With today being the deadline for moving players from the minor leagues to the 40-man roster, the Cubs announced today
that they have added LHP Clay Rapada
and RHP Rocky Cherry
to their 40-man reserve list.
All players still remaining on a Cubs minor league roster will remain "frozen" (cannot be added to the 40-man roster and cannot be traded) until after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft, which will be held on December 7th at the MLB Winter Meetings. If any player currently on a Cub minor league roster is to be part of a trade consummated sometime in the next couple of weeks, that player will have to be identified as a"Player to be Named Later" (PTBNL), and cannot be named until the Rule 5 Draft concludes.
Although players on minor league rosters are now "frozen," players on major league 40-man rosters are not. Players on MLB 40-man rosters can be traded, and players on MLB 40-man rosters can even be assigned outright to the minors during the "frozen" period. Also, free-agents can be signed to minor league contracts and can be assigned to a minor league club during this period.
By adding Rapada and Cherry, the Cubs would seem to now have 42 players on their 40-man roster, which (of course) is not allowed. So the only obvious explanation is that apparently Mark DeRosa
and Alfonso Soriano
have yet to be officially added to the Cubs roster, because no other roster moves were made today. Some of you may remember the same thing happened last year when Bob Howry was signed as a free-agent, but wasn't officially added to the Cubs 40-man roster for several days. But at least two more roster moves will need to be made in the near future, possibly by means of a a two-fer-one or three-fer-one trade for a starting pitcher.
A lanky side-armin' slinger who is death on left-handed hitters, the 25-year old Rapada was THE best reliever I saw in the Arizona Fall League this year. I believe he can pitch in the big leagues right now. Signed out of Virginia State University by Cubs "bird dog" scout Billy Swoope in 2002, Rapada is notable for being a one-time "Non-drafted Free-Agent" (NDFA) who made good.
Cherry, 27, was drafted by the Cubs out of the University of Oklahoma in the 14th round of the 2002 Rule 4 Draft (June Draft), but didn't sign until January 2003. He made his pro debut at Boise that season. The Rock underwent Tommy John transplannt surgery in 2005, after suffering a torn elbow ligament. A starter earlier in his career, Cherry returned to action this season, working out of the bullpen at AA West Tenn (Cherry and Rapada were an extremely effective 1-2 punch out of the DiamondJaxx pen). Like Rapada, Cherry pitched well-enough to earn a mid-season promotion to AAA Iowa. Showing a mid-90's heater and a devastating breaking ball, Rocky was supposedly about to be called up to the Cubs when he suffered a season-ending finger injury that required surgery.
Among the notables not added to the Cub 40 at this time include pitchers Carmen Pignatiello, Lincoln Holdzkom, Randy Wells, and Federico Baez, catcher Jake Fox, and third-baseman Casey McGehee. Each will be eligible for selection by the other 29 MLB clubs at the upcoming Rule 5 Draft
was Rich Hill
's battery-mate at the University of Michigan, and has spent several years in the Cubs farm system. A slugging catcher who has strugggled with his catching mechanics, Fox split the 2006 season between Daytona and West Tenn. Besides his receiving problems, Fox has had difficulty making consistent contact, and has a tendency to chase pitches out of the strike zone. Still, he is the only catcher in the Cubs system with any power. It is unlikely that he will be ready for the big leagues any time soon.
LHP Carmen Pignatiello
has been pitching in the Cubs organizatioin since 2000, and was eligible to be a six-year minor league free-agent on October 15th. But he opted to re-up and signed a 2007 minor league contract with the Cub instead, probably after getting a "Cubs slot" in the AFL and a likely NRI to Spring Training. However, Piggy was very
impressive pitching out of the bullpen for the Mesa Solar Sox this past month, and will be a very good candidate to get selected in the Rule 5 Draft.
RHP Lincoln Holdzkom
was one of two pitchers acquired from the Marlins at the end of Spring Training in a deal where Todd Wellemeyer
was sent to Florida. Rob Dibble
Redux, Holdzkom was one of the Marlins top relief prospects a few years ago (he was on the Marlins 40-man roster for about a year), before suffering a torn elbow ligament in 2004 that required Tommy John ligament transplant surgery. Like Pignatiello, Holdzkom pitched for the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL, and armed with a mid-90's fastball, showed flashes of brilliance offset by spurts of extreme wildness.
After getting an NRI to Spring Training with the big club, Casey McGehee
spent the 2006 season as the starting 3rd baseman at AAA Iowa. He is one of the most fundamentally sound players in the Cubs organization, and is capable of playing either corner infield position, McGehee has a solid line-drive stroke, and has had an outstanding last few weeks (including a 16-game hitting streak) while playing for Culiacan in the Mexican Pacific League. McGehee could be a useful (and cheap) option for a small-market and/or low revenue club looking for a platoon third-baseman, or a right-handed bat off the bench.
Like Carlos Marmol
, RHP Randy Wells
was a one-time catcher in the Cubs organization who was converted into a pitcher. Wells started the 2006 season at AA West Tenn and pitched very well, earning himself a mid-season promotion to AAA Iowa. Wells seems to fit the profile of a MLB middle-reliever, and might be another pretty good candidate to be selected in next month's Rule 5 Draft.
RHP Federico Baez
is still another converted position player. A former third-baseman in the Orioles organization, the rubber-armed Baez pitched for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic last March, and has the ability to either start or relieve. As such, Baez might be attractive to a club looking to acquire a versatile (and cheap) pitcher in the Rule 5 Draft.
Here are the 50 Cubs players eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft on December 7th:
Jason Anderson, RHP (MLFA after 2007)
Thomas Atlee, RHP
Federico Baez, RHP (MLFA after 2007)
Oscar Bernard, RHP (6Y MLFA after 2007)
Ryan Bicondoa, RHP (MLFA after 2007)
Nate Bland, LHP (MLFA after 2007)
Chadd Blasko, RHP
Bobby Brownlie, RHP
Edward Campusano, LHP
Jose Caridad RHP
Gary Cates, Jr, IF-OF (MLFA after 2007)
Robinson Chirinos, 2B (6Y MLFA after 2007)
Matt Craig, 1B-3B
Mike Fontenot, 2B
Jake Fox, C
Alfredo Francisco, RHP
Alberto Garcia, 1B-OF
Cristian Gonzalez, RHP (MLFA after 2007)
Luke Hagerty, LHP
Koyie Hill, C (MLFA after 2007)
Lincoln Holdzkom, RHP (6Y MLFA after 2007)
Micah Hoffpauir, 1B
Jesse Hoorelbeke, 1B (MLFA after 2007)
Ben Howard, RHP (MLFA after 2007)
Fabian Jimenez-Angulo, LHP
Geoff Jones, LHP (MLFA after 2007)
Richard Lewis, 2B (6Y MLFA after 2007)
Albenis Machado, INF (MLFA after 2007)
Casey McGehee, 3B
Adalberto Mendez, RHP
Isaac Pavlik, LHP (MLFA after 2007)
Leonel Perez, RHP
Billy Petrick, RHP
Carmen Pignatiello, LHP (MLFA after 2007)
Jose Pina, RHP
Robert Ransom, RHP
Tony Richie, C
Alan Rick, C
Carlos Rojas, SS (6Y MLFA after 2007)
Issmael Salas, INF (6Y MLFA after 2007)
Joel Santo, RHP
Andy Shipman, RHP
Jason Smith, INF (MLFA after 2007)
Jemel Spearman, INF
Jesus Valdez, OF
Chris Walker, OF
Les Walrond, LHP (MLFA after 2007)
John Webb, RHP (MLFA after 2007)
Randy Wells, RHP
Jesus Yepez, LHP