Cubs claim RHP Liam Hendriks, add three others
The Cubs claimed right-handed pitcher Laim Hendriks off waivers from the Minnesota Twins on Friday. Hendriks became expendable after the Twins signed free-agent pitcher Phil Hughes. The 24-year-old Australian made eight starts for the Twins in 2013 after spending part of the year in AAA. While Hendriks thrived in the Twins minor league system, he hasn't translated that success on the big league mound. In 30 games (28 starts) he's been unable to keep the ball in the park, allowing 30 homers in 156 innings. Over parts of three big league seasons, Hendriks is 2-13 with 6.06 ERA. Rated the Twins 6th best prospect in 2010 and a member of the Australian Word Baseball Classic team in 2009, Hendriks went from AA to his big league debut in 2011 and found himself of the opening day roster in in 2012 when Scott Baker was lost to injury. Hendrik's four-seam fastball sits in low 90s and he also favors his sinker. He adds a change-up, slider and curve.
OF Ryan Kalish was once considered one Red Sox's best outfielder prospects but injuries and three surgeries later he finds himself reunited with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. After injuries hampered the start of his pro career, Kalish took off in 2008 and found himself in centerfield in Boston in July of 2010, playing 53 games (.252/.305/.405). His career has been in a tail spin ever since, enduring three operations to his neck and shoulder, missing the entire 2013 season. The 25-year-old left-handed bat gives the Cubs more outfield depth if he can return from the injuries.
Ryan Roberts provides the Cubs another middle infield option as the eight-year MLB veteran has made stops in Toronto, Texas, Arizona, and Tampa Bay. The 33-year-old appeared 60 games last year for the Rays and had his best season in 2011 .249/.341/.427 with 19 HR, 65 RBI and 18 SB for the Diamondbacks. Roberts, who hits right-handed, has played primarily at third and second in his career but has also seen action in the outfield.
John Baker is the fourth catcher the Cubs have added this off-season joining Eli Whiteside, George Kottaras, and Charles Cutler. The left-handed hitting backstop spent the last two years with the Padres but was released in July and spent the rest of the year with the Dodgers in AAA. Baker, 32, was drafted by Oakland in 2002 and then traded to Florida and then dealt to San Diego. He was Marlins full-time catcher in 2009 hitting .271/.349/.410 but has struggled to get playing time ever since, only appearing in 118 MBL games since. While Wellington Castillo is the starting catcher, there will be a battle in spring training for the backup job as Baker and Whiteside will challenge Kottaras.
Here's recap of Friday's Winter League action.
Venezuelan Winter League
2B Luis Valbuena doubled in a run and walked twice in Lara's 5-4 loss in 10 innings. Valbuena continues to get reps at second and is hitting .322/.435/.478.
RHP Yeiper Castillo (3-1 4.25 ERA) gave up a pair of hits in a scoreless inning during Zulia's 8-1 win over Caracas. Castillo has tossed 30.2 innings in 22 games.
Dominican Winter League
RHP Alberto Cabrera had a rough outing surrendering two runs on two hits and a walk in .2 IP. Cabrera fanned one in Toro's 8-5 loss to Estrellas.
Mexican Pacific Winter League
SS Walter Ibarra was moved up to the second spot and went 1-4 in Mazatlan's 3-1 10 inning loss.
RF Darnell McDonald snapped a 0-22 streak going 1-4 in Obregon's 4-2 win over Mexicali.
Puerto Rican Winter League