Cubs Add Former Nationals Righty Kyle McGowin on Minors Deal

Per an announcement from the Charleston Dirty Birds of the independent Atlantic League, the Cubs have purchased the contract of 32-year-old righty Kyle McGowin. As in, purchased from the Dirty Birds, not added to the 40-man roster. A fifth-round pick by the Dodgers in 2013, McGowin debuted with the Nationals in 2018 and posted a 5.98 ERA in 48 appearances (two starts) over parts of four seasons.

After putting up a 4.20 ERA with 35 strikeouts over 30 innings for the Nats in 2021, McGowin was shelved with a UCL sprain and subsequently outrighted. He was out of baseball the following season and spent 2023 bouncing between Triple-A with the Astros, two different indy leagues, and even the Chinese Professional Baseball League. Now he’s back in affiliated ball after two starts with Charleston that saw him log 11 strikeouts and one walk over 10 innings.

Unless something has changed dramatically, and I’m guessing it hasn’t, McGowin leans very heavily into his slider. We’re talking nearly 70% usage, with his 91 mph fastball making up the rest. That might play for a starter in lower leagues, but it screams reliever at higher levels. Maybe the Cubs see something they can unlock or they simply like the depth he can provide. Chances are good that this is an inconsequential move, but you never know with the way the bullpen has been this season.

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