Cubs add righty pitcher JC Coronado
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Cubs add righty pitcher JC Coronado

by - Senior Writer -

Leave it to the Chicago Cubs to steal the show when it comes to baseball news on Monday. After Tom Ricketts talked during the Cubs workouts Monday morning about the team not willing to negotiate with Cody Bellinger and Scott Boras at this time, many of the fans shook their head. Sure, not adding him would be a missed opportunity, but hearing that they don't want to budge on his asking price is a good thing.

Free agency is supposed to be a negotiation period, and Boras doesn't want to negotiate right now. Ricketts has also said the team has discussed adding Bellinger, but no formal negotiations have been given. That could be the Cubs loss if they don't add Bellinger, but the longer he goes unsigned the worse it will get as he is less likely to get what Boras is asking.

There is a reason why no team has been willing to meet the demands of Boras for any of his clients. The bottom line is they don't feel any of his clients are worth what he is valuing them at right now, and some are concerned Bellinger may go back to his days in Los Angeles more so than what he did last year. Should that happen, not adding him would be a blessing in disguise, as he would become a Jason Heyward 2.0.

Now that the Bellinger daily news is out of the way, we can shift our gears to the one move the Cubs made, which came out of nowhere and was a surprise. Whether you like the Jed Hoyer approach or not, one thing he does well is finding talent across the board, no matter where you are from. That is the case with the Cub's most recent signing, as they have added right-handed pitcher JC Coronado from the Independent League and have signed him to a minor league deal.

Given the Cubs track record with their pitch lab and potential flyer-type deals, this is one of those additions, as this is a classic low-risk, high-upside deal. This became official shortly after Coronado was seen at the Cubs facility, as many thought he was coming in for a workout, not an actual deal.

Any time you add a pitcher out of Independent ball, it does bring some serious questions about the type of pitcher they are. Still, at just 22 years old, Coronado has a ton of potential to make himself a reliable piece in the Cubs' organization. While pitching in the Independent Pioneer League, Coronado did have much work as he threw a total of 10 innings.

Those 10 innings were far from impressive as his 13.50 ERA is not a good sight, nor were the 10 walks to eight strikeouts. Going further, it looks like Coronado also pitched in the Victoria Independent League in Texas, although no stats were available from his time there, so there is no indication if last year was who he is or the Victoria days were.

Why would the Cubs sign someone with an ERA north of 13 and less than 20 innings to a minor league deal? Well, his potential stands out, which was discovered during his time in the JUCO college circuit. Coronado averages better than 97 MPH with his heater and has touched triple digits on plenty of occasions, including his time in the Independent League last year.

Not only that, but at 6-1 and 180 pounds, Coronado has a solid build, but a lot more can be added to his overall frame. If that happens, who knows how much more velocity can be gained on that heater? However, as good as that heater is, you need more than one pitch to make it in this league, which is the main thing Coronado will work on in the pitch lab.

The Cubs love the spin he puts on a baseball and want to see his breaking stuff, along with a change-up. If he can show even minimal progress with those pitches, he could become an excellent bullpen option with more potential than that. This is clearly a scouting play by this team, but looking at his lively fastball makes you wonder if the Cubs wanted to add him just to have him inside their organization.

In terms of how he fits in with this organization in 2024. Unlike many of the Cubs minor league additions, Coronado will not have an invite to spring, but instead will be assigned to Minor League camp. He then will be working toward landing inside the organization as the Arizona Complex League is the most likely destination at this point.

That makes him more of a long-term developmental project than a near-future big-league contributor. It's always good to take a chance on as many developmental projects as possible, even if Coronado is years away from doing anything.

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