If you said you couldn’t tell the latest Cubs signing from Adam, you’d be right. That’s because they just inked 28-year-old righty reliever Jason Adam, who logged 21.2 innings with the Blue Jays last season after tallying 32.1 with the Royals in 2018, to a minor league deal. He’ll be a non-roster invitee to spring training and figures to serve as bullpen depth throughout the season.
Can confirm that the Cubs have signed reliever Jason Adam to a Minor League deal with non-roster invite. Wrote about him as a possible target after he was non-tendered in early December. @ByRobertMurray on it 1st. pic.twitter.com/yea5FQJz50
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) January 15, 2020
While not quite an absolute unit, Adam closely resembles a linebacker at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds. He can bring the heat with a fastball that sits around 95 mph, but his limited secondaries leave a lot to be desired. His curveball and change have both produced negative value over limited MLB usage, with the change rating out much worse on a per-pitch basis. That could come from being too firm, coming in a mere five ticks lower than the heater.
Adam has been an extreme fly ball pitcher throughout his professional career and generates grounders at an anemic 25% clip, so he’s not exactly a guy you’d want to bring into a dirty inning. He was, however, able to limit the longball in Toronto last season, hence the 2.91 ERA despite a static walk rate and decreased strikeouts. It’s hard to get a feel for this guy based on the stats alone, but this screams Pitch Lab project based on his potential stuff and the Cubs’ trends for cheap pitchers with high upside.
Adam has two minor league options left and figures to be stashed in Iowa with an open ticket on the shuttle to Chicago once attrition starts taking its toll on the staff. And who knows, maybe something clicks for him this season after better overall results last year. He racked up 10.3 K/9 in Kansas City, so figuring something out with the breaking ball (spike curve, anyone?!) and/or changeup could turn him into a dude.
All in all, it’s a pretty meh move that would have been much more fun had the Cubs made it on the…eve of this weekend’s convention. Oh well, maybe we’ll get to make jokes when he faces Lorenzo Cain. Thank you, I’ll see myself out.