Spring training is only days away, and the Cubs’ equipment truck left Wrigley Field on Friday for Mesa, Arizona.
Shortly after the truck embarked on its journey, the Cubs made two roster moves. They signed right-handed reliever Tony Barnette to a free-agent contract and outrighted left-handed pitcher Ian Clarkin to Triple-A Iowa.
Barnette, 35, signed a one-year contract plus a club option for 2020. The deal is worth $750,000 this year, with the option worth $3 million.
Barnette went 2-0 with a 2.39 ERA and a WHIP of 0.91 in 22 relief appearances for the Texas Rangers last season. In
261/3 innings pitched, he allowed 19 hits while walking five and striking out 26. His season ended in July because of a right shoulder strain.
For his career, Barnette is 11-4 with a 3.50 ERA in 125 relief appearances over the past three seasons with Texas.
Barnette was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 10th round of the 2006 draft out of Arizona State. He pitched in the D’Backs’ minor league system for four seasons before joining Japan’s Yakult Swallows in 2010.
He pitched six seasons for Yakult, making 260 relief appearances. He had
41 saves and a 1.29 ERA in his final season in Japan in 2015. Barnette is from Anchorage, Alaska, and he’s looking to become the first player from that state to appear in a big-league game for the Cubs.
The Cubs on Friday also announced Clarkin cleared waivers and was sent to Iowa. Clarkin had spent this offseason going back and forth between the Cubs and the White Sox on waivers.
Cubs pitchers and catchers hold their first formal workouts of spring training Feb. 13. Position players have their first full-squad workout Feb. 18.