The Cubs are in agreement on a two-year minor league contract with lefty Brad Wieck, reports Robert Murray of FanSided. The two-year term of the deal is due to the fact that the southpaw is expected to miss most — if not all — of the 2023 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in July. Wieck is represented by CAA.
The 31-year-old Wieck has spent the past four seasons with the Cubs, pitching well when healthy but spending the bulk of his time on the injured list. The Cubs removed him from the 40-man roster by passing him through outright waivers after the season, and as a player with three-plus years of big league service time, that afforded Wieck the right to become a free agent.
In addition to the elbow strain that led to this past summer’s Tommy John surgery, Wieck also missed nearly all of the shortened 2020 season due to a hamstring tear. He’s also undergone a paid of cardiac ablation procedures to address an irregular heartbeat — once in early 2020 and a second time in July 2021. He hasn’t pitched in the Majors since that ’21 procedure, though that’s due largely to the elbow troubles that popped up in 2022.
Though he’s struggled to stay on the field, Wieck remains a promising potential bullpen option, and the Cubs clearly aren’t keen on letting him get away. He’s tossed just 28 innings with the team but has pitched to a pristine 1.93 ERA while fanning a mammoth 42.1% of his opponents. Wieck’s 13.2% walk rate in that time speaks to some command issues, but the immense strikeout prowess is clearly tantalizing.
Wieck is something of a long shot to factor into Chicago’s bullpen mix in 2023, given that his surgery was performed in late July. He’ll remain with the team in 2024 if he’s not an option this year, though, at which point he’d presumably be invited to Major League Spring Training. Wieck won’t accrue service time in 2023 since he won’t be on the Major League injured list, but if he makes the roster in 2024, he’d be controllable for another three seasons via arbitration.