Cubs, Carlos Villanueva nearing deal

Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

Chicago is said to be close to a contract with the right-handed reliever.

The Chicago Cubs might soon bolster their pitching corps, as the team is nearing a deal with free-agent right-hander Carlos Villanueva, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. The terms of the potential agreement are not yet known.

The 29-year-old Villanueva spent the last two seasons bouncing between the Blue Jays' rotation and bullpen, starting 29 contests and appearing in relief 42 times and demonstrating greater effectiveness out of the pen. During his time in Toronto, the northpaw tossed 232⅓ innings and allowed 8.4 hits per nine innings.

The fly-ball pitcher struggled to keep the ball in the park, allowing 1.3 home runs per nine innings and showed shaky command, walking three batters per nine. However, Villanueva does strike out about a batter per inning and sees his pitches play up in the pen.

As a soft-tosser, Villanueva would be best-served coming out of the bullpen for Chicago. He has a five-pitch mix, relying mostly on a four-seam fastball, a changeup, and a slider. If he does sign on with Cubbies, the right-hander will join fellow pitchers Scott Baker and Scott Feldman on the short list of acquisitions by the club this offseason.

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