Cubs Agree To Sign Andy Sonnanstine

The Cubs have agreed to sign Andy Sonnanstine to a non-guaranteed split contract for the 2012 season, the team announced. The Rays non-tendered the Beverly Hills Sports Council client earlier this month rather than give him a raise his second time through arbitration.

Sonnanstine, 29 in March, has worked mostly in relief over the last two seasons, pitching to a 4.78 ERA in 116 2/3 innings. He's made 80 starts and 52 relief appearances during his five seasons with Tampa, though his career strikeout (5.7 K/9) and walk (2.3 BB/9) rates are identical in the two roles. Sonnanstine is a fly ball pitcher and is very homer prone (career 1.3 HR/9), though his ERA is a full run lower when coming out of the bullpen (5.43 vs. 4.40).

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein recently said the team's goal is to "build more depth on the starting pitching front, both in the big leagues and minor leagues," and Sonnanstine helps them accomplish that. He becomes the second pitcher the Cubbies have acquired in the last week, joining Travis Wood (acquired in the Sean Marshall trade). Chicago can retain Sonnanstine as an arbitration-eligible player in 2013.

72 Responses to Cubs Agree To Sign Andy Sonnanstine Leave a Reply

  1. diesel2410 4 years ago

    Hahaha good luck Cubs. He’s terrible. Just hope that Ben Francisco isn’t in the same league.

    • cubsfanraysaddict 4 years ago

      lol true! Andy is a weak throwing, fb pitcher, hr machine replacement level guy.  He was good for a few years, but he’s only good for ping pong action now (youtube it cubbies).

  2. $20404099 4 years ago

    He’s a decent #5. It’s better than the Cubs standing pat. Their rotation needs lots of help and if they truly are shopping Garza, then they’ll need even more. Looks like the FO & owners are serious about a full blown rebuild. It shoulda started years ago.

    • Agreed. But this also shows just how desperate the Cubs are for pitching. If they trade Garza, though, it’s conceivable that they could get 2 AAA (MLB ready) pitchers back, strengthening and not weakening their rotation.

      But yeah the farm system is barren, there is nothing there except for Jackson and so there’s no help on the way.  I didn’t realize what a mess Hendry left until this offseason.

      • Guest 4 years ago

        it’s like i said earlier…..even ok pitching is expensive as hell this year…..ask the nats and reds and i think theo will end up getting a kings ransom for garza as he would be the one with less question marks then the rest of the availible pitching…it will help bring their farm back a bit back up….

    • Khabibulan 4 years ago

      As of now, the have Garza, Demp, Zambrano (?), Cashner, Wells, Wood. That probably would put Sonnastine at #7. I think he might be more of a swingman than a starter if he makes the squad.

      • $20404099 4 years ago

        You very well could be right. I never meant to imply he’d go in to ST as the #5 guy. Just that he’d be a decent one. But as the off season goes along, there’s a better than decent chance that Garza & Zambrano won’t be there. 

      • Agreed. But I’d put the SP depth chart at something like: Garza, Demp, Z, Wells, Wood, Cashner, Coleman, Samardzija, Sonnastine. Still lots of question marks there — Will Big Z be traded? Will they try Cashner again as a starter (hope so)? Will they give Samardzija a chance to beat Wells for a rotation spot coming out of spring training? And then what happens to Wells? Anyhoo, not a contending rotation per se, but lots of depth here — kinda like the team itself right now.

  3. Hopefully he’ll regain his command.  I wish him all the best; I really liked him a few years ago in Tampa.

  4. Mo_GOAT 4 years ago

    Cubs world series 

  5. A quick check on Fangraphs says that his ERA has been hurt by an above-average HR/FB. His career xFIP is almost a full run lower than his career ERA.

  6. FamousGrouse 4 years ago

    A good low risk signing. Sonnanstine had great peripherals in the minors but was never able to make it in the AL East. Maybe a change of scenery will help him.

  7. stewie75 4 years ago

    decent signing- adds depth. better than making james russell start again if anyone goes down.

    • james russell’s career ERA  4.47, WHIP 1.337, SO/BB 3.5,  6.6 SO/9,  1.9 BB/9.   Still like Sonnanstine better? get a grip.

      • stewie75 4 years ago

        wanna quote some stats? look up james russell’s STARTING numbers, not career numbers. he’s substantially better as a reliever. do some homework. look a little deeper next time.

        • The only time Sonnanstine’s been remotely effective since – oh, about 2008 – was out of the pen. Overall in the 78 games (26 starts) over the past three seasons, he’s allowed 10.6 hits, 1.7 homers and 3.0 walks per nine innings while striking out just 5.1/9. His K:BB ratio went from 3.51 to 1.67. So yeah, I’ll still take Russell over Sonnanstine, but thanks for asking.

          • stewie75 4 years ago

            did i in fact ask? i didn’t notice the whole me asking you part. james russell’s starting resulted in an ERA of about 8, so yeah, this is still A DECENT MOVE AND BETTER THAN RUNNING JAMES RUSSELL OUT THERE TO START AGAIN.

          • Khabibulan 4 years ago

            Agreed. James Russell = poopoo

  8. nycub 4 years ago

    Whatever. I mean, I know he sucks, but Casey Coleman sucks more. I *guess* I’d rather have Sonnanstine on the mound. 

    • disgustedcubfan 4 years ago

      Somebody has to pitch. I’d also rather have Sonnanstine over Rodrigo Lopez or Danny Davis or some of the other abominations that were marched out last year.

      • danny davis? the chicago alderman? from the chicago 7? is pitching these days?  Had no idea…
        sorry, didn’t mean to be sarcastic. I think you meant Doug Davis.

        • disgustedcubfan 4 years ago

          You’re right. It was Doug Davis, but he was pitching like Danny Davis.

          • nictonjr 4 years ago

            Don’t insult Danny Davis like that. What has he ever done to you???

          • Cosmo3 4 years ago

            He’s a Chicago alderman…which by definition means he’s useless. 

      • Guest 4 years ago

        His name is Doug Davis, and lopez really didnt pitch that bad overall!

    • Eric Foster 4 years ago

      If Casey Coleman is actually in a major league ballpark, he’d better be selling cotton candy, instead of trying to take the mound. 

      • Guest 4 years ago

        Whatever, Coleman can run! He was the fastest guy on the cubs roster until Campana came up.

        • Eric Foster 4 years ago

          Haha! Yes! We’ve always needed a pinch running specialist who can provide garbage relief innings at an ERA of nearly 8!

  9. This is only good for the Cubs, if they signed him to hit, he actually swings the bat well. And let me think for a moment about a guy that gives up so many homers pitching in Wrigley.

  10. Eric Smith 4 years ago

    Wow, I am amazed how people can get so upset or excited about this signing.  It’s just a low risk, cheap contract that gets some more bodies at spring training… nothing more.

  11. Blue387 4 years ago

    What is a “non-guaranteed split contract?”

    • $20404099 4 years ago

      The split is where he gets 1 amount for being in the minors and another if he makes the big club. The non-guaranteed part is they can cut him at any time and not pay him the remainder.

  12. I think signing Sonnanstine is purely AAA depth/emergency call up signing.  There’s no way he’s in the running for #5 unless he’s like insanely effective in Spring or everyone else gets hurt.  Reading these few responses it’s amazing how little Cubs fans have learned over the decades of failure.  It’s like some of us can’t recover from the repeated brain injury that must come along with being a Cubs fan.  I think they think it’s going to be like everybody else that has been brought in here.  These guys have a real plan, real expertise.  Not saying they can’t make mistakes, but more than anyone else in my lifetime, these guys look like the real deal.  I mean for chrissakes, we had Salty Saltwell, the concessions manager at Wrigley as our GM for a time in the 1970’s.  That mentality, though since those days it has faded a bit, has to be destroyed completely.  Even our new owner struggled with the old mentality a bit.  It took him too long to jettison Hendry, but now it looks like he’s got his mind in the right place.  Manny Corpas is the same kind of signing, could turn out great, but doesn’t matter if he doesn’t.  Depth.  Maholm is the kind of #5 signing that the Cubs would hopefully make.  He’d fit well, decent lefty starter, youngish, small investment, might be worth a prosepct of two if he does ok & we’re out of contention.  Saunders I’m not so sure about, he wants more money, probably a longer deal, and he’s just as inconsistent as the cheaper lefty Maholm.  Wood could slot as the #4 then.  We should also be thinking that we’re probably not going to have a real #1, 2, or 3 starter this year or maybe next as the team is rebuilt.  It could be anybody, Wells, Coleman, Dempster and whomever else isn’t traded.  Hell, Zambrano!  This feels like a real rebuild.  Dallas Green did a partial one back in the early 80’s, basically raiding the Phillies 40 man, but finally we went back to our old patchwork tricks.  I really think with this new front office team the Cubs will be able to shed that loveable loser image once & for all.    

    • Milmurph 4 years ago


    • Eric Foster 4 years ago

      I prefer we trade Byrd, Soto, Wells, Marmol, and anyone else from our bullpen we could get the slightest return for. With a couple big picture moves, and that great draft last year, we could wind up with one of the league’s best homegrown bullpens, and at least a viable crop of position players by 2014.

    • Guest 4 years ago

      HAHA you wrote it could be Coleman that gets traded. The only thing the cubs would get in return is a slower pinch runner. Aside from Coleman’s speed he is worthless at this point of his career!

  13. Bob George 4 years ago

    Another fine story by Mikey Axisa.

  14. Eric Foster 4 years ago

    A good move, for a swingman or 6th starter while the club tries to rebuild. Sonnanstine will benefit by getting out of the AL East, but he’s still a guy in the pen who’ll sport a 4+ ERA. This is solid protection for when they finally get rid of Zambrano, and if Cashner/Samardzjia flops in the rotation. 
    But I’ve got to say:
    Anyone who prefers James Russell as a starter to Sonnanstine-
    You’re either over-valuing left handed pitchers, or you didn’t actually see any of the games Russ started.

    Junior Lake has more potential as a starting pitcher than James Russell.

  15. firealyellon 4 years ago

    2012 Cubs: “warm bodies and cold beer”

  16. As a Rays fan, everytime he started a game I had a feeling it was going to be a loss.  Hopefully he fares better in the NL.  Good luck, Andy.

  17. MrSativa 4 years ago

    The Cubs signed a very professional and extremely nice guy.

    If you like catching balls in the outfield seats then Sonny is your man.

    I hope he does well.

  18. Andrej Milas 4 years ago

    Every no name move is being scrutinized. Relax a little. It only makes sense that if you empty the farm system of talent through promotion, you need to backfill it somewhere. 

  19. rsanchez1 3 years ago

    They’re getting ready to move Garza, signing these pitchers.

  20. $20404099 4 years ago

    One set of figures is if he’s in the minors and the other figure is if he makes the big club.

  21. Koby2 4 years ago

    Manny being Manny

  22. His career xFIP is 4.45, which means he’s gotten unlucky with his HR/FB rate.

  23. Triple Hawpes Brewed 4 years ago

    It’s the Cubs, you should be used to such moves.

  24. Rick Springer 4 years ago

    Chill out. Not like you’re expecting the Cubs to uh… do anything… this year are you? Someone needs to eat up some innings this year.

  25. $20404099 4 years ago

    All things are relative. The Cubs are going in to full rebuild mode and that means not taking on big number contracts, which in turn means picking guys like Sonnanstine up. For the staff they’ll likely throw out there in 2012, this is a decent #5 guy. 

  26. it’s not the move that bothers me, it’s all the Theo bandwagon jumpers who think every move He makes has some hidden benefit that we lowly fans can’t see, it’s all part of some grand master plan. No. Sorry. Sometimes you have to point out the emperor has no clothes. Sign a 13th-round wash-out from the Royals as 5th string utility infielder?  “Great Move!” they’ll say. Give me a break.

  27. Saunders or Maholm may cost a little more (still peanuts, in the context of a 130 mil payroll) but have way more upside. I could think of them as a potential #5. This move strikes me as desperation, worthy of the Pirates or Royals but not a major market team.

  28. GaryLeeT 4 years ago

    The Cubs are going into full tear down mode. We have yet to see the “rebuilding” aspect of the plan. I am not sure why the rebuilding process can’t involve signing proven, and young (enough) free agents like Fielder, or E Jackson though. The Cubs have the money, and those signings should be plenty effective today, and 3 years from now.

  29. $20404099 4 years ago

    It’s not desperation when the Cubs know they aren’t going to contend. They are looking to keep contracts down and rebuild their farm system while trying to unload big contracts like Zambrano & Soriano. It’s the only real way they are going to be respectable and contend. They’ve had status quo for far too many decades. 

  30. Rangersfan32 4 years ago


  31. There’s definitely a plan.  I think that’s what makes this interesting, that Theo and Jed had a plan from day 1 and we are seeing it put into action.  

    We will know in about 9 months whether the plan is a “master” plan or whether it’s a bust. Will not know until it plays out.

    Still, I think everyone knows that this is an inconsequential signing. However I don’t see how this deal could possibly hurt the Cubs, even if this guy doesn’t pitch an inning, hence the split contract.

  32. Wow, as a Cubs fan I find myself agreeing with a Cardinals fan….someone wake me up.  Yes, this is a total rebuild and yes this is a “nothing” move.  Rebuilds, true rebuilds, take 2-3 years.  As much as I want to see a winner I know that it will take time.  Even the Marlins, who won it in ’97, blew up the team for prospects.  It took them until 2003 to get back over .500.  Of course they also won the World Series that year as well.

  33. Eric Foster 4 years ago

    As a Cubs fan to a Cards fan, you hit the nail on the head. 

  34. GaryLeeT 4 years ago

     Even if they may not contend, they still need to put a marketable team on the field. I mean, does the ownership, and management really expect to draw 3 million plus fans, who pay some of the highest ticket prices in MLB, to just show up with the promise of a sunny tomorrow?

  35. rsanchez1 3 years ago

    Yeah, over 10 decades, actually.

  36. Eric Foster 4 years ago

    If we can get a Grienke-esq haul, I pull the trigger. Otherwise, I hold onto him until at least the trade deadline, and see if his value rises. I’d also look into extending him, if he’s interested in being a big picture piece in a rotation that will eventually include Dillon Maples, Ben Wells, Trey McNutt, and hopefully another high ceiling starter via trade.

  37. rsanchez1 3 years ago

    Haha, typical Cubs fan. There’s always hope that the next few seasons will change. Then, forget about that it will actually be the next few seasons. No wait…

  38. $20404099 4 years ago

    What they will be trying to market is youth and the future. Zambrano, Soriano and a few others don’t fit that mold. Just like watching Ramirez walk, the FO collectively smiling widely, the Cubs fans should be excited about the direction Theo et al is taking the organization.

  39. Eric Foster 4 years ago

    Because rebuilding includes tightening up the farm system, producing major league talent, and plugging in the remaining holes via free agency once the team is competitive.
    I’d like to see Prince in a Cubs uniform, but we need to walk before we can run.

    I’d like Prince Fielder, but I’d rather hope that Dan Vogelbach develops, and plays for multiple years under team control.
    As for Edwin Jackson- No, thanks. 
    Too inconsistent, too many different teams, not enough of a successful track record to commit a long term contract to.

    Prince isn’t stupid. He knows we’re rebuilding, and he wants to win sooner rather than later.
    When we rebuild, we need to do it the right way.
    Big market, competitive rebuilding only works if the farm system is deep. The Cubs don’t have that option, just yet.

  40. GaryLeeT 4 years ago

    Easy for a Cardinal fan to say. Another World Series is just around the corner. The “we stink now, but start to get excited about the team we will put on the field 6 years from now” line is not what fans of a team with a 103 year drought want to hear, or will tolerate. There should be low turn out at the games, if management tries to sell that one to major market fans.

  41. Guest 4 years ago

    Oh what do you know, a Cubs topic and you show up hating!

  42. wood34 3 years ago

    Did the steroid win Braun the MVP??? Cheat!!

  43. $20404099 4 years ago

    I’m not saying any of these things from a Cards fan standpoint. I’m saying them as a baseball fan standpoint. The Cubs winning and breaking the curse would be good for all of baseball and the season is much more fun when both the Cards & Cubs are competitive. The Cubs could do what they’ve done in the past and bring in guys to make them competitive for a season or two, but that formula has yet to work in 103 years. Why not go out of the customary box and try a new route like Theo & Co. are trying t do? It can’t be any worse.  

  44. Khabibulan 4 years ago

    It says he’s homer-prone. Not sure if that HR/FB rate is gonna drop.

  45. As a Reds fan I find this thread much too surreal.  I expect a Cards fan to have some depth, but to find smart Cubs fans, I am shocked.  (just some friendly, light-hearted ribbing from a guy who has a lot of respect for Theo and wants a stronger NLC. I’m tired of people saying the NLC is a weak division. Excuse me?)

    Seriously though, Epstein is taking the Cubs in an exciting direction.  I don’t think you will have to wait 3 years.  Actually you should be competitive in 2013 with these moves.  I’ve watched Wood a few years now and he could be a solid #2 pitcher.  More days than not he is unhittable. He shut down the Phillies offense this past season and to a no hitter into the 9th. He needs some maturing and consistency. This was a HUGE trade in your favor.

  46. rsanchez1 3 years ago

    Cubs are always walking. They haven’t run in over a 100 years.

  47. rsanchez1 3 years ago

    Wow, a Cubs fan talking about the Marlins winning without being bitter about it… someone wake me up.

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