Leiter, 32 in March, was drafted by the Phillies in 2013 and made his way up to the majors by 2017. He got into 47 games over the 2017 and 2018 seasons, mostly with Philly but also a brief stint with the Blue Jays after a waiver claim. He posted a 5.53 ERA over that two-year stretch with a subpar 20.5% strikeout rate but a strong 48.2% ground ball rate.
He was outrighted off the Jays’ roster and then required Tommy John surgery in the spring of 2019, which put him on the shelf for a while. He pitched well in the minor leagues of the Tigers’ system in 2021 but didn’t get called up to the big leagues. A minor league deal with the Cubs allowed him to return to the majors last season. He spent the year being shuttled to Triple-A and back, posting a solid 3.99 ERA over 67 2/3 innings with the Cubs, striking out 25.9% of batters faced, walking 8.9% of them and getting grounders on 48.9% of balls in play.
Despite those solid results last year, there are reasons the Cubs are moving on. Leiter’s earned runs were likely kept down somewhat by a .251 batting average on balls in play, almost 40 points below league average. He’s also now out of options, giving him less value from a roster maneuverability perspective. However, if some club is intrigued enough to give Leiter a roster spot, he’ll come with some cheap control since he has just over two years of MLB service time.