The first of potentially many Cubs deadline moves has just been reported. Per ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, the Cubs are picking up righty reliever David Phelps from the Blue Jays in exchange for righty Thomas Hatch, the Cubs’ third-round pick in the 2016 draft.
Breaking: According to a source, the Cubs are about to acquire RHP David Phelps from Toronto for minor league pitcher Thomas Hatch
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) July 30, 2019
The 32-year-old Phelps has had success with the Yankees and Marlins in his seven-year MLB career, but missed all of 2018 and just returned this season after rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. With the Jays this season, Phelps has a 3.63 ERA and 4.79 FIP in 17.1 innings.
The new Cubs righty has consistently put up good K/9 rates, though his whiff rate is down around 14% this seasons after posting roughly 23% rates in 2016 and ’17. With neutral platoon splits and much better performance on the road in limited action, the Cubs may be hoping Phelps benefits from another fresh start.
What’s more, Phelps comes at a price the penny-pinching Cubs can afford. He has about $800,000 in prorated salary remaining, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Jays included cash considerations that will offset some of that.
Hatch, 24 years old, posted an underwhelming 4.59 ERA and 4.40 FIP in 21 Double-A starts this season and was not among those pitchers expected to reverse the Cubs’ development fortunes.
In order to make room on the 40-man roster, lefty Xavier Cedeño, who’s sort of been off the grid since his latest rehab stint ended, has been moved to the 60-day IL. It’s unclear how the Cubs intend to use Phelps, but with Pedro Strop landing on the IL it’s possible the Cubs throw the new guy right into the fire.