According to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Cubs signed outfielder Casper Wells to a minor league contract. Wells’ deal should include a non-roster invite to Spring Training so he can compete with Aaron Cunningham for a spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster
The Cubs cut ties with outfielder Dave Sappelt, which should not come as a surprise. Sappelt was acquired along with Travis Wood and IF Ronald Torreyes from the Reds for Sean Marshall in December of 2011. Sappelt was not able to get his career on track in the Cubs’ organization. Sappelt voiced his displeasure with playing in the Pacific Coast League and the writing was on the wall that the Cubs would move on from Sappelt when he was designated for assignment on Sept. 3 then outrighted to Triple-A Iowa. Sappelt hit .257/.310/.361 with nine doubles and two home runs in 57 games over parts of two seasons with the Cubs.
The Cubs also signed right handed pitchers Paolo Espino and Carlos Pimentel and shortstop Jeudy Valdez to minor league contracts … and the Cubs have acknowledged the signing of infielder Chris Valaika.
Casper Wells spent the 2013 season in Oakland, the South Side of Chicago and Philadelphia. The 29-year old veteran outfielder hit only .155/.211/.169 with one double in 41 games for the three teams. Wells owns a career slash line of .248/.329/.450 in 143 games, 357 plate appearances, against southpaws during his big league career.
The Indians selected Paolo Espino in the tenth round of the 2006 draft out of Pendleton High School in Bradenton, FL. Espino has been used as a starter and a reliever during his seven-year minor league career. Espino was 6-11 in 32 games, 21 starts, at the Double-A and Triple-A levels last season with a 4.72 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP.
Carlos Pimentel has spent the last seven seasons in the Rangers’ system but does not turn 24 years old until Dec. 1. Pimentel has been used as a starter and a reliever and posted a 8-7 record in 22 games, 21 starts, for Double-A Frisco last season with a 4.09 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. Pimentel made six appearances out of Round Rock’s pen at the Triple-A level and finished three of those games (1.59 ERA, 1.32 WHIP). Pimentel posted better than a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio for the first time last year and could be on the verge of figuring things out.
Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod are very familiar with Jeudy Valdez from the time they spent in San Diego. Valdez has been in the Padres’ system for the last eight seasons but is only 24 years old. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound shortstop has not played above the Double-A level and his .251/.300/.406 in 125 games for San Antonio in 2013 with 29 doubles, five triples and 10 home runs. Valdez has played short, second and third base during his pro career with a majority of the time spent at shortstop.
The Cubs have signed the following players to minor league contracts this winter:
- OF Aaron Cunningham
- SS Walter Ibarra
- C Eli Whiteside
- IF Chris Valaika
- OF Casper Wells
- C Daniel Canela
- RHP Alan Oaks
- RHP Paolo Espino
- RHP Carlos Pimentel
- IF Jeudy Valdez