Cubs left-hander C.J. Riefenhauser has cleared waivers and had his contract outrighted off the 40-man roster, the team announced on Thursday. The move drops the Cubs’ 40-man roster count to 37.
The Cubs claimed Riefenhauser, 26, off waivers from the Orioles this offseason, thereby capping off what was a whirlwind of transactions involving the left-hander over the winter. Riefenhauser began the offseason as a member of the Rays but quickly found himself traded to the Mariners in the Nate Karns/Logan Morrison/Brad Miller trade. Seattle, however, didn’t hang onto him for long, as the M’s flipped him to Baltimore alongside Mark Trumbo. Baltimore then designated Riefenhauser for assignment upon acquiring Odrisamer Despaigne from the Padres, leading to the Cubs’ waiver claim.
This time around, Riefenhauser went unclaimed, likely in part due to his struggles at the Triple-A level this year. Riefenhauser has allowed 10 runs on eight hits and eight walks in 12 innings of relief pitching for Triple-A Iowa this season. He’s punched out 12 hitters in that time as well, continuing a trend of missed bats at the Triple-A level, but the work isn’t close to the 2.86 ERA he posted in 34 2/3 innings at that level last season. Riefenhauser also has 20 innings of big league experience under his belt, although the 6.30 ERA he’s posted in the Majors is quite the departure from his career 2.66 ERA in 125 1/3 innings at Triple-A.