According to the minor league transaction log from Sunday, righty Mark Leiter Jr. has elected free agency after being outrighted to Triple-A Iowa four days earlier. That followed his designation for assignment on January 13 to make room on the roster for Eric Hosmer. Leiter acquitted himself well as a reliever in 2022, putting up a 2.87 ERA with 3.4 K/BB and showcasing a nice split-change over 31 appearances. That made his DFA a mild surprise, as the bullpen is an area the Cubs are still looking to improve.
Some were also curious as to why the Cubs weren’t able to trade Leiter on the strength of his performance out of the ‘pen, but they had no leverage given his contractual situation. Since he’s out of options and has been DFAd before, other teams knew they could simply wait for him to reject his outright in order to sign him without giving up so much as additional cash considerations in return.