The Cubs and free-agent righty Dan Winkler are in agreement on a one-year, Major League contract, Robert Murray reports (via Twitter). The MVP Sports Group client elected free agency at season’s end after being outrighted off the Giants’ 40-man roster.
Winkler, 30 in February, was one of the players sent from Atlanta to San Francisco in the Mark Melancon salary dump. He lasted only a day on the Giants’ 40-man roster, though, further underscoring that the trade was primarily a financially motivated transaction.
But while Winkler struggled through 21 2/3 innings at the MLB level in 2019 (4.98 ERA, 22-to-11 K/BB ratio), he was a very effective bullpen piece with the Braves just a year prior. In 2018, Winkler returned from a grueling injury absence to post 60 1/3 innings of 3.43 ERA ball with 10.3 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9.
Winkler had previously gone down to Tommy John surgery in 2014 and, upon returning to the mound in 2016, sustained another gut-wrenching injury when he (audibly) fractured his elbow while throwing a pitch. From 2015-17, he totaled just 41 1/3 innings between the big leagues and the minors thanks to those injuries, but the right-hander is seemingly healthy now. In addition to his work in the Majors last year, Winkler tossed 30 2/3 innings in Triple-A (with a 2.93 ERA, 29 strikeouts and a troubling 23 walks).
If Winkler is able to return to form with his new team, the Cubs will be able to control him through the 2021 season via arbitration.