The Cubs continue to stockpile pitching depth, signing right-handers Robert Gsellman and Adrian Sampson. ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported the Gsellman signing, while Bryan Smith of Cubs Prospects reported Sampson’s return to the organization. Both are minor league deals, as per Meghan Montemurro of The Chicago Tribune and MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. (All links to Twitter.)
Gsellman has spent his entire pro career in the Mets organization, but New York chose to non-tender the righty back in November. Due to a variety of injuries over the last two seasons, Gsellman has only tossed 42 2/3 MLB innings since Opening Day 2020.
Gsellman showed some flashes of brilliance over his four previous seasons working as a starter, swingman, and a full-time reliever with the Mets, pitching to a 4.44 ERA over 308 frames from 2016-19. This versatility made Gsellman a useful arm to have on a pitching staff, though after two injury-marred years, it seems as though the Mets were simply ready to move onto other options.
Sampson is another swingman type who started five of his 10 appearances with the Cubs last season, with a nice 2.80 ERA over 35 1/3 innings (even if advanced metrics weren’t impressed by Sampson’s low-strikeout arsenal). 2021 was the fourth MLB season for Sampson, who debuted with the Mariners in 2016 and also pitched with the Rangers in 2018-19. The right-hander spent much of 2017 recovering from flexor tendon surgery and then went abroad in 2020 to pitch for the KBO League’s Lotte Giants.
Since the lockout ended, the Cubs have hit the ground running on pitching additions, bringing the likes of David Robertson, Daniel Norris, Chris Martin, Jesse Chavez (on a minor league deal) and Steven Brault onto the roster. Gsellman and Sampson bring even more depth to the mix, and given their similar skillsets, the two righties could essentially be competing for one swingman-type role. It could be that both pitchers end up seeing work with Chicago, given how the Cubs and other teams are adding depth as a guard against any arm injuries caused by this shortened Spring Training.