3/30 Simpson, Brenly released
The Cubs released pitcher Hayden Simpson and catcher Michael Brenly from their Minor League camp. Simpson, the 16th pick taken overall, was the Cubs’ first-round Draft pick in 2010, but contracted mononucleosis shortly after he signed. The right-hander, who turns 24 on May 20, made 30 starts in 56 Minor League appearances from 2011-12, getting as far as High-A Daytona last year. Overall he went 5-17 with a 6.42 ERA, 120 strikeouts and 89 walks in 161 1/3 innings. He posted an ERA of at least 5.72 at each level along the way.
The Cubs also released Brenly, the son of former team broadcaster Bob Brenly. The younger Brenly, 26, hit .227 with six home runs and 28 RBIs for Double-A Tennessee last season, his fifth since the organization took him the 43rd round of the ‘05 Draft. Bob Brenly left the Cubs this offseason to broadcast games for the D-backs, the team he managed to the 2001 World Series title.
Other Minor League players released include Brett Wallach, Casey Harman and Joseph Zeller.
The Cubs also released Dontrelle Willis, who signed a Minor League deal with the Cubs in January. He was trying to comeback after “retiring” last July. The 2003 National League Rookie of the Year made one Cactus League appearance on Feb. 25 against the Dodgers. He issued a walk, then exited with tightness in his left shoulder while facing the next batter. Originally an eighth-round pick by the Cubs in 2000, Willis won 46 games with a 3.27 ERA for the Marlins from 2003-05 but has struggled with injuries and poor performance in recent years. He last pitched in the Majors in ‘11, when he made 13 starts for the Reds, posting a 5.00 ERA.
– Carrie Muskat