The Cubs have agreed to a minors pact with one-time top prospect Danny Hultzen, as Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune recently reported. His contract provides for a $600K salary in the majors with up to $150K in available incentives, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).
Of course, any thought of cracking a major-league roster is secondary to regaining health for Hultzen, who originally inked a $8.5MM guaranteed deal with the Mariners in August of 2011. Seattle removed him from its MLB roster after the 2015 season and he has not appeared in a professional contest since 2016.
Drafted as a polished left-handed starter out of the University of Virginia, Hultzen — who’s now 28 years of age — mostly dominated the opposition inthe upper minors. Over 169 2/3 innings of professional ball, he carries a 2.86 ERA.
Unfortunately, major shoulder injuries — including procedures in 2013 and 2016 — have totally derailed Hultzen’s career. He decided to finish off his college degree and prepare for one more attempt at a return, as he discussed his ordeal last fall in an interesting chat with Dillon Mullan of the Washington Post.
Needless to say, the Cubs won’t be counting on anything from the hard-luck southpaw. Indeed, a Mariners doctor is said to have advised Hultzen not to attempt pitching anymore as he went in for his 2016 surgery. But the talent is obviously there and it’s easy to root for a player who once seemed a sure thing to reach and a good bet to thrive in the majors.