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Cubs Designate Michael Rucker For Assignment

The Cubs have designated right-hander Michael Rucker for assignment, per Bruce Levine of WSCR. That moves opens a roster spot for Héctor Neris, whose signing is now official.

Rucker, 29, has been on the Cubs’ roster since the end of July 2021. He stayed with the big league club for the remainder of that season and has been serving as a frequently-optioned depth arm for the past two years. In the past three years combined, he has appeared in 96 big league games and logged 123 1/3 innings, allowing 4.96 earned runs per nine. His 22.6% strikeout rate, 9.4% walk rate and 46.6% ground ball rate are all around league average.

As mentioned, he was frequently sent on optional assignments, meaning he’s also thrown 76 innings of Triple-A ball over those three seasons. He posted a 3.20 ERA at that level over that time period, pairing a 26% strikeout rate with a 7.1% walk rate, while also getting grounders on nearly half of the balls in play he’s allowed.

Despite those generally solid results, he’s been nudged off the club’s roster this winter. The Cubs added Michael Busch and Yency Almonte in a trade with the Dodgers and have also signed free agents Shota Imanaga and Neris.

They will now have one week to trade Rucker or attempt to pass him through waivers. He could garner interest from other clubs based on his track record and roster flexibility. He still has one option year remaining and won’t need to be carried on an active roster. His service time clock is also just shy of two years, meaning he’s at least a year away from qualifying for arbitration and could be retained well into the future. If he were to pass through waivers unclaimed, he could stick with the Cubs as non-roster depth.


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