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The Chicago Cubs have made their first signing of the offseason, inking pitcher Edwin Escobar to a deal. The news was first reported by Luis Enrique Morales in Venezuela, where Escobar is currently pitching in the Winter Leagues. Several outlets in Japan also reported the signing, as that is where Escobar had pitched for the last six seasons.

Escobar, a former Top-100 prospect, last pitched in the big leagues in 2016 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, appearing in 25 games and posting a 7.23 ERA. He has spent the last seven seasons pitching in Japan, including the last six with the Yokohama Bay Stars. In 58 total appearances between the Japanese and Venezuelan Winter League, Escobar has a 4-2 record with a 3.33 ERA, striking out 46 batters in 51.1 innings of work.

The Cubs are likely bringing Escobar to spring training with an opportunity to compete for a spot in their bullpen. It is unclear what type of contract he signed, but it is likely that he will be looking to prove himself once again at the big league level after spending several years away from Major League Baseball.

It’s worth noting that Escobar has also been a teammate of pitcher Shota Imanaga, who is expected to come to the big leagues in 2024 and has been repeatedly connected to the Cubs in free agency rumors. This could potentially lead to some interesting dynamics within the Cubs’ bullpen if both players make it onto the roster together.

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