The Chicago Cubs have had a quiet offseason to this point, but the organization may soon add a low-key depth piece for their bullpen.
According to Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register on Twitter, Colin Rea may be on the radar of the Chicago Cubs. Rea is a 28-year-old right-handed pitcher that was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 12th round of the 2011 first-year player draft.
Following a stellar 1.95 ERA and 1.003 WHIP through 18 starts between AA and AAA in 2015, he was called up to the major league level by the Padres. Through 6 starts, he put together a 2-2 win-loss record with a 4.26 ERA, a 3.45 FIP, and a 1.263 WHIP in 31.2 innings pitched.
This performance earned him another opportunity at the big league level for the Padres for the 2016 season. During this season, he put together a 4.98 ERA, a 4.76 FIP, and a 1.460 WHIP through 19 appearances (18 starts). Following this performance, the Padres included him in a trade with the Miami Marlins alongside Andrew Cashner, Tayron Guerrero, and cash in exchange for Jarred Cosart, Luis Castillo, Carter Capps, and Josh Naylor.
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However, after 1 start with the Marlins in which he pitched 3.1 innings while allowing 1 hit and 0 walks, Rea has not been able to make another start at the major league level. This was due to suffering a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Due to the injury, the Marlins ended up sending Rea back to the Padres in exchange for Castillo to undo a small portion of the aforementioned trade.
After missing the entire 2017 season, Rea was able to compile 18 appearances (15 starts) in the Padres minor league system in 2018. During this time, he put together a 3-5 record with a 5.73 ERA and a 1.673 WHIP through 75.1 innings pitched. Even though this was his first season since undergoing Tommy John surgery, the Padres chose to non-tender the right-handed reliever during the current offseason.
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Due to this, the Chicago Cubs now have an opportunity to sign the right-handed pitcher from Cascade, Iowa. Although signing Rea would not be a big-name addition that many have been waiting for this offseason, he would provide much-needed depth for both the bullpen and starting rotation ahead of the upcoming season.