4:09 p.m.: The Cubs officially selected Newcomb’s contract ahead of Game 2. David Bote was picked for Triple-A Iowa to clear the needed active roster spot.
11:22 a.m.: Ahead of today’s doubleheader against the Cardinals, the Cubs announced a roster shakeup to reporters, including NBC Sports Chicago’s Gordon Wittenmyer. left handed Matt Dermody had his contract selected and will serve as the club’s ’27th man’ during the double bill. left-handed companion Sean Newcomb will also see his contract selected to start Game 2. Neither player was on the 40-man slate today, although trade deadline moves left the Cubs at 37, meaning no matching moves will be needed. However, a spot on the active roster will need to be created for Newcomb between matches.
Newcomb, 29, was once a highly touted prospect with Atlanta and pitched well for them in the 2017-19 stretch. During that time, he pitched 332 1/3 innings with a 3.87 ERA, 23% strikeout rate, 11.6% walk rate and 44.7 rush rate. %. However, he had a miserable 2020 and then moved to the bullpen in 2021, but hasn’t really returned to his previous form since. Atlanta picked him up for assignment in April, then sent him back to the Cubs, who were surely hoping for a rebound.
He didn’t last very long with the Cubs, being nominated for an assignment and then outright after getting the waivers. Since then he has been throwing well in the minors and stretching in the process. He pitched 24 Triple-A innings with a 3.38 ERA, 30.7% strikeout rate and 44.9% rush rate, but with a chilling 17 walk rate, 8%. His outings have gradually increased over the season, recording four innings in each of his last two appearances.
It’s possible this is just a starting point for Newcomb to help cover the doubleheader. He has no more options and cannot be returned to the minors afterwards. Although if he hangs on to a spot on the roster, he may be retained beyond this campaign by arbitration.
Dermody, 32, has 29 games of MLB experience under his belt, most of those with the Blue Jays in 2017. Since then, he’s only made one big league appearance, which came with the Cubs in 2020. He spent the last year with the Seibu Lions of Nippon Professional Baseball before returning to sign a minor league contract with the Cubs in January. Although primarily a reliever for most of his career, the Cubs gave him some minor length this year. He made 13 starts and seven appearances in relief in Triple-A during the season, recording 79 1/3 innings with a 3.74 ERA, a 20.3 percent strikeout rate, a 5.2% walking and a 51.2% ground ball rate. Unlike Newcomb, he has options and could be fired to serve as depth in Triple-A.