Richard Bleier

Report: Cubs sign lefty reliever Richard Bleier to minor league deal

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In a season where the lack of a left-handed arm in the bullpen has been rather apparent at times for the Chicago Cubs, the North Siders have made an under-the-radar move to bolster their bullpen depth amidst a playoff push.

According to Patrick Mooney of The Athletic, the Cubs have signed 36-year-old Richard Bleier to a minor league deal. Bleier, who was released by the Boston Red Sox last week, will report to Triple-A Iowa.

Drafted back in 2008 out of Florida Gulf Coast University by the Texas Rangers, initially as a starting pitcher.

Bleier remained in the organization through the 2013 season and bounced around several teams' minor league systems before finally debuting in the MLB with the New York Yankees in 2016, at the age of 29.

Since then, the southpaw has appeared in each of the past eight MLB seasons, posting a career 3.27 ERA across 335 appearances and 330.1 innings pitched.

While only accumulating 187 strikeouts in that time, Bleier holds a career groundball rate over 60%, though his 2023 rate was well below his career average at 52.8%.

Bleier's acquisition marks a low-risk, high-reward move for the Cubs, in need of left-handed depth as Drew Smyly's move back to the bullpen may be short-lived with Marcus Stroman missing extended time.

In 27 appearances with the Red Sox in 2023, Bleier holds a 5.28 ERA over 30.2 innings, with five walks, five home runs allowed and 16 strikeouts.

The Cubs begin a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Wrigley Field at 1:20 p.m. on Friday.

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