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The Ex-Cub Factor

One in a series tracking the movements of ex-Cubs.

1. Arismendy Alcantara.

I can remember when some pundits had Alcantara penciled into the lineup as the centerfielder of the future, and he did provide some excitement early on, but he was never quite the prospect inside the organization that he was outside by thirsty Cubs fans prematurely eager for The Plan to kick in.

The Cubs eventually traded him to the A's for Chris Coghlan, which worked out surprisingly well for our side; meanwhile, Alcantara washed out in Oakland. After stints with the Reds and in the Mexican League, the Mets signed a minor-league deal earlier this month.

2. Jason Hammel.

Jason Hammel had some productive seasons with the Cubs and not-so productive years elsewhere over the course of a 13-year career.

The Royals declined an option on him after last season, but he's not quite done. Earlier this month he signed a minor-league deal with the Rangers.

3. Luke Hagerty.

Luke Hagerty is an ex-Cub attempting an unlikely comeback with . . . the Cubs.

"By his junior year [at Ball State], he threw 94. The Chicago Cubs chose him with the 32nd pick in the first round of the 2002 draft and gave him more than $1 million to sign.

"Hagerty went to the Cubs' affiliate in Boise, Idaho, and dominated, and it was supposed to be the start of a meteoric rise, with team officials telling him he could be in the major leagues by the next September.

"He chuckles at that now, the salad days, before he lost the ability to do what was so fundamental: throw a baseball. Before he really learned what it meant to work, and before he had any idea what he could be, and before he was 37 years old, sitting in a hotel room on the outskirts of Seattle, 12 years removed from his last pitch in organized baseball, unable to sleep, his mind racing at 2 a.m., wondering if he actually could convince a room of scouts that he wasn't just some crazy old man who thinks he can still pitch."

Go ahead, click through.

4. Rene Rivera.

Just as I was dismayed the Cubs didn't bring back Alex Avila as a veteran backstop to complement Willson Contreras a couple seasons ago, I was almost equally dismayed they didn't at least bring Rene Rivera.

Now Rivera is a non-roster invitee in the Giants camp hoping to catch on as Buster Posey's back-up.

5. Ryan Dempster.

Named to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, which is fine, but we certainly don't need this to happen.

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Comments welcome.

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Posted on Apr 19, 2019

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