The Cubs announced today that reliever Brad Brach has cleared waivers and been released. He was designated for assignment recently.
Brach’s complicated, restructured contract was never likely to be claimed. The Chicago organization will remain responsible for all ongoing guarantees, less a pro-rated portion of the league minimum salary for any time he spends in the majors with another club.
It seemed at the time that the Cubs made out well by landing Brach for such a reasonable price. But he just never found his groove in Wrigley, scuffling to a 6.13 ERA with 10.2 K/9 and 6.4 BB/9 over 39 2/3 innings.
Interestingly, the bulge in Brach’s walk rate occurred even as he put his first pitches in the zone more than ever (63.5%). His average fastball velocity (94.2 mph) and swinging-strike rate (11.9%) sat near recent levels. Statcast calculates an unwelcome 39.3% hard-hit rate, though that can presumably be reversed if indeed Brach’s physical tools are intact.
All things considered, Brach ought to hold appeal as a bounceback candidate to quite a few contending teams. It’s possible he’ll end up taking a minors deal to work out the kinks at Triple-A, but it wouldn’t be terribly surprising to see Brach sign directly onto a big league roster.