Cubs Add Bullpen Depth, Acquire LHP Caleb Smith Through Rule 5 Draft; Lose Armando Rivero to Braves

The Chicago Cubs added LHP Caleb Smith from the Milwaukee Brewers today for cash considerations. Smith was drafted with the seventh overall pick in today’s Major League Rule 5 draft by the Brewers. He was drafted from the New York Yankees organization, who lost seven players in the Rule 5 draft, by far the most of any organization.

Smith will get a shot to make the Cubs active roster (25-man) in spring training and, should he make the grade, would be a logic replacement of LHP Travis Wood, who is a free agent and is unlikely to return to the Cubs in 2017.

Caleb is 25 years old and was drafted in the 14th round of the 2013 draft by the Yankees. He’s bounced around the Yankees minor league system over the last few years, making it as high a Triple-A. In 2016 he played 27 games in Double-A ball and posted a 3.96/3.15 ERA/FIP. He managed a to have a solid 25.1 K% and 7.2 BB% throughout the year. If the Cubs decide not to keep him on the active roster the Yankees will have the opportunity to re-claim him for $50,000. It’s not known how much cash the Cubs paid to the Brewers to attain Smith.

The Cubs also acquired INF Kevin Cornelius from the New York Yankees in the Minor League portion of the Rule 5 draft today. Cornelius is 24 years old and spent 43 games in 2016 in high A, where he slashed .277/.374/.493. He also had a 25.1 K% and 12.9 BB%. Since he was acquired in the minor portion of the draft he is now a permanent member of the Cubs organization.

On the flip-side, the Cubs lost two players in the draft. RHP Armando Rivero was selected with the fifth overall pick by the Atlanta Braves in the Major League draft. INF Daniel Lockhart was selected in the Minor League draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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