The Chicago Cubs have announced their first signing of the offseason, bringing on board pitcher Edwin Escobar. The news was first reported by Venezuela’s Luis Enrique Morales on Monday night, where Escobar is currently pitching in the Winter Leagues. The deal was also reported by several outlets in Japan, where Escobar had been playing for the last six seasons.
Escobar, a former Top-100 prospect, last pitched in the big leagues in 2016 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, appearing in 25 games and posting a 7.23 ERA. He has spent the last seven years pitching in Japan, including the last six with the Yokohama Bay Stars. In 58 total appearances between the Japanese and Venezuelan Winter League, Escobar has a 4-2 record with a 3.33 ERA, striking out 46 batters in 51.1 innings of work.
According to a note from Bleacher Nation, Escobar is notable because he has been a teammate of pitcher Shota Imanaga, who is expected to come to the big leagues in 2024 and has been repeatedly connected to the Cubs in free agency rumors.
It remains unclear what type of contract Escobar signed, but it is likely that he will come to spring training with an opportunity to compete for a spot in the Cubs’ bullpen.