Cubs Sign RHP James McDonald to a Minor League Contract

According to a report from Bruce Levine, the Cubs signed RHP James McDonald to a minor league contract. McDonald will receive a non-roster invite to Spring Training once he passes a physical and the deal becomes official.

James McDonald has been with the Pirates since 2010 when Pittsburgh acquired him from the Dodgers for Octavio Dotel. McDonald appeared to be on his way to putting it all together in 2012 when he jumped out to a 9-3 record in his first 17 starts with a 2.37 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. McDonald struggled after the break and managed a 3-5 record in his last 13 appearances, 12 starts, with a 7.52 ERA and a 1.79 WHIP. McDonald finished his 2012 season with a 12-8 record in 30 games, 29 starts, with a 4.21 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. In 171 innings, McDonald allowed 147 hits with 69 walks and 151 strikeouts.

The 29-year old right hander battled shoulder issues last season and made only six starts for the Pirates and 10 appearances in the minor leagues. McDonald was 2-2 for the Pirates with a 5.76 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP.

If James McDonald is healthy, he could either help the Cubs with rotation depth or in the bullpen.

Once the Cubs officially add James McDonald and Chang-Yong Lim to the list of non-roster invitees, the Cubs will have a total of 26 non-roster players in big league camp. The Cubs signed Lars Anderson to a minor league contract as well, but his deal does not appear to include a NRI.

Cubs Non-Roster Invitees for 2014 Spring Training


  • RHP Marcus Hatley
  • RHP Kyle Hendricks
  • LHP Tommy Hottovy
  • LHP Eric Jokisch
  • RHP Carlos Pimentel
  • RHP Armando Rivero
  • LHP Jonathan Sanchez
  • RHP Brian Schlitter
  • LHP Tsuyoshi Wada


  • John Baker
  • Rafael Lopez
  • Eli Whiteside


  • Javier Baez
  • Kris Bryant
  • Ryan Roberts
  • Chris Valaika
  • Jeudy Valdez


  • Albert Almora
  • Chris Coghlan
  • Aaron Cunningham
  • Ryan Kalish
  • Mitch Maier
  • Darnell McDonald
  • Casper Wells

Will update list of NRI’s if there are any additions or subtractions.

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  • CubbyDenCritic

    I believe there will be 26 coaches / instructors at Cubs spring training…..for the 66 plus Cubs players.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    I wonder if Theo is giving notice that poor pitching will not be accepted to start the season….. …..if Shark starts out poorly, will Theo send Shark to the bullpen?…..Cubs did that with Zambrano and his trade value went down………..Sporting News is saying 2014 will be Anthony Rizzo “Coming Out” year…………What if Hammel wins more games then Tanaka?….or Gaza?………oh that won’t happen.

    • RynoTiger

      never know what will happen till the games are played. for all you know, Garza gets hurt in spring training and goes on the DL most of the season or Tanaka’s adjustment to MLB doesn’t go as well and his highly worked pitching arm doesn’t fare as well this season. Could Rizzo have a big year? sure he could. but we won’t know till the games are actually played. I know some posters have looked into their crystal ball and have seen how the games go and the season ends and thus I fully expect at the end of the season we’ll see a number of posters speak to the millions of dollars they’ve won from their wise bets on the games due to their crystal ball knowledge.

  • GaryLeeT

    I like the move. Signing a local religious icon will help buoy the player’s spirits in these dark times.