If things go as expected in spring training, expect a caravan from Cascade to Des Moines every time Colin Rea takes the mound.

Rea signed a contract with the Chicago Cubs Jan. 9. The deal is a one-year minor league contract with an invitation to the Cubs big league spring training.

Rea was designated for assignment and released by the San Diego Padres in November. Since that release, he and his agent, Joe Speed, have been considering offers from several major league teams. Rea said the deal with the Cubs is a good fit for him.

“I couldn’t ask for much better,” he said. “There were some other teams that were interested with the same type of deal, but the convenience of pitching in Des Moines and being close to home and playing for the Cubs put us over the top.”

Speed said five other clubs were negotiating with Rea. “I told Colin that we were probably getting near the end of new teams coming into play. Right after I had that conversation with Colin, the Cubs called. That kind of changed things. The opportunity to put on a Cubs uniform and step on the mound in Wrigley Field was too good of an opportunity to pass up.”

Rea said the Cubs need pitchers in their minor league system. “They have a lack of depth at the upper levels of the minor leagues. That’s what they told us. It’s a good opportunity to get some good eyes on me in spring training and for me to make a good impression. Then if something were to happen during the season, hopefully, that’s where they remember me from spring training and good things happen from there.”

Speed said Rea knows what he needs to do. “Colin needs to go out and show that he’s healthy. If he gets back to his best self, we’re certainly confident that will lead to bigger and better things.”

Speed was in Cascade the weekend before the deal, finalizing terms of the contract. “Just to see the reactions of Colin’s family and extended family to the news we were going to sign with the Cubs was something special that I’ll never forget.”

Rea has been working out at the Cubs facility in Arizona and plans to continue workouts until pitchers and catchers report in February.

Rea is 24 months removed from Tommy John surgery. “I’ve been throwing since after Christmas. Soon I’ll start to speed my arm up and back up to get some long toss in. My arm is feeling stronger and better.”

“We’re excited about this opportunity. I’ve had that dream of putting on a Cubs uniform and playing in Wrigley Field. It will be pretty special if we can get to that point.”