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The Ex-Cub Factor

One in an occasional series tracking the movements of former Cubs.

1. Tuffy Rhodes.

"Tuffy Rhodes could be tough to figure out," Jason Coskrey writes for the Japan Times.

Sometimes, he'd flash a big smile and crack jokes. Catch him in a good mood, and you might forget you weren't actually an old friend. Other times, Rhodes gave off an aura that said it'd be best to find whatever you were looking for somewhere else.

If he'd homered in a loss, he would shoo away reporters and tell them "home runs don't matter when you lose." If his team had won, nothing was off limits, even if he'd had a bad game.

Rhodes wasn't a robot. He rose with wins and sunk with losses. He was many things, but most of all, he was human.

Despite what the majority of voting members of the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame may try to tell you, he also deserves to be enshrined there with other Japanese baseball greats.

Another Hall of Fame announcement came and went [last month] without Rhodes' name in bold, black katakana characters on the top half of the page. Instead, Rhodes was in his usual place (and typeface) about halfway down the list of candidates.

Somehow fitting. In some ways, he's the ultimate ex-Cub, a flash, a bust, a success elsewhere and yet, in the end, unvalidated.

2. Hector Rondon.

Getting out of Houston just in time, our old friend has signed a 1-year, $3 million deal with the Diamondbacks.

3. Dusty Baker.

Retained by the Houston Astros as their crisis communications manager.

4. Chris Denorfia.

"Chris Denorfia has been hired to manage Colorado's Eastern League affiliate, the Hartford Yard Goats. The 39-year-old Wheaton College product played for five teams from 2005-2015, primarily the San Diego Padres."

Denorfia appeared in 103 games for the Cubs in 2015.

"On September 28, in the Cubs final regular season home game of the year, Denorfia hit a game-winning pinch-hit home run in the 11th inning to beat the Kansas City Royals, 1-0. He became the first pinch hitter in Major League history to hit a walk-off home run for the only run of the game."

Denorfia later wound up in the Cubs' front office.

"On March 9, 2018, Denorfia retired and became a special assistant in the Chicago Cubs front office. In 2019, he joined the Cubs' coaching staff as a quality assurance coach. Following the hire of new manager David Ross after the 2019 season, it was announced that Denorfia would not return to the coaching staff."

5. Carlos Zambrano.

"Right-hander Carlos Zambrano hung up his cleats back in 2014, but he returned to professional baseball last season with the Chicago Dogs of the independent American Association. That comeback didn't lead to a new opportunity in the majors, though, and now Zambrano says he's done for good."

6. Jon Jay.

Minor league deal with the Diamondbacks.

7. Edwin Jackson.

Minor league deal with the Diamondbacks.

8. Trevor Cahill.

Minor league deal with the Giants.

9. Tony Barnette.

Retired.

10. Angel Echeverria.

Echeverria died earlier this month at the age of 48. Sean Barker of the Connecticut Post has a nice remembrance.

11. Derek Holland.

Minor league deal with the Pirates.

12. Tommy Hunter.

1-year deal with the Phillies.

13. Peter Bourjos.

Has signed on with the Rockies as an advance scout.

14. Chris Rusin.

Minor league deal with Atlanta.

15. Chris Singleton.

"A former Chicago Cubs player and current inspirational speaker gave a speech at the University of Saint Francis about the importance of forgiveness.

"Chris Singleton is a former professional baseball player. He previously played for the Chicago Cubs organization and has transitioned his career as a inspirational speaker."

16. Zac Rosscup.

Minor league deal with the Rockies.

17. Rafael Dolis.

FanGraphs describes him as a "blast from the past.

"He went to the NPB a few years back and his signing is one of the more interesting low-profile additions of this offseason. Dolis still throws hard, but his command is much better than it was years ago and he's learned a hard splitter that induces a ton of groundballs. He only allowed six homers in four years in Japan, and ZiPS is confident he'll succeed in his second major league chance."

18. Trevor "Tony" Clifton.

"The Diamondbacks have signed right-hander Trevor Clifton to a minor league contract with an invitation to MLB spring training, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. Clifton, now 24, had been with the Cubs since they used a 12th-round pick on him in 2013. He was the organization's minor league pitcher of the year in 2016, when he dominated high-A ball with a 2.72 ERA/3.05 FIP and 9.76 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 over 119 innings, and then ranked as FanGraphs' eighth-best Cubs prospect before the next season. Clifton's stock has dropped since then, though, thanks in part to his struggles in Triple-A ball last year. He managed a less-than-stellar 5.18 ERA/6.57 FIP with 7.64 K/9 and 4.55 BB/9 through 99 innings in 2019."

19. Rene Rivera.

Minor league deal with the Mets.

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Comments welcome.

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