The Cubs have signed veteran reliever Cody Allen to a minor league deal.
Allen, the longtime Indians closer, was last in the Rangers organization before getting released July 24. He spent 2019 with the Angels, posting a 6.26 ERA and 1.91 WHIP in 25 games, walking 20 in 23 innings.
The 31-year-old sported a 4.70 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 70 appearances with Cleveland in 2018. He posted sub-3 ERAs in each season from 2013-17 and was Cleveland's closer from 2014-18, tossing six scoreless innings in the 2016 World Series against the Cubs.
“He’s gonna try to build back up to the pitcher that we’ve seen in the past and a guy we’ve faced,” manager David Ross said Friday. “When he’s right and his stuff’s right, he’s a pretty darn good big league pitcher.”
The Cubs bullpen has struggled in the early going, currently holding the worst ERA in baseball (9.64) and walking the second most (20 in 18 2/3 innings). Cubs manager David Ross offered a straight forward assessment of what he's looking for from his relievers after Wednesday's 12-7 loss to the Reds.
"I'm looking for somebody to get outs, throw strikes. Way too many walks from down there," Ross said. "Some guys have gotta step up and that's some of the stuff that we're finding out here early on, is who's a guy that we can bring in in a big situation and pitch.
"We can match them up as much as we want but guys still have to come in and throw strikes. From a (former) catcher’s standpoint, it’s frustrating to keep giving free passes and you’re going to get into trouble at some point. So, we’ve just got to get better.”
Allen will report to the Cubs alternate training site in South Bend. Their 60-man player pool stands at 58.