The Cubs signed five players to minor-league contracts earlier this week. Outfielder Rafael Ortega, right-hander Jake Jewell, catcher Taylor Gushue and left-hander Jerry Vasto are all joining the organization, relays Chris Hilburn-Trenkle of Baseball America. (Marc Delucchi had previously reported Vasto’s signing). Additionally, outfielder Ian Miller has re-signed with Chicago, as noted by MLB.com’s transactions tracker.
The pair of outfielders are probably the most notable players involved. Miller was once a decently-regarded speed/defense prospect in the Mariners’ system. The 28-year-old has logged 18 MLB plate appearances between the Twins and Cubs over the past two seasons. Ortega has seen big league time in four seasons, picking up 447 plate appearances between the Rockies, Angels, Marlins and Braves. The 29-year-old has a career .229/.287/.290 slash line.
Jewell tossed 28.1 relief innings for the 2018-19 Angels. He got knocked around for a 6.99 ERA/6.67 FIP despite mid-90’s velocity. The 27-year-old made it into the Giants’ 60-man player pool in 2020 but didn’t see any MLB action. Similarly, Gushue got to the Nationals’ alternate training site this summer but never made the majors. The former fourth-rounder has a career .240/.309/.396 line in six minor-league seasons. Vasto, 28, pitched in six MLB games with the Rockies and Royals in 2018. He hasn’t seen any game action since, having spent all of 2019 on the minor-league injured list.