Right-handed pitcher Miguel Mejia and catcher Gioskar Amaya headline the list of minor league free agents re-signing with the North Siders for the 2017 season. Here’s a look at the familiar faces:
Miguel Mejia RHP—The Cubs re-signed Miguel Mejia, who’s spent the off-season pitching for Caguas in Puerto Rico and will represent his country in the World Baseball Classic. In 22 games, the 28-year-old went 1-2 with a 1.64 ERA with a 2.40 ERA with 16 K and 3 BB in 22 IP during the regular season. When the playoff rolled around, he was even better, only allowing two runs over 14 innings in 11 appearances and sporting a 0.93 WHIP. He also tossed four shutout innings in the Caribbean World Series for Puerto Rico. Signing with the Cubs in 2016 after being out of baseball for three years, Mejia started last year in Iowa, was sent to Tennessee in mid-May and then returned to Des Moines for the final two months of the season. Between the two levels, Mejia logged 60.2 innings and one save, going 2-3 with a 5.04 ERA and 60 K/18 BB.
Gioskar Amaya, C— The 23-year-old Amaya signed with Chicago back in 2009 as a 16-yer-old out of Venezuela and has played six seasons in the Cubs organization, hitting .274/.356/.388 in 618 minor league games. Amaya started his career as a second baseman and was named a post-season All-Star in the Florida State League in 2014. That winter, he made the switch to catcher and has spent the past two seasons behind the plate. Amaya played in 44 games in Myrtle Beach last year and was promoted to AA Tennessee, batting .183/.267/.237 in 44 games.
Elliot Soto, IF—The Cubs have signed infielder Elliot Soto to a minor league contract and assigned him to Iowa. Soto was the Cubs 15th round pick in 2010 out of Creighton and was traded to the Marlins in July of 2015, along with P Ivan Pineyro, for P Dan Haren. Soto spent last season at AAA New Orleans, hitting .241/.358/.297 in 62 games. Before the trade, Soto was having his best season in the Cubs system, slashing .275/.388/.314 with 47 runs scored in 88 games at Tennessee. The 27-year-old is a solid defender and can play second and short.
Nick Sarianides, RHP—Signed as a free agent back in May of 2016 after being released by the Diamondbacks, the right-hander made 22 relief appearances for AA Tennessee in 2016, posting a 3-3 mark with a 3.60 ERA. In 25 innings, Sarianides walked nine and recorded 28 punchouts. He was originally drafted by the Indians back in 2009, released in 2011, spent two years pitching in the Independent League and then signed with the D-Backs.
Cole Brocker, RHP— The Wisconsin native was signed by the Cubs in January of 2016 but didn’t pitch last year as he went on the DL in June and declared for free agency in November. He was re-signed later in November and placed on the Tennessee roster. The 26-year-old was a former 39th round pick of the Tigers in 2011 out of Oregon State but never signed. He was pitching for Normal in the Frontier League in 2014 when the Braves inked the righty to a minor league deal, He spent two years in the Atlanta system (23 G, 33.1 IP, 4.05 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) and reached AA before being released. In 2015. Brocker returned to the Frontier League and appeared in 25 games for Normal.