The Cubs sign reliever Calvin Herra for a minor league deal


The Cubs form the most elite group of 2015–16 so far. I kid, but hey, the extra depth never hurt anyone.

After recently signing former elite Indians close Cody Allen (who has fallen in a very difficult time), the Cubs now also add former elite Royals reliever Calvin Herrera on a minor league deal.

(Dermody signing discussed earlier here.)

Like Alan, Herrera in Canara City was great for so long, but then completely fell from the earth in the last year and half:

(Via FanGraphs)

Only 30, the shot here is that you can get Herrera in the door, see what happens to a new set of eyes and data and whatever, and if he gets out of the other end in a pinch in September Can contribute, calm. If not, nothing was lost in the attempt.

To get there, Herrera will have to make some fundamental changes about his approach to pitching, as a pass-100 mph speedball that did a lot of damage for him has long since gone. He was at 96 mph last year, and earlier this year in limited action, he was at 94–95 mph. It’s still a playable velocity, obviously, but to really break it back he’ll need his changeup or slider (or maybe a new-ish cutter?). He was never a very big boy, so he concluded by keeping the hitters off-balance enough that they could not square him. Can he still do this without premium velocity?

Your bright indication on Harera is that it was actually only the 2019 season that was down in performance – he was still quite good in 2018. Not so bright side is that 2019 was also his first huge dip in velocity.

We’ll see what happens when he starts throwing in South Bend. It is a highly crowded pitching group at this point, and now the 60-man player pool is full. If the Cubs decide to make other additions, they can certainly release people from the 60-man – but at that point, they are subject to waivers. So you really want to leave only those people you are comfortable losing from the organization.