Cubs traded longtime reliever to make room for Héctor Neris on roster
The Cubs made the Héctor Neris signing official Thursday afternoon.
To make room on the 40-man roster for the newest reliever, the Cubs traded right-handed pitcher Michael Rucker to the Phillies on Tuesday for cash considerations. Rucker had been designated for assignment on Thursday to make room on the 40-man roster.
Rucker was in the Cubs Opening Day bullpen in 2023 and 2022 and had posted a 4.96 ERA in 96 career relief appearances in the big leagues. He was shuttled between Triple-A and the big leagues last season, posting a 1.69 ERA with Iowa.
Rucker made 20 appearances in 2021, 41 in 2022 and pitched in 35 games last season for the Cubs. Only Mark Leiter Jr. (104 games) has more appearances for Chicago over the last 3 years.
The addition of Neris brings a proven veteran with a long track record of success as a major league reliever. The 34-year-old served as Houston’s setup man the last two seasons and was one of Dusty Baker’s most trusted arms in relief.
Over his last two seasons in Houston, the righty posted a 2.69 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with 56 holds. He figures to be a key piece of the Cubs reliever corps that brings back closer Adbert Alzolay, Julian Merryweather and Mark Leiter Jr. The team also added veteran Carl Edwards Jr. on a minor league deal and he could be in play to make the team out of camp.