AP sources: Cubs add Villar, Givens in flurry of moves

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs stayed busy on Thursday, agreeing to contracts with infielder Jonathan Villar and pitchers Mychal Givens, Daniel Norris and Robert Gsellman.

The Cubs also finalized right-hander Chris Martin’s one-year deal and placed left-hander Brad Wieck on the 60-day injured list with a left elbow strain.

Villar’s $6 million, one-year deal is pending a physical. He is slated to make $4.5 million in salary in 2022, and there is a $10 million mutual option with a $1.5 million buyout. He earns a $500,000 performance bonus for reaching 500 plate appearances.

The 30-year-old Villar spent last year with the New York Mets, batting .249 with 18 homers and 42 RBIs in 142 games. He can play second, third and shortstop.

Givens’ one-year contract is worth $5 million, according to a person familiar with the move who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been finalized. Givens also can earn $1.25 million in bonuses.

The 31-year-old Givens finished last season with Cincinnati, going 1-1 with a 4.22 ERA and eight saves. He could get the opportunity to pitch at the back end of Chicago’s bullpen.

Norris’ one-year contract is worth $1.75 million, according to a second person familiar with the deal, and the left-hander can earn up to $2 million in incentives. The person spoke to the APs on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been finalized.

Gsellman is in Cubs camp on a non-roster contract, according to a third person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced by the team.

Martin pitched for the World Series champion Braves last year, going 2-4 with a 3.95 ERA in 46 appearances. The 35-year-old right-hander also took the mound in five postseason games, allowing one run and four hits in 4 1/3 innings.

Wieck’s elbow issue popped up during a bullpen session this week. The 6-foot-8 Wieck pitched 17 scoreless innings over 15 appearances with the Cubs in 2021, but he missed much of the season because of a heart issue.

Norris played for Detroit and Milwaukee last year, going 2-3 with a 6.16 ERA in 56 games. Norris, who turns 29 on April 25, was selected by Toronto in the second round of the 2011 amateur draft and made his big league debut with the Blue Jays in 2014.

Norris is 20-34 with a 4.65 ERA in 167 major league games, including 83 starts.

Gsellman spent his first six seasons with the New York Mets, going 20-16 with a 4.59 ERA in 176 games. He went 0-1 with a 3.77 ERA in 17 appearances last year.

Thursday’s additions are the latest in a flurry of moves for the Cubs since they opened spring training — especially on the pitching side. There is concern across the majors about pitching depth with baseball’s adjusted schedule after the lockout.

Veteran reliever David Robertson finalized a $3.5 million, one-year contract on Wednesday. The 36-year-old Robertson also can earn $500,000 in performance bonuses and $1 million in roster bonuses.

The right-hander would receive $125,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 50 games, and $200,000 apiece for 30, 60, 90, 120 and 150 days on the active roster. He would get a $100,000 assignment bonus if traded.

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AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.

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Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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