Cubs sign reliever Brad Brach

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Chicago Cubs have agreed to a deal with reliever Brad Brach, pending a physical. Jeff Passan says it’s a one-year deal worth $3 million.

Brach, a righty who will turn 33 early in the season, split time in 2018 between the Orioles and the Braves last season, appearing in 69 total games with a 3.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 60/28 in 62.2 innings. Overall that was a down year for him, but he was outstanding following his trade to Atlanta at the end of July. His performance there — a 1.52 ERA in 27 games while allowing far fewer hits and walks — was more in keeping with his strong track record over the past several seasons. Indeed, he has pitched more than 60 innings every year with a 145 ERA+ since 2014.

Which makes one year and three million bucks seem like a heck of an underpay.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.