The Chicago Cubs released lefty pitcher Felix Doubront today per MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. Doubront signed with the Cubs in January as the ball club intended to shore up some left-handed depth, although he wanted to be a starter rather than a reliever. Unfortunately he was out of options and couldn’t be sent down to Triple-A Iowa, which could have done him some good.
Doubront, 27, struggled his way through Spring Training, giving up nine earned runs in seven innings for a robust ERA of 11.57. He did have four strikeouts and no walks, but the race for that reliever spot is just too tight.
Initially he had hoped for the fifth starter spot in the rotation but Travis Wood was the front runner coming in and he easily solidified his standing there. Given that the rotation was fairly settled, Doubront’s only hope was earning a reliever spot in the pen, but Chicago only needed one or two southpaws and between Phil Coke (0.00 ERA), Zac Rosscup (3.86 ERA), Drake Britton (1.42 ERA) and himself, he’s definitely the odd man out.
He’s had some issues with velocity here and there but his biggest struggle this Spring has been his control and location. His breaking balls are constantly hanging over the middle of the place with no snap at all. Speed or not, if everything you toss is finding the hitter’s sweet spot, longevity will not be the name of the game. Now that’s not to say that he can’t find his rhythm and he partly did near the end of 2014 with the Cubs, but again he needs some work in the minors, and the Cubs didn’t have an option but to let him go.
All in all, he is a talented pitcher with some upside. He shouldn’t find himself on the free agent market for long but to whomever his next suitor is: caveat emptor.