ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Cubs added bullpen depth by acquiring right-hander David Phelps from Toronto for minor league righty Thomas Hatch.
As part of the trade announced Tuesday, the Blue Jays agreed to send cash to Chicago to offset some of Phelps’ contract, which includes a $2.5 million base salary for this year, a $1 million club option for 2020 and numerous performance bonuses.
Phelps will cost Chicago a maximum of $1.25 million this year. The Cubs are responsible for the $819,892 remaining of his 2019 salary and the first $430,108 of the performance bonuses Phelps earns.
“There was a time when he was kind of a reverse guy when he first began, would be really good against lefties, cut the ball in, elevated fastball,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s become more of a conventional pitcher the last couple years, but he still has that ability to get out a lefty too, a very aggressive sort, a very, very physical, aggressive, let’s go kind of guy.”
The 32-year-old tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow on March 17, 2017, during his final pitch in a spring training outing against the Los Angeles Angels, had surgery March 26 and did not return to the major leagues until this June 17. He had a 3.63 ERA in 17 relief appearances with the Blue Jays, going 0 for 2 in save chances.
He is 30-33 with a 3.88 ERA over 245 games in seven seasons with the New York Yankees (2012-14), Miami (2015-17), Seattle (2017) and Toronto.
To open a 40-man roster spot for Phelps, the Cubs moved left-hander Xavier Cedeño to the 60-day injured list.
Phelps is the third player in three days traded by the rebuilding Blue Jays after right-hander Marcus Stroman was sent to the New York Mets and utilityman Eric Sogard to Tampa Bay.
Phelps could earn $2.5 million in bonuses this year based on games: $250,000 each for 25, 30 and 35, and $350,000 apiece for 40, 45, 50, 55 and 70. He also could earn $750,000 this year based on games finished: $125,000 each for 25 and 30, and $250,000 apiece for 35 and 40.
His option price would increase to $3 million if he pitches in 30-39 games this year. $5 million if 40-49, $7 million if 50 games. He has differing bonus chances for 2020 depending on his base salary that year.
Hatch, 24, was 4-10 with a 4.59 ERA this season at Double-A Tennessee. Selected by Chicago on the third round of the 2016 amateur draft with the 104th pick, Hatch signed for a $573,900 bonus. He is 17-27 with a 4.10 ERA in 73 starts over three minor league seasons.
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