Cubs right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. has gone unclaimed on outright waivers, tweets Meghan Montemurro of the Chicago Tribune. He’d been designated for assignment last week once Chicago finalized their one-year deal with Eric Hosmer.
Leiter, 32 in March, signed a minor league contract with Chicago last offseason. He cracked the big league roster by the second week of the season. Leiter held his spot on the 40-man all year and bounced a few times between Wrigleyville and Triple-A Iowa. Working primarily as a long relief option in the majors, he tossed 67 2/3 frames through 35 outings (including four starts). Leiter put together a decent 3.99 ERA with better than average strikeout and ground-ball marks (25.9% and 48.9%, respectively).
Despite that generally solid work, he was squeezed off the roster this winter. That’s presumably a result of some skepticism around the league that Leiter could maintain his 2022 form, as he carried a 5.53 ERA in 114 career major league innings headed into last year. He didn’t appear at the highest level at all between 2019-21 thanks to an intervening Tommy John surgery.
Leiter was previously outrighted by the Blue Jays back during the 2018-19 offseason. Clearing waivers a second time in his career gives him the right to elect minor league free agency instead of accepting an assignment to Iowa. The Cubs haven’t yet announced whether he’ll do so.