The Cubs announced that they’ve claimed left-hander C.D. Pelham off waivers from the Rangers. The move brings Chicago’s 40-man roster to a count of 38 players. Texas has also announced the move, adding that right-hander Taylor Guerrieri went unclaimed on waivers and has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Nashville.
Pelham, 24, boasts a blistering fastball that averaged better than 96 mph in his 2018 MLB debut, but the former 33rd-round pick struggled through a poor season in the upper minors in 2019. Pelham allowed 43 runs in 32 1/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A this season and walked more batters (40) than he struck out (37).
The waiver claim is likely about the appealing nature of Pelham’s raw pitch arsenal, but there’s clearly an enormous amount of work to be done in order to refine the lefty. Still, with a pair of open spots on the 40-man roster, there’s little harm in placing a claim — and the Cubs could always try to pass Pelham through waivers themselves in order to keep him in the organization without committing a 40-man spot.
As for Guerrieri, he once ranked as one of the game’s premier pitching prospects in his days with the Tampa Bay organization, but injuries have largely derailed much of the promise he once showed. The 26-year-old (27 next week) posted a 5.68 ERA in 26 1/3 innings at the MLB level in 2019, although his 3.47 ERA, 9.7 K/9, 3.8 BB/9 and 55.7 percent grounder rate in Triple-A offer more encouragement.