John Lackey once said that he didn’t come to Chicago for a haircut, a sentiment that is likely echoed by righty Adrian Sampson. With what was supposed to be a six-man rotation shortened by Jake Arrieta‘s release and Adbert Alzolay going to the IL, Sampson will be called up to take the bump in Wednesday’s series finale against the Reds.
The 29-year-old is not on the 40-man roster and I’m sure most of you didn’t realize he was in the organization at all, so the Cubs will have to do some maneuvering to fit him in prior to the game. Expect a DFA or some other sort of procedural move to be announced in the late morning.
Originally drafted by the Pirates in 2012, Sampson moved up quickly and made it to Triple-A in August of 2014. He remained at that level the next season and was traded to the Mariners for J.A. Happ at the deadline. After starting the 2016 season at Triple-A for the Mariners, Sampson was called up and made his debut on June 18. He pitched 4.2 innings in that game before being relieved by the one and only Mike Montgomery.
While warming up for his next start five days later, Sampson tore his flexor tendon and had season-ending surgery. He was eventually claimed off waivers by the Rangers and worked his way back up through their system before eventually earning a promotion late in 2018. Sampson then served as a swingman in 2019, making 15 starts in 35 appearances and posting a 5.89 ERA over 125.1 innings. He caught on with the Lotte Giants of the KBO last season and had a 5.40 ERA over 130 innings, all in 25 starts.
Sampson signed a minors deal with the Cubs back in May and has made 14 starts out of 16 total appearances at Triple-A, posting a 4.96 ERA over 81.2 innings. He has struck out 61 with 33 walks and has allowed an alarming 19 homers, not necessarily the results you’d like to see from a guy who’ll be taking the bump on a warm afternoon in Cincinnati.
I guess we’ll see how this goes, but it sort of feels like one of those DGAF moves where the Cubs view Sampson as something of a sacrificial lamb who will be expendable once Keegan Thompson is ready.