The Cubs announced on Thursday that they have designated right-hander Yoervis Medina for assignment. Medina’s roster spot will go to infielder Brendan Ryan, who has now officially been acquired as the player to be named later in last week’s Starlin Castro/Adam Warren trade.
Chicago acquired the now 27-year-old Medina from the Mariners in a May trade that sent Welington Castillo to Seattle. Medina had enjoyed strong results in Seattle from 2013-14, pitching to a combined 2.81 ERA with 9.4 K/9, 4.9 BB/9 and a 53.5 percent ground-ball rate before taking a significant step backwards in 2015. This season, Medina logged a 4.71 ERA with an unsightly 16-to-11 K/BB ratio in 21 innings for the Mariners and Cubs. Notably, his fastball velocity, which had averaged 94.8 mph in 2014, sat a full two miles per hour lower at 92.8 in 2015, and his ground-ball rate dipped to 36.8 percent.
Medina’s struggles weren’t confined to the Major Leagues, either. He also recorded 40 innings of Triple-A work between the two teams but limped to a 5.62 ERA with 8.8 K/9 against 5.0 BB/9. Those numbers, clearly, represent a significant departure from his best work at the upper levels of the minors and in the Majors. If there’s no health issue at play — though his diminished velocity certainly stands out as cause for concern — another club may look at him as a low-risk option with four years of club control remaining and hope that he can rediscover the form he displayed in 2013-14. ERA estimators like FIP, xFIP and SIERA were never sold on Medina as a sub-3.00 ERA arm, but all felt that he could hold down a mark somewhere in the mid-3.00 range given his blend of missed bats and grounders.