Roster Move: Cubs sign veteran pitcher Julio Teheran
Dale Zanine - USA Today Sports

Roster Move: Cubs sign veteran pitcher Julio Teheran

by - Senior Writer -

A lot of talk was made about the Cubs' offseason and the lack of pitchers they acquired. Sure, they did add Shota Imanaga, but with Jameson Taillon and Justin Steele both on the IL, the Cubs' lack of impact starting pitchers has been evident this season. To Jed Hoyer's credit, you are starting to see some of the farm system lead the way with Javier Assad, Ben Brown, and Jordan Wicks all in the rotation, but more help is on the way.

Still, until guys like Cade Horton arrive in the MLB, the Cubs could still use some more starting pitching depth. To that end, they added Julio Teheran on Sunday. Granted, this is only a minor league contract, so it is nothing to get excited about, but Teheran is still a long-time veteran who has had some success in the past and will be an excellent addition to the Cubs' Minor League roster.

The 33-year-old has been around for more than 10 years and was someone many thought would end up with the Cubs at some point over the past few years. Although it may be a few years later than expected, he is officially in the Cubs organization, and now the Cubs are going to see what they can do with him.

Despite both Assad and Brown continuing to display great potential in the starting rotation, their absence from the bullpen was felt immediately, which was a big reason for the Cubs' early-season bullpen struggles. The bullpen has done a much better job lately, but that is still a work in progress throughout the first month of the season as Craig Counsell continues to mix and match what combos work and which ones don't.

Teheran is one of those guys who can help with that. He not only has the starting experience that the Cubs are looking for in a depth piece, but he also has bullpen experience should the Cubs need more arms at some point this season. After signing a one-year 2.5 million dollar deal with the Mets this offseason, Teheran was expected to battle for one of the final rotation spots on that team.

However, after an awful spring and then a rough start to the season, the Mets chose to release Teheran. He elected to hit the free agent market, which is how the Cubs stumbled on him. He made one appearance with the Mets this season, so the sample size for 2024 is microscopic, but given his track record, you know what you are going to get out of him more often than not.

As mentioned, Teheran has been around for a while, but he has yet to play a fully successful season since 2019 when his ERA was 3.81 across 33 starts. Since that season, Teheran has had a tough time finding an organization to latch on to, although he did cross paths with Counsell during his time with the Brewers last season. That alone is worth noting, as Counsell must've liked something in Teheran to at least convince the front office to bring him in on a minor-league deal.

With all the injuries sustained on the Cubs Major League Roster and the promotions from Iowa that have come with it, it's easy to understand why Teheran picked the Cubs in free agency over other teams. Teheran isn't going to be a quality arm that the Cubs can count on long-term, but he is an arm that can fill a variety of roles both at the MLB level and the Minor League Level.

Ideally, the Cubs are banking on Taillon returning within a week, and Steele is expected to come back sometime in May. This would move Assad and Brown from the rotation back to the bullpen. That would make it tough for Teheran to find a spot on the Cubs MLB roster, but at the very least, he could fill the AAA role that was occupied by Brown early in the season.

Before signing with the Cubs, Teheran played for the Braves, Angels, Tigers, Brewers, and Mets and has had mixed results. He has pitched in 255 games over his career, 248 of which were starts, and has posted an 81-82 record with a respectable 3.85 ERA. The record could be better, but the ERA isn't bad, as he has shown the ability to pitch well enough to keep his team in games, but he didn't always get the run support he deserved.

Teheran went 3-5 with the Brewers last season with a 4.40 ERA across his 14 games and 11 starts. His best season came in 2013, when he won a career-high 14 games, going 14-8 with a 3.20 ERA. He followed that up with 14 wins again in 2014 with 13 losses, but he had a career-best 2.89 ERA that season and has never had an ERA north of 4.40 when pitching in more than 15 games.

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