliest, what the hell is the incentive for a decent starter to sign with them now?!? Now, if they were offering a 5 year deal (which they did to Sanchez), then it might make sense, but in this FA class fits that description? Moreover, who would even sign for a 1-2 year deal? I already answered this above, but it’s extremely limited.

          In 2014 or 2015, the Cubs might have a dramatically different roster that could include the likes of: Castillo, Rizzo, Lake, Castro, Baez, Jackson, Almora, and Soler.

          It might be wise for them to start spending next offseason on starters like Lincecum, Josh Johnson (if he doesn’t sign an extension before then), etc. Who knows?

  • coolpdxcubsfan

    Meh, another bum on a crap team.

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  • jtrain23

    I suppose this isn’t too bad of a deal. Lewis sounds like a low risk kind of guy that will either be an affordable upgrade to our bullpen or a cheap out if he doesn’t produce.