The Cubs and veteran left-hander Joe Thatcher are in agreement on a minor league contract, reports SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (on Twitter). Thatcher had been with Cleveland on a minor league deal after signing in late July but had been on the temporarily inactive list and requested his release before ever appearing in a game with the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate. The entirety of his work at Triple-A this season has come with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate, where he logged a 3.60 ERA with 21 strikeouts against five walks in 15 innings. He’ll now report to the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate in Iowa, per Cotillo.
Thatcher, 34, has pitched at least 20 innings in the big leagues in each of the past four seasons, posting a sub-4.00 ERA in all four individual seasons and working to a combined 3.41 ERA with a 128-to-40 K/BB ratio in 124 innings. However, he hasn’t dominated opposing lefties since the 2012 season — .175/.239/.270 that year but .255/.332/.362 since — and has had to settle for minor league pacts such as this one in the past two years. Nonetheless, Thatcher is a veteran of nine big league seasons with a history of solid ERA marks, plenty of strikeouts and respectable control. His career ERA rests at 3.38, and he’s averaged 9.3 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 in his 260 2/3 big league innings.
For the Cubs, he’ll represent a depth option that could help the team later this month or in the month of September once rosters expand. The Cubs have bolstered their left-handed relief options by acquiring Aroldis Chapman and Mike Montgomery in trades (complementing holdover Travis Wood), but they also lost some left-handed depth when Clayton Richard went to the Padres after being designated for assignment.