The Cubs have claimed right-hander Edwin Uceta off waivers from the Mets, reports Meghan Montemurro of the Chicago Tribune. He’s been optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Chicago had a pair of vacancies on its 40-man roster, so a corresponding move wasn’t necessary. Uceta was designated for assignment in New York earlier this week.
The 25-year-old Uceta now joins his fifth organization in the past eight months. He’s bounced from the D-backs, to the Tigers, to the Pirates, to the Mets and now the Cubs since January — all via waiver claim.
Uceta’s overall numbers both in the minors and in the big leagues aren’t particularly impressive, though the frequency with which he’s been claimed on waivers points to the fact that scouts and analysts remain intrigued by his raw potential. He’s tossed three scoreless innings in the big leagues this season but carries an unsightly 5.80 ERA in 40 1/3 total innings between the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Mets.
Things have been better in Triple-A, though his results have hardly been elite there. In 83 1/3 innings, he’s posted a 4.64 ERA and walked 13.4% of his opponents — albeit with a strong 29.6% strikeout rate. Uceta has has long shown an ability to miss bats, and while he doesn’t possess a blistering fastball, he’s averaged between 93-94 mph in the big leagues and shown good ability to spin the ball.
Uceta has missed the bulk of the 2023 season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. However, he recently wrapped up a minor league rehab assignment and was reinstated from the 60-day injured list by the Mets. He should be healthy and ready to go with the Cubs’ top affiliate in Iowa. Uceta is in his final minor league option season, so while he can bounce between Triple-A and the Majors for the remainder of the season, he’ll need to be on the big league roster next year or else passed through waivers before he can be sent down.