The Cubs announced Friday that they’ve reinstated right-hander Tommy Nance from the Covid-19-related injured list and designated him for assignment. Nance went on the Covid list earlier in the week as a corresponding move when the team finalized its one-year deals with lefties Drew Smyly and Daniel Norris. However, with no open 40-man spot to return to, Nance will now either be traded or placed on waivers within a week’s time.
Nance, 31, made his MLB debut last season and tossed 28 2/3 innings out of the Chicago bullpen. He was hit hard in that time, yielding five homers and a 7.22 ERA, but Nance impressed in Triple-A (2.35 ERA, 18-to-3 K/BB ratio in 15 1/3 frames) and has a generally solid track record in the upper minors.
Struggles during his first taste of the Majors notwithstanding, Nance could appeal to other clubs for a few reasons. He averaged better than 95 mph on a heater that had above-average spin, and the spin rate on his curveball ranked among the game’s elite, landing in the 90th percentile. He also punched out 26.1% of the opponents he faced between Triple-A and the Majors last year and has a pair of minor league option seasons remaining. If Nance does pass through waivers unclaimed, he can return to Cubs camp and would likely head to Triple-A Iowa to begin the 2022 season in hopes of pitching his way back up to the MLB club.