The Cubs announced 19 non-roster invitations to Major League Spring Training today (Twitter link), with infielder/outfielder Mike Freeman and left-hander Kyle Ryan standing out as new additions on minor league contracts. Freeman is repped by BASH Baseball, and Ryan is a client of Frontline.
[Related: Updated Chicago Cubs depth chart]
The 30-year-old Freeman saw time with the Cubs, Mariners and Dodgers in 2017, appearing at all four infield positions but mustering just a .100/.182/.183 slash in 66 trips to the plate. Freeman’s jack-of-all-trades status on the defensive end of the spectrum and quality on-base numbers in Triple-A have made him a desirable commodity to round out 40-man rosters over the past couple of seasons, though. He played every position other than catcher at the Major League level in 2016-17 and has a career .312/.377/.420 batting line in parts of four Triple-A seasons.
As for Ryan, the 26-year-old southpaw has appeared in the big leagues in each of the past four seasons with the Tigers, totaling 128 innings of 3.87 ERA ball. Ryan, though, has averaged just 4.9 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 in that time, and his average fastball checks in just south of 89 mph. To his credit, he’s logged a 54 percent ground-ball rate in the Majors and averaged just 0.77 HR/9 in the Majors. Ryan doesn’t come with a discernible platoon split, as lefties have hit him at a .272/.322/.406 clip while righties have batted .256/.335/.390. He’s worked as both a starter and reliever in the past, so he could provide some depth in either category for the Cubs.