Feb. 16: The Cubs have formally announced the signing of Simmons to a one-year, split Major League contract. He’s been placed on the 40-man roster, with left-hander Drew Smyly (recovering from Tommy John surgery) moving to the 60-day DL to create a roster spot.
Feb. 14: The Cubs have signed righty Shae Simmons to a split contract, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter links). The deal will pay Simmons $750K if he cracks Chicago’s Major League roster, and $120K if he remains in the minors. The contract will be official once Simmons passes a physical, according to MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat.
That last detail is an important one given how Simmons has been plagued by injuries for the better part of three years. Simmons looked good as a hard-throwing rookie with the Braves in 2014 but then underwent Tommy John surgery in February 2015. Beyond just the usual 12-15 month recovery timeline for that procedure, Simmons’ return by halted by a variety of injury setbacks, and then further halted by a forearm strain that kept him out of action for a large chunk of the 2017 season. Over the last two seasons, Simmons has tossed only 14 1/3 total innings.
The Mariners acquired Simmons and Mallex Smith for Luiz Gohara and lefty prospect Thomas Burrows in January 2017, though Simmons’ forearm problems kept him from developing into any sort of a real weapon out of Seattle’s bullpen. The M’s non-tendered Simmons last December, ending his tenure with the team after just 7 2/3 innings and a 7.04 ERA.
Despite the injuries and the control problems that have plagued Simmons throughout his career, the Cubs have little to lose in taking a flier on the 27-year-old. Simmons has shown flashes of dominance when healthy, including some dominant numbers (2.06 ERA, 12.6 K/9) over 131 1/3 career minor league frames.