Luke Hagerty Signs New MiLB Deal with Cubs, Hopes to Be Ready by March

It looks like there’s yet another chapter in Luke Hagerty’s fairy tale story after all, as the 38-year-old lefty has re-signed with the Cubs. Initially drafted by the Cubs all the way back in 2002, Hagerty looked like stud before missing most of the 2003 and ’04 seasons due to elbow reconstruction. Then everything fell apart as he fell victim to a terrible case of the yips and simply couldn’t find the plate.

After bouncing around the minors and independent ball, Hagerty hung up his spikes in 2008 and eventually founded X2 Athletic Performance in Phoenix. While helping younger athletes to improve the various physical aspects of their game, Hagerty found that his own velocity was actually increasing. So at 37 years old, he decided to give baseball another shot and signed a deal with the Cubs.

The comeback was short-lived, as Hagerty experienced an elbow injury and was shut down fairly early in the spring. As CI was first to report, the southpaw was forced to undergo another elbow reconstruction — not Tommy John, but similar — that caused him to miss the entire 2019 season. He was determined not to let his story end like that, though, and vowed to make yet another comeback.

Sure enough, Hagerty announced Sunday afternoon that he’d signed a new minor league deal with the Cubs for 2020. While it doesn’t include an invite to big league camp, since he won’t be ready by then, his rehab is ahead of schedule and the hope is that he’ll get the green light for full activity by March.

Prior to the injury, Hagerty was sitting in the mid-90’s with some serious movement on his fastball. He also has a breaking ball that mimics the same armside run as the heater, plus a changeup that he’s been working on. Whether and to what extent that all returns is yet to be seen, but he’s been throwing since late September and knows what it takes to ramp back up.

This is just a fantastic story and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what Hagerty can do if and when he’s fully healthy. Remember, he still hasn’t faced live hitters in competition in over a decade and there’s no guarantee that the yips are gone. But can you imagine a scenario in which both Hagerty and Danny Hultzen are legit options for the Cubs? As far-fetched as that is, man, would it be awesome.

The Cubs would also do well to keep picking Hagerty’s brain when it comes to their pitching development. Dude got himself up to near triple digits at an advanced age, so you have to figure he’s got a few things to share when it comes to other pitching prospects.

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