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Cubs add three prospects to 40-man roster, protecting them from Rule 5 Draft

7 months agoAndy Martinez

The Cubs protected a trio of players from the Rule 5 Draft on Tuesday night.

The team selected the contracts of left-handed pitcher Bailey Horn (Triple-A), right-handed pitcher Porter Hodge (Double-A) and right-handed pitcher Michael Arias (High-A). The moves bring the Cubs’ 40-man roster to 40.

Horn, 25, was acquired at the 2021 trade deadline for Ryan Tepera from the White Sox. He posted a 4.21 ERA with 3 saves and 78 strikeouts in 62 innings across 45 games. He was promoted to Iowa after posting a 2.00 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in 9 innings at Double-A to open the year.

His addition gives the Cubs a left-handed relief depth option in their organization. The team struggled to find a solid lefty reliever this past season after Brandon Hughes’ season-ending injury and relied heavily on Mark Leiter Jr. — and later Drew Smyly — against southpaws. Hughes, Luke Little and Horn are the lefty relief options for the Cubs, assuming Smyly returns to the rotation in 2024.

Hodge, 22, shifted to a relief role in June and had a 4.45 ERA in 32.1 relief innings with 43 strikeouts. Hodge has a 60-grade fastball to go with a 60-grade slider, per MLB Pipeline. The 6-foot, 4-inch righty was a 13th round pick in the 2019 draft and could factor into the Cubs’ bullpen mix.

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Arias is an intriguing addition to the 40-man roster. The 21-year-old was primarily a starter in 2023 with Low-A and High-A, posting a 4.09 ERA in 22 starts across both levels. He had a solid 31.3 strikeout percentage and opponents hit just .222 off him. He is the 12th-ranked prospect, per MLB Pipeline and has a fastball that sits in the upper 90s with an upper 80s changeup.

The Dominican Republic native originally signed for $10,000 with the Blue Jays as a shortstop in 2018. Toronto released the righty in May 2020 and the Cubs signed him as a pitcher 8 months later. Arias’ stuff could mean he could feature as a reliever for the Cubs in the near future.

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