Kyle Ryan was a very pleasant and much-needed surprise for the Cubs last year, hitting his stride and using his funky lefty delivery to become a bullpen stalwart. The numbers don’t necessarily jump off the page, but Ryan was able to generate grounders at a 58% clip and was tough on lefty batters after making a slight tweak to his location on the rubber. Because he’d accrued service time over parts of four previous seasons, the 28-year-old Ryan was finally eligible for arbitration after his first Cubs campaign.
Projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $1.1 million, Ryan settled for $975,000 in order to avoid the trials of the arbitration process. That doesn’t net the Cubs big savings, but every dollar counts in a winter that sees them trying to get under the CBT threshold. Now the Cubs need a few other guys on rookie or minors deals to step up like Ryan did last year, because it doesn’t seem as though much help is on the way for the ‘pen.