Cubs make several roster moves
|Saturday, March 19, 2022, 5:14 PM-|
MESA – The Chicago Cubs today agreed to terms on one-year major league contracts with mutual options for 2023 with infielder Jonathan Villar and left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly. The Cubs have also agreed to terms on a one-year major league contract with left-handed pitcher Daniel Norris. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.
In corresponding moves, infielder David Bote was placed on the 60-day injured list while recovering from left shoulder surgery and right-handed pitcher Tommy Nance was placed on the COVID-19 related injured list.
Villar, 30, owns a career .258 average (857-for-3,328) with 155 doubles, 17 triples, 98 home runs, 325 RBI and 232 stolen bases in 973 major league games with Houston (2013-15), Milwaukee (2016-18), Baltimore (2018-19), Miami (2020), Toronto (2020) and the Mets (2021). Since his debut in 2013, his 232 steals are the fourth-most in the majors. He is one of two players (also Starlin Castro) to make 300 or more starts at both second base and shortstop since 2013.
The six-foot Villar last season batted .249 (113-for-454) with 18 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs, 42 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 142 games for the Mets. The switch-hitting infielder hit .275 (52-for-189) with seven home runs and 14 RBI in 50 games out of the leadoff spot and went 13-for-38 (.342) with 11 walks in 50 leadoff plate appearances. On July 9, he became the 10th player in Mets history to homer from both sides of the plate in one game.
Smyly, 32, notched a career-high 11 wins, en route to his first World Series championship with the Braves in 2021. The left-handed pitcher was one of three Braves pitchers with 10-plus wins and one of four to start 20-plus games, going 11-4 with a 4.48 ERA (63 ER/126.2 IP). He appeared in three postseason games for Atlanta, earning his second career playoff victory in game four of the NLCS vs. the Dodgers (2 ER/3.1 IP).
Smyly has played all or part of eight major league seasons with Detroit (2012-14), Tampa Bay (2014-16), Texas (2019), Philadelphia (2019), San Francisco (2020) and Atlanta (2021), pitching to a career 46-39 record with a 4.18 ERA (389 ER/837.1 IP) in 217 games (134 starts). The lefthander signed with the Cubs prior to the 2018 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and was traded to Texas in November of 2018.
Norris, 28, is 20-34 with a 4.65 ERA (264 ER/511.0 IP) in 167 career games (83 starts) for Toronto (2014-15), Detroit (2015-21) and Milwaukee (2021). The left-handed pitcher appeared in a career-high 56 games, all in relief for Detroit and Milwaukee in 2021, going 2-3 with a 6.16 ERA (39 ER/57.0 IP) and earned his first career save on July 27 in Minnesota. He was traded from Detroit to Milwaukee on July 30 for right-handed pitcher Reese Olson.
A Johnson City, Tenn., native, Norris was selected in the second round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft by Toronto out of Science Hill High School in Johnson City. He was acquired by Detroit on July 30, 2015 with left-handed pitchers Matthew Boyd and Jairo Labourt for left-handed pitcher David Price.
Bote, 28, underwent left shoulder surgery this offseason after being limited to 97 games for the Cubs in 2021. He missed time with a dislocated left shoulder (May 30-July 25) and sprained right ankle (August 28-Sept. 6). He last season hit .199 (48-for-291) with eight homers and 35 RBI.
Nance, 31, made his major league debut for the Cubs in 2021, going 1-1 with a 7.22 ERA (23 ER/28.2 IP) in 27 games, all out of the bullpen.