The Cubs have agreed to a minor-league deal with righty Jim Henderson, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (Twitter links). He’ll join a fairly well-stocked pen mix in Cubs’ camp this spring, where he’ll presumably have a chance to battle for a job. If things don’t go as hoped, Henderson will have two opt-out opportunities, first on March 29th and later on June 1st, Cotillo adds on Twitter.
Henderson, 34, had a solid bounceback season in 2016 with the Mets, who signed him to a minor-league deal last offseason. Once the Brewers’ closer, he had succumbed to shoulder issues in 2014 and failed to crack the majors in the following season.
Over the course of the 2016 campaign, Henderson provided New York with 35 innings of 4.11 ERA ball and compiled 10.3 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9. Despite showing that he could still generate some strikeouts, averaging better than 93 mph on his fastball, and coming with three years of control available via arbitration, Henderson was outrighted after the season.
Of course, it wasn’t all roses. Henderson missed a good bit of time with a biceps issue and struggled to keep opposing hitters in the yard — allowing 1.8 dingers per nine innings pitched, well above the league average. Though Henderson coughed up homers on just 13.2% of the flies put in play against against him last year, right near the league-average mark, he was also among the most flyball-prone hurlers in baseball. And despite his healthy K tallies, Henderson’s swinging-strike rate of 9.9% was nowhere near his prior levels.