The Cubs have activated right-handed reliever Tony Barnette from the 60-day injured list and optioned righty Rowan Wick to Triple-A Iowa, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score tweets. Barnette’s reinstatement gives the Cubs a full 40-man roster.
The 35-year-old Barnette is in line for his first major league action since last July 3, when he pitched for the Rangers. Barnette had been down with shoulder issues since then. But that didn’t deter the Cubs from signing Barnette to a low-risk contract in the offseason. He’s on a $750K salary this year and could return to the team in 2020 on a $3MM club option.
Barnette had an up-and-down tenure with the Rangers, pitching well in two seasons (2016 and ’18) but poorly in the other (’17). In all, he recorded a quality 3.50 ERA/3.56 FIP with 8.25 k/9, 2.69 BB/9 and a 45.1 percent groundball rate during his 144-inning Texas career. That’s the extent of Barnette’s major league experience, as the former 10th-round pick (Diamondbacks, 2006) spent several years pitching in the minors and in Japan.
Barnette will now work for a contender in Chicago, whose bullpen ranks sixth in the majors in ERA, 10th in FIP and 18th in K/BB ratio. The Cubs’ two innings leaders – Steve Cishek and Brandon Kintzler – have posted fine results, but aside from them and Kyle Ryan, they haven’t gotten impressive production from any of their regular relievers.