HomeMLB RumorsCarl Edwards Jr. Opts Out Of Minor League Deal With Cubs

Carl Edwards Jr. Opts Out Of Minor League Deal With Cubs

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Right-hander Carl Edwards Jr. is opting out of his minor league deal with the Cubs, as first reported by The Bigs Media on X. Edwards signed the minors pact with Chicago back in January, though as an Article XX(B) free agent Edwards received the ability to opt-out from his contract yesterday if not added to the 40-man roster.

Edwards, 32, got his start a professional in the Rangers system after being selected in the 48th-round of the 2011 draft. Despite that lack of prospect pedigree, Edwards broke out to become a consensus top prospect after he was traded to the Cubs as part of the return for Matt Garza back in 2013. After making his debut in Chicago in 2015, Edwards pitched to an excellent 3.06 ERA and 3.12 FIP in 159 innings spread across four seasons. He struck out an excellent 33.9% of batters faced during that time, though it was accompanied by an elevated 13.6% walk rate.

The right-hander’s performance took a turn for the worse as he battled injuries and ineffectiveness from 2019 to 2021, with a 7.90 ERA across 34 appearances split between the Cubs, Padres, Mariners, Braves, and Blue Jays. That led to him signing a minor league deal with the Nationals back in February 2022, and he enjoyed something of a career resurgence in D.C. Over his two seasons with the club, Edwards pitched to a 3.07 ERA with a 4.11 FIP. While the run prevention numbers were similar to that of his peak years in Chicago, the right-hander’s strikeout rate had declined as he punched out just 20.1% of batters faced while maintaining a slightly elevated 10.5% walk rate. Even so, he provided solid results for the Nationals while generating groundballs at a 47.1% clip.

A stress fracture in Edwards’s shoulder brought his 2023 season to a premature end, though he appeared to be fully healthy upon arriving in camp with Chicago last month. This spring, he’s allowed just two runs (one earned) while striking out six and walking three in seven appearances with Chicago. Those solid results evidently weren’t enough to crack the Cubs’ Opening Day roster, but it would hardly be a shock if they caught the attention of another club in need bullpen help in the coming days. At the very least, Edwards appears to be a safe bet to find another minor league deal elsewhere in the league if he cannot secure a spot on a big league roster to open the season.

As for Chicago, the Cubs appear poised to enter the season with Adbert Alzolay, Hector Neris, Drew Smyly, Julian Merryweather, Yency Almonte, and Mark Leiter Jr. locked into spots in the club’s bullpen. That leaves two spots to be filled as things stand, one of which Edwards was in contention for. With him no longer a factor, optionable relief arms already on the 40-man roster such as Luke Little, Jose Cuas, Daniel Palencia, and Keegan Thompson figure to be in the mix for the final spots in the club’s relief mix.

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