Filling in the PTBNL blank, the New York Yankees have sent Brendan Ryan to the Chicago Cubs. This completes the trade that moved Starlin Castro to New York, and pitcher Adam Warren to the North Side. Ryan is a utility infielder who has played nearly every position over years with the St. Louis Cardinals, Seattle Mariners, and Yankees. He’s hit .234 over 800-plus starts in his career, but spent a good deal of the 2015 season on the disabled list. The Cubs designated right-handed pitcher Yoervis Medina for assignment to fit Ryan onto their 40-man roster, deepening an already strong infield.
While Ryan is not likely to have much impact on the Cubs in 2016, possibly not making the starting roster or being included in a later trade, Warren is a very interesting acquisition. His ERA is just shy of really good, and that was in the American League – usually a shift to the National League brings an adjustment down in ERA. Then there is the ZiPS projection, for those who trust it. ZiPS has Warren maintaining an almost steady 3.02-3.06 ERA through 2018 as a starter – and even better numbers as a full-time reliever; if that’s even close to true, he may end up filling in the fourth slot, or even bumping John Lackey down the rotation.
In other news, former Cubs catcher John Baker has joined the front office as a “Baseball Operations Assistant,” where he is expected to contribute to both player development and scouting, spending time with the minor league affiliates as well as in Chicago. Baker played for the Cubs in 2014 before ending his career last year in the minors, playing for Triple-A Tacoma.
The Cubs have assigned their minor league hitting and pitching coordinators and released their affiliate staffs for the 2016 Season. Jim Brower will replace Derek Johnson as the pitching coordinator – Johnson will be spending 2016 as the pitching coach for the Milwaukee Brewers. Brower has served as pitching coach for two of the Kansas City Royals minor league teams over the past few years, the last three at Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
Andy Haines will take the hitting coordinator spot. Haines has been a manager in the Miami Marlins minor league system for several years. For the last two he’s managed at Triple-A New Orleans. He replaces Anthony Iapoce, who will spend 2016 as hitting coach for the Texas Rangers.
You can find all the info on the staffing and changes at the Official Cubs Site.