The Cubs are closing in on a deal with free agent right-hander Kendall Graveman, per ESPN’s Jesse Rogers. The deal is still pending official confirmation, and exact terms of the contract have yet to be publicly disclosed.
Things weren’t looking good for the 28-year-old righty when he was non-tendered by the Athletics in November. Graveman pitched to his worst career numbers during the first half of the season, turning in a 1-5 record in seven starts with a 7.60 ERA, 3.4 BB/9, 7.1 SO/9 and -0.4 fWAR through 34 1/3 innings. In July, a lingering forearm strain led to Tommy John surgery, which effectively decommissioned the starter until the start of the 2020 season.
The hope, of course, is that Graveman will return to the 4.00-ERA, 1.0+ fWAR levels of seasons past, though it doesn’t look like the Cubs are holding their breath on that front. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times points out that the righty isn’t expected to see much, if any playing time during the club’s 2019 campaign and will likely stand in as pitching depth once he makes his eventual return to the mound.