4:09 p.m.: The Cubs officially selected Newcomb’s contract entering Game 2. Infielder David Boat was optioned to Triple-A Iowa to clear the necessary active roster spot.
11:22 a.m.: Ahead of today’s doubleheader against the Cardinals, the Cubs announced some roster changes to reporters, including Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago. Left handed Matt Dermody has opted out of his contract and will serve as the club’s “27th man” during the twin bill. Fellow leftist Sean Newcomb will also have his contract picked up to start the second game. Neither player was on the 40-man roster coming into today, although the trade deadline moves left the Cubs at 37, meaning no corresponding moves will be required. However, a spot on the active roster will have to be created for Newcomb between games.
Newcomb, 29, was once a highly touted prospect with Atlanta and pitched well for them during 2017-2019. In that time, he pitched 332 1/3 innings with a 3.87 ERA, 23% strikeout rate, 11.6% walk rate and 44.7% ground ball rate. However, he had a miserable 2020 and was then moved to the bullpen in 2021, but hasn’t really recaptured his previous form since then. Atlanta designated him for assignment in April and then flipped him to the Cubs, who must have been hoping for a rebound.
He didn’t last very long with the Cubs, being designated for assignment and then promptly after clearing waivers. Since then, he’s pitched well in the minors and extended in the process. He pitched 24 Triple-A innings with a 3.38 ERA, 30.7% strikeout rate and 44.9% ground ball rate, albeit with a scary 17.8% walk rate. His outings gradually increased as the season went on, logging four innings in each of his past two appearances.
It’s possible this is just a spot start for Newcomb to help cover the doubleheader. He is out of options and cannot be sent back down to the minors later. Although if he hangs onto a roster, he can be retained beyond this campaign through arbitration.
Dermody, 32, has 29 games of MLB experience under his belt, most of those coming with the Blue Jays in 2017. Since then, he has only a single big league appearance, which came with the Cubs back in 2020 .He spent the last year. with the Seibu Lions of Nippon Professional Baseball before returning to sign a minor league deal with the Cubs in January. Although primarily a reliever for most of his career, the Cubs gave him some length in the minors this year. He made 13 starts and seven relief appearances in Triple-A on the season, logging 79 1/3 innings with a 3.74 ERA, 20.3% strikeout rate, 5.2% walk rate and 51.2% ground ball rate. Unlike Newcomb, he has options and could be sent back to serve as depth in Triple-A.