Chicago Cubs look to build depth through waivers; add David Rollins

The Chicago Cubs are already looking to 2017 as they added left-hander David Rollins off waivers from Seattle Mariners.

The Chicago Cubs still have to sort out their plans for the last spot in the starting rotation for 2017. Left-hander Mike Montgomery is the front-runner on the list of internal candidates. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t look to acquire a young pitcher under team control if a deal presents itself. Just in case, the Cubs are beginning to stock the cupboard for next year’s bullpen options.

The Cubs acquired left-hander David Rollins off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. He was a Rule 5 selection in 2014 by the Mariners from the Houston Astros. In 2015 he started the season on the restricted list as he was serving an 80-game suspension for violation of MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Rollins failed a test, testing positive for Stanozolol, a synthetic steroid.

The 26-year-old pitcher was 1-2 with a 7.60 ERA over the last two seasons for the Mariners. His time in the minors, however, has been more fruitful. At Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League, Rollins posted a 5-0 record with a 3.77 ERA in 37 relief appearances. He’s posted a 3.35 ERA in 413 1/3 innings over six seasons in the minors. Early in his career he was used as a starter but hasn’t made a start on any level since the 2014 season.

Other factors to look at

If he factors into the bullpen might not be known until after the winter meetings. Montgomery looks to have the inside line on the fifth spot in the rotation. He filled in well in spot starts this season. The Cubs have talked about looking at long-term, controllable options to put into the rotation–making him an ideal candidate. It’s why they parted ways with Jason Hammel.

There are plenty of rumors linking the Cubs to young pitchers this offseason. With the Tampa Bay Rays, Chris Archer is often mentioned. The Cubs and Mariners have done business often in recent years as well. The Mariners could be interested in the young Jorge Soler. This might allow the Cubs to snag a top mid-level prospect from the Mariners. Without a spot for Soler, taking a flyer on a young pitcher would be a safe bet as the Cubs could allow a pitcher the time develop under the development of Chris Bosio and their entire coaching staff.

Rollins adds to a stock of arms that the Cubs will head into Spring Training with. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer aren’t big on signing free agents in the bullpen. Rollins has succeeded at each level throughout the minors, he just has yet to figure it out in the Show. He’s in the perfect place to see if that happens with the Cubs.

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