The Cubs announced Thursday that they have signed righty Kelvin Herrera and lefty Matt Dermody to minor league deals, assigning both to the alternate site at South Bend. Counting on either to have an impact in Chicago — or a different kind of impact in Herrera’s case — would be unwise, but this move adds depth to a bullpen that still hasn’t quite solidified.
Once a mainstay of the Royals bullpen, the 30-year-old Herrera has fallen off over the last two seasons with the White Sox. He set the wrong kind of career highs with a 9.8% walk rate and 6.14 ERA last season, then was designated for assignment after allowing four earned runs in just 2.1 innings this year.
His fastball, which used to touch triple digits, is down around 94 mph these days. The sinker has become his weapon of choice, though it’s not really getting any outs.
Dermody’s entire professional career had been spent with the Blue Jays, who took him in the 28th round of the 2013 draft. The 30-year-old southpaw debuted briefly in 2016 and appeared in 23 games a year later, but hasn’t pitched in the majors since and his most recent action came in the independent Constellation Energy League.
Mainly a sinker/slider guy, Dermody’s game is predicated on keeping the ball on the ground and in the ballpark.That worked fairly well for him in the minors, but seven homers allowed in 25.1 MLB innings is downright Kimbrelian.
Hey, maybe the Cubs saw something in one or both of these guys that everyone else missed and there’ll be a chance for big turnarounds. I’m not betting on it, but these are the kind of low-risk moves contending teams make as the season plays out.