Waiver Wire Rumba
Catcher Anthony Recker (Designated for Assignment yesterday to make room on the 40-man roster for RHP Carlos Gutierrez after Gutierrez was claimed off waivers from Minnesota) was claimed off waivers today by the New York Mets, and the Cubs have sent RHP Jason Berken (claimed off waivers from Baltimore in September), 2B Adrian Cardenas (claimed off waivers from Oakland last February), RHP Marcos Mateo (who was on the 60-day DL after undergoing TJS in June), and RHP Miguel Socolovich (claimed off waivers from Baltimore in August) outright to Iowa after the quartet cleared waivers.
None of the four players outrighted today have Article XX-D rights (previously outrighted and/or at least three years of MLB Service Time or post-2012 "Super Two" status) so they can't be a free-agent immediately, but Cardenas, Mateo, and Socolovich will be MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agents (6YFA) automaticaly at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series.
With today's roster moves, the Cubs MLB Reserve List (AKA "40-man Roster") now stands at 37, with four more players (Matt Garza, Blake Parker, Ian Stewart, and Arodys Vizcaino) still on the 60-day Disabled List. (Players on the 60-day DL do not count against the 40-man roster limit; However, all players on the 60-day DL must be reinstated no later than 5 PM on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series).
Here are the Cubs post-2012 minor league FA eligibles as of today (subject to change):
ARTICLE XX-D MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT:
Blake DeWitt, INF (filed)
Alex Hinshaw, LHP (filed)
Rodrigo Lopez, RHP (did not file)
Randy Wells, RHP (filed)
MLB RULE 55 MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT:
SIX-YEAR MINOR LEAGUE FA:
Jim Adduci, OF
Alfredo Amezaga, INF
Juan Apodaca, C
Jairo Asencio, RHP
Justin Berg, RHP
Kyler Burke, LHP
Adrian Cardenas, 2B (was outrighted today)
Brian Esposito, C
Jeff Frazier, OF
Vladimir Frias, INF
Diory Hernandez, INF
Rodrigo Lopez, RHP (could have been Article XX-D FA - did not file)
Marcos Mateo, RHP (was outrighted today)
Seth McClung, RHP
Jonathon Mota, INF
Horacio Ramirez, LHP
Ryan Rowland-Smith, LHP
Nate Samson, INF
Miguel Socolovich, RHP (was outrighted today)
Alvaro Sosa, C (player-coach)
Matt Tolbert, INF
SECOND CONTRACT (PREVIOUSLY-RELEASED) MINOR LEAGUE FA:
Carlos Figueroa, INF (player-coach - previously released by COL)
Michael de la Cruz, RHP (previously released by TEX):
Although Rodrigo Lopez did not file for free-agency per Article XX-D by the October 15th deadline, he will automatically be an MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent (6YFA) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series. (Only Article XX-D minor league free-agents have to actually elect free-agency). Why didn't Lopez file? Possibly because he might have waived his right to be an Article XX-D minor league free-agent when he was added to the Cubs 40-man roster (and 25-man roster) in April. Players who are eligible to be an Article XX-D minor league FA if outrighted can waive this right in advance as long as the player is outrighted within 45 days of giving his consent.
Any or all of the Cub minor league free-agents (including the three Article XX-D free-agents who did file earlier this month) could be re-signed by the Cubs to 2013 minor league contracts. A minor league player eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 minor league FA will sometimes agree to what's called a "Successor Contract" (with the actual contract to be tendered by the club no later than January 15th) prior to the player actually becoming a free-agent, while others might re-sign after first testing the free-agent waters to see what other opportunities might be out there.
Usually about half of the Cubs minor league free agents eventually re-sign. Marcos Mateo and Jonathan Mota are rehabbing from 2012 TJS, so they will almost certainly re-up so they can continue their rehab at Fitch Park (same thing happened with Justin Berg last off-season). Mota (who can play any position) could return as a player-coach at Iowa next season. Others might be offered a pay raise and/or an NRI to Spring Training to entice them to return in 2013.
One thing to keep in mind is that any minor league free-agent signed prior to the Rule 5 Draft is eligible for selection, and the Cubs actually lost a player (INF Jason Smith) in the Rule 5 Draft a few years ago after signing him as a minor league FA a couple of weeks earlier.
Manuel Corpas, Justin Germano, Joe Mather, Blake Parker, Ian Stewart, and Chris Volstad are the others presently on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster who are good candidates to get outrighted, released, or non-tendered over the coming days & weeks to make room on the 40 for MLB free-agents or waiver claims or for minor leaguers the Cubs might wish to add to their 40-man roster to keep them from being a 6YFA free-agent (like Kyler Burke) or because the player would otherwise be eligible for selection in the MLB Rule 5 Draft (probably Trey McNutt, Nick Struck, Christian Villanueva, and Logan Watkins).
Corpas, Stewart, and Volstad are eligible for salary arbitration, so they will almost certainly be non-tendered on 11/30 if they aren't dropped from the 40-man roster earlier. (The MLB contract tender date is normally December 2nd, but it was moved up to November 30th this year because 12/2 falls on a Sunday in 2012).
Shawn Camp is the only player presently on the Cubs 40-man roster who will be an Article XX-B MLB free-agent after the conclusion of the World Series, and that will open up one more slot on the 40.
If the Cubs do re-sign Camp (and Theo supposedly said the Cubs could be interested in doing that), it will probably be to a non-guaranteed 2013 minor league contract (albeit for "big league money"--like maybe $1.5M) and an NRI to Spring Training (probably with a player option to "opt-out" at the end of Spring Training if he doesn't make the 25-man Opening Day roster).