Cubs Sign James McDonald

The Cubs have officially signed pitcher James McDonald. The deal, originally thought to be a minor league contract, is actually a major league deal, tweets MLBTR's Tim Dierkes. 

McDonald's $1MM salary is not fully guaranteed, however, reports Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune via Twitter. The 29-year-old can also earn incentives, tweets Bruce Levine of

McDonald hit the open market in September when he refused an outright assignment from the Pirates. Things never came together for him last year, as he only got six starts and ended up with a 5.76 ERA in 29 2/3 MLB innings. Control was a particular issue, as McDonald ended up with 6.1 BB/9. In 33 Triple-A innings in 2013, McDonald scuffled to a 6.55 ERA.

Nevertheless, McDonald offers tantalizing upside. Over the first half of 2012, he carried a 2.37 ERA with a 3.23 K:BB ratio and allowed opponents to hit just .196/.258/.312 against him. (Of course, those numbers flipped to a 7.52 ERA, 1.34 K:BB rate, and .292/.388/.551 line in the second half.) And though he dealt with a shoulder issue last year, McDonald has otherwise been durable over his professional career.

Bruce Levine of first reported the signing on January 31st (via Twitter). Carrie Muskat reported via Twitter that the deal was official. 

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