Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs

MLB Trade: Chicago Cubs add pitching depth in low-risk trade with Braves

Sean Newcomb trade details: Chicago Cubs pull off an early-season low-risk trade with Atlanta Braves.

The Chicago Cubs struck a deal with the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday in an effort to bolster their bullpen. The Cubbies added reliever Sean Newcomb, who was recently designated for assignment. In return, the Braves received veteran pitcher Jesse Chavez and cash considerations.

Newcomb, a former first-round pick of the Los Angeles Angels back in 2014, had spent the last six seasons with Atlanta. He enjoyed moderate success early in his career, but the last few seasons have been a disaster.

The question on the North Side is whether or not he can return to his earlier days of glory? It’s a low-risk trade given where the Cubs are in their soft rebuild, but what exactly should fans expect?

Sean Newcomb trade details: What are the Cubs getting?

Sean Newcomb spent his first couple seasons in Atlanta as part of the starting rotation. His inability to throw strikes led to the southpaw being sent to the bullpen in 2019. Newcomb posted a respectable 3.87 ERA during his first three seasons in the big leagues, but his 1.399 WHIP was less than ideal.

The 2020 season was disastrous for Newcomb. The left-hander actually returned to the rotation and in four starts struck out just 10 batters while walking six and posted a horrendous ERA of 11.20. Last year, Newcomb returned to the bullpen. While his strikeout numbers were up (28.7% K-rate), his walk-rate (18.0%) was atrocious.

Newcomb walked four batters in his five appearances out of the bullpen this season, and the Braves decided that was enough. Atlanta designated Newcomb for assignment on Tuesday.

The Chicago Cubs, hoping to strengthen their bullpen, decided to take a flier on Sean Newcomb by swinging a trade with the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday. Chicago only had one left-handed reliever (Daniel Norris) in their bullpen, so this is a low-risk move that could pay dividends for the Cubs this season.

Jesse Chavez, who’s made three relief appearances for Chicago this season, will return to Atlanta for a third time. Chavez pitched for the Braves in 2010 and 2021. Last season with the Braves, Chavez owned a 2.14 ERA in 33.2 innings of work.

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