Cubs resigned a hand full of familiar free agents to minor league deals with an invite to big league camp, including left-hander Gerardo Concepcion.
Concepcion has pitched in the Cubs organization for six seasons after signing a five-year, $6 million contact in 2012 after defecting from Cuba. A viral infection and back problems hampered his first two seasons and a broken toe limited the left-hander to 59.2 innings in 2014. After reaching AA in 2015, Concepcion went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 17.2 relief innings for the Smokies to start last season. He was promoted to AAA and continued to have success, posting a 2.60 ERA over 17.1 innings with 17 punchouts. Concepcion was promoted to Chicago on June 21, made his big league debut against the Cardinals and then made two appearances in Miami before being sent back to Iowa. In his return to Des Moines, Concepcion struggled, allowing 30 runs in 24.2 innings with 42 hits and 14 BB. Concepcion gives the Cubs another left-handed arm and if can figure out what went wrong at the end of 2016, could help the Cubs in 2017.
Here the rest of the players the Cubs re-signed to minor league deals with invites to spring training.
Munenori Kawasaki, IF—A fan favorite and former member of the Cubs 40-man roster, Kawasaki is back with the North Siders after signing a minor league deal. After a September call-up, Kawasaki went 7-for-21 in 14 games for the World Champs but was left off the playoff roster. The 35-year-old played 11 seasons in Japan before making his MLB debut with the Mariners in 2012.
Andury Acevedo, RHP—Signed as a free agent before the 2016 season and added to the Cubs 40-man roster, Acevedo only pitched in six games before suffering a season-ending knee injury running to first base in AA. The 26-year-old pitched in the Yankees system for five years before declaring free agency and started his pro career as an infielder in the Pirates organization.
Manny Parra, LHP—Signed last year before the start of the season, Parra never pitched in the Cubs system due to an injury and is back for another shot. The former set-up man for Brewers and Reds, the 34-year-old is a veteran of 628 big league innings and holds lefties to a .254 mark.
Zac Rosscup, LHP—Rosscup missed the 2016 season after shoulder surgery and wasn’t tendered a contract for the 2017 season. The Cubs resigned the lefty, who’s appeared in 61 big league games with Chicago but sports a 1.61 WHIP in 46.2 innings. Rosscup has a career 11.0 K/9 in the big leagues.
2016 Draft Class Update—Tolly Filotei, OF
A first-team Costal Alabama All-Region selection at Daphne High School, Filotei hit .378 with 21 stolen bases as a senior and was the Rockies 37th round pick in 2014. Instead of turning pro, Filotei headed to George Washington University but never played for the A-10 school. He enrolled at Faulkner State and hit .268 in 36 games with seven stolen bases in 2016. Filotei played in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League and led Jamestown with a .400 average in 17 games and swiped nine bases before being drafted in the 38th round by the Cubs. After signing with Chicago, the 21-year-old made his pro debut at the end of July and appeared in 24 games for Mesa in the Arizona Rookie League. The left-handed bat went 9-for-56 (.161) with 10 RBI and nine runs. Filoti should start the year at extended spring training with a possible trip to Eugene before the end of the summer.
Caribbean World Series
Jonathan Morales’ sacrifice fly scored Yadiel Rivera in the top of the 10th to give Puerto Rico a 1-0 win over Mexico in the final of the Caribbean World Series. Cubs prospect Miguel Mejia got credit for the win, shutting down Mexico the final two innings, including the final three outs in the bottom of the 10th. Mejia allowed one hit and only need 14 pitches to retire six of the seven hitters he faced.