Cubs add another pitcher, sign Illinois native Dan Winkler as low-cost depth for bullpen

Winkler, 29, has a 3.68 career ERA over the past five seasons with the Braves but finished the 2019 season in the minors after a trade to the Giants.

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Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins

Dan Winkler was originally drafted by the Cubs in 2010 in the 43rd round but chose to remain in school. A year later, the Rockies selected him in the 20th round, and he signed. The Braves acquired him in the 2014 Rule 5 draft.

Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Who says the Cubs aren’t getting in on the early free-agency action?

The White Sox may have tried to spend $120 million of Jerry Reinsdorf’s money on pitcher Zack Wheeler, but the Cubs spent some actual money Friday on a right-hander for 2020.

How much? Try $750,000. If he’s in the majors.

Who? Dan Winkler.

Again, who?

Consider the split-contract signing of the former Braves reliever from downstate Effingham another low-risk, potentially strong-upside depth piece for the Cubs’ bullpen as they look at bigger moves heading into next week’s winter meetings.

Winkler, 29, has a career 3.68 ERA in the last five seasons with the Braves, finishing last season at Class AAA after going to the Giants organization in the Mark Melancon trade.

His best season came in 2018 for the Braves’ National League East champion, when he went 4-0 with a 3.43 ERA in 69 appearances (and he did make the Braves’ postseason roster). He had a 4.98 ERA in 27 games this season for the Braves before a demotion to the minors a few weeks before the Giants trade.

The Cubs move comes a week after the Cubs claimed left-hander CD Pelham off waivers from the Rangers and two weeks after sending $100,000 to the Athletics in a trade for right-hander Jharel Cotton.

Whether they’ll get around to addressing more serious deficits in the outfield and rotation — and to what degree — likely depends on how much salary they can move from a stretched payroll budget.

Meanwhile, the Cubs also officially announced the hiring reported last month of former A’s assistant general manager Dan Kantrovitz as the new vice president for scouting. They also announced the hiring of amateur scouting analyst Jasmine Horan, who worked last season with the Yankees’ front office (after two summers interning with the Athletics’ analytics department).

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