The Cubs have agreed to a handful of minor league pacts, Baseball America’s Chris Hilburn-Trenkle reports in his latest minor transactions roundup. Left-hander Rex Brothers, right-hander Joe Biagini, outfielder Nick Martini and corner infielder Patrick Wisdom have all joined the organization. Presumably, they’ll all be in big league camp.
Brothers, 33, tossed 3 1/3 innings with the Cubs last year and was tagged for three runs in that time. He spent the bulk of the season at Chicago’s alternate training site. Brothers looked the part of a potential lights-out reliever early in his career, logging a 2.82 ERA and 29.2 percent strikeout rate through his first 175 2/3 innings with the Rockies in 2011-13.
Brothers struggled through a brutal 2014 season, however, and he’s only pitched sparingly in the Majors since that time (37 1/3 total innings). Overall, the lefty carries a 3.84 ERA in the big leagues, but all of his success came in that early Rockies run. He’s punched out nearly 34 percent of hitters faced in parts of six Triple-A seasons, though, and his ability to miss bats continues to intrigue teams even if it’s paired with shaky control.
Biagini, 30, had a strong rookie season with the Blue Jays as a Rule 5 pick back in 2016. Toronto tried to move him into the rotation in 2017, though, and over the next two years he struggled in that role and in a return to the bullpen.
Biagini looked to have righted the ship in 2019, pitching to a 3.78 ERA through 50 frames before being traded to the Astros alongside Aaron Sanchez, but his brief tenure in Houston proved to be a nightmare. In 19 innings from 2019-20, he yielded 22 runs on 31 hits (seven homers) and 13 walks. He’s had success out of the ’pen on multiple occasions with the Jays, and he can perhaps give Chicago some right-handed depth in that regard.
Martini, also 30, has been an OBP machine in the upper minors and even in his brief time at the MLB level. From 2018-19 between the A’s and Padres, he slashed .269/.372/.380 in 288 trips to the plate. The left-handed-hitting Martini has had similar OBP-driven value at the plate in Triple-A, where he’s a .305/.401/.435 hitter in more than 1400 plate appearances. For a Cubs team that has wanted to cut down on its strikeouts, he’s an intriguing depth option to stash in the event of an injury at the big league level. Martini has experience at all three outfield spots but has worked mostly in the corners in recent minor league seasons.
The 29-year-old Wisdom was hitless with two plate appearances as a Cub in 2020 and carries a .218/.299/.397 batting line through 88 plate appearances over the past three seasons. The longtime Cardinals prospect has shown some power at the Triple-A level but has also been prone to strikeouts there. He’s a .252/.328/.478 hitter in parts of four seasons of Triple-A ball but has experience at both first base and third base.