Paniagua Signs With Cubs
CHICAGO — Based on the sneak preview from last summer, the Cubs can't wait to see what Juan Carlos Paniagua can do in a full season.
"Obviously, he's got a really big arm," said Jason McLeod, the Cubs' scouting and farm director.
With his pro career stuck in limbo for almost three years as deals with Arizona and the Yankees were nullified over questions of his age and the filing of false documents, Paniagua may have lagged behind in his development. But he showed enough in May in Puerto Rico to build an even greater market, an impressive feat since his signing came after new spending limits were instituted.
The Cubs gave Paniagua a $1.5 million bonus as the conclusion of a process that saw him originally sign with the Diamondbacks for $17,000 in 2009. That deal was voided because of identity fraud (he had signed as Juan Carlos Collado), and he was declared ineligible to sign for a year, after which the Yankees agreed to a $1.1 million bonus. Major League Baseball voided that agreement and imposed another one-year penalty, leaving him available for the Cubs.
Paniagua signed with the Cubs in July, and MLB approved the deal Aug. 24. He got on the mound twice in the Rookie-level Arizona League, and in one of those outings hit 100 on the radar gun.
"Who knows how much adrenaline he had going," McLeod said. "Our reports had him consistently in the low 90s with the chance to elevate to the upper 90s."
The Cubs feel that the 22-year-old has wasted enough time. They expect to put him in the rotation for low Class A Kane County or high Class A Daytona next April and see where his talent takes him.
"He needs innings more than anything," McLeod said. "We want to get a chance to see what he looks like pitching a full season."
• Shortstop Junior Lake played some left field for Estrellas in the Dominican League while hitting .312/.382/.474 in 44 games, ranking in the top 10 in home runs (five), RBIs (24) and stolen bases (11).
• The Cubs signed 36-year-old Korean submariner Chang-Yong Lim, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, to a minor league deal. Lim had 128 saves and a 2.09 ERA in five seasons with Yakult in Japan.