Roster Move: Cubs add lefty reliever Blake Weimann
USA Today Sports

Roster Move: Cubs add lefty reliever Blake Weimann

by - Senior Writer -

At some point, you knew the slow process of free agency would start to roll once again, and it happened when the team added Hector Neris over the weekend. His addition was a much-needed upgrade to a bullpen that still has a lot of question marks that need to be addressed. Apart from that signing, there are still holes for this team to fill, and with Spring Training rapidly approaching, it is starting to become a mystery as to how those holes will be filled.

One thing that Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins continue to believe in is stashing away as much minor league depth as possible, which is something he has done since taking over as Cubs president. You saw that earlier this offseason, with some of the moves they made, and after going quiet for a bit, the addition of Carl Edwards Jr added to the minor League options.

A few days later, Hoyer added to the minor league system once again as left-hander Blake Weiman and the Cubs appear to have agreed on a Minor League deal for the 2024 season. This is not only one of those depth signings that Hoyer has been known for, but it is also a developmental play that comes with a very high upside. In other words, this is a win-win pickup for the Cubs as it is a cost-effective signing that won't cost much should it not work out.

In a recent post by the Driveline Pitching Academy, Weiman was in attendance doing a throwing session with the opportunity to impress some teams. He must have impressed the Cubs as they were not only in attendance but liked what they saw enough to bring him aboard for the 2024 season.

An eighth-round pick in 2017 by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Weiman has always been a very solid Minor League pitcher but has yet to get over that hump to reach the majors. He is hoping his offseason work at the Driveline can help unlock something that wasn't there before with a chance to do something special this season.

Immediately after the Pirates selected him, Weiman made a name for himself and was one of the more dominating relievers in the minors. His performance got him to AAA rather quickly and had him knocking on the MLB door. Most recently, Weiman latched on to the Mariners organization in 2022, and despite continuing to dominate through AA, he hasn't had much success in his four stints at AAA.

A big reason for his struggles at AAA has been a decrease in strikeout rate, home run issues, and being more of a fly ball pitcher than a ground ball pitcher. You can get away with that in some places, but when you look at AAA and how much offense they have had in recent seasons, being a fly-ball pitcher is never good.

That is why he can get away with allowing fly balls in AA, as a lot of the hitters are far from polished products. Once you get to AAA and start facing much better hitters, they make you pay for mistakes, which is something Weiman has done far too much of. That is the main reason why he went to the Driveline this offseason, as he wants to work on keeping the ball down as opposed to elevating it like in the past.

When you look at his minor league career, the 6-3 lefty has posted a 21-16 record with an ERA of 3.89. He has 62 walks and 286 punchouts, so command hasn't been that much of a factor for him. Take away his three seasons where his ERA was approaching 5.00, and he would be in the 3.5 range, which goes to show you his overall body of work.

Weiman isn't a flame thrower, but at 93-94 MPH, he does just enough to put hitters away while also changing speeds. Unlike most of the Cubs minor League pickups this season, look for this to be a true minor league acquisition, as there is no Spring Training Invite attached to the deal. However, as you have seen in the past, all it takes is for one good spring to turn heads which is what Mark Leiter Jr did last season.

Perhaps that is what Weiman is trying to do once spring hits, as he could potentially force himself onto the roster with a strong spring showing. Although it doesn't happen often, it does happen, and if he can blow the doors off in spring, the Cubs are going to be forced to make a tough decision on him.

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