Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Rick Renteria met with the media on Thursday from Cubs Park and announced the signings of right handed pitchers Jason Hammel and James McDonald.
The Cubs signed Hammel to a one-year contract for $6 million that includes an incentives package for another $1 million. McDonald signed a Major League contract with a base salary of $1 million for 2014 if he makes the club out of Spring Training. McDonald’s deal is not guaranteed, the same as any arbitration eligible player and includes an incentives package. If he sticks with the team, McDonald is under club control through the 2015 season.
The Cubs signed McDonald for rotation depth and said Thursday he is healthy and ready to compete this spring.
Jake Arrieta experienced tightness in his shoulder this winter and the Cubs have “slowed him down.” A timetable was not given on when he will be able to pitch in games and he “will be late throwing bullpens in camp” according to Jed Hoyer. Jake Arrieta has resumed throwing and is feeling good but he is not expected to start the regular season on time.
Not only did the Cubs add James McDonald for pitching depth, but Carlos Villanueva, as previously reported, will be stretched out as a starter this spring.
The Cubs have moved Justin Grimm to the bullpen. He will not be used as a starter in Spring Training. Grimm was the first name mentioned by Rick Renteria when he discussed the depth the Cubs now have in the pen. Renteria also mentioned Pedro Strop, James Russell and Wesley Wright. Renteria reiterated what he said at the convention that Jose Veras will begin the year as the Cubs’ closer. The other roles in the pen will be determined throughout the spring.
Arodys Vizcaino is healthy and ready to pitch. The Cubs plan on taking it slow with him to make sure he is ready since he has not pitched in two years. Vizcaino will solely be used out of the bullpen. Kyuji Fujikawa is throwing on flat ground from 120 feet and could throw off a mound soon. The Cubs are hoping he is ready to pitch in June.
With the additions of Jason Hammel and James McDonald, the Cubs 40-man roster stands at 40 players.