In a move that was first reported over the weekend but that I wasn’t able to write up due to other commitments, the Cubs added former Twins and Red Sox lefty Stephen Gonsalves to the organization with a minor league deal. The 27-year-old actually spent seven seasons in the Twins system after being drafted by Minnesota out of high school in 2013, making his debut in 2018.
Gonsalves spent most of this past season at Triple-A Worcester, putting up big strikeout and walk numbers, but got a cup of coffee with three MLB games. Control has been a serious issue for him throughout his career and he’s issued 24 walks against 20 strikeouts over 29 big league innings, plus he’s way too far along to assume these are just aberrant issues. That said, he’s a lefty who can touch mid-90’s with his fastball and has a solid pair of breaking balls with the slider and curve.
There’s no harm at all in getting this guy in the pitch lab and seeing if something can be tweaked to dial that control in just a little more. One such tweak might involve moving him out of a starting role and into the bullpen, something I’m actually pretty shocked neither of his previous organizations really tried. The Red Sox did use him mainly as a reliever at Triple-A in ’21 and all three of his appearances for Boston were as a reliever, I just figured the Twins would have tried to leverage that more.
Expect the Cubs to keep making under-the-radar moves like this during the lockout since minor league deals can still be consummated.