Gentlemen... Start Your Agents!

With the Phillies having polished-off the upstart Rays last night to claim the 2008 MLB World Series Championship, today marks the official beginning of the MLB off-season, and more specifically, the start of the Free-Agency Filing Period for players eligible to be free-agents under Article XX of the CBA.  

The Cubs have eight players on their 40-man roster who are eligible to file:

C Henry Blanco ($3M 2009 club option or $300K buy-out)

RHSP Ryan Dempster  

CF Jim Edmonds

RHRP Chad Fox

RHRP Bob Howry

RHSP Jon Lieber 

1B-OF Daryle Ward

RHRP Kerry Wood  

In addition, because he signed a multi-year contract while the previous CBA was in effect and because he had at least five years of MLB Service Time accrued when he was traded, Rich Harden is eligible to demand a trade during the Free-Agency Filing Period.

If Harden were to do that, he could designate up to six clubs to which he would not accept a trade, and then the Cubs would have until next March 15th to trade him.

If Harden does demand a trade and the Cubs do not trade him by 3-15-09, the right-hander could opt for free-agency and the Cubs would not receive any compensation for the loss. 

At present, Harden is signed for 2008 and is scheduled to receive a salary of $7M. He is eligible to be a free-agent after the 2009 season. But if he demands a trade during the Free-Agency Filing Period and he does get traded prior to 3/15, his right to be an Article XX  free-agent would automatically be deferred until after the 2011 season, although he would be eligible for salary-arbitration post-2009 and post-2010.   

Of their eight potential Article XX free-agents, the Cubs will probably try and re-sign Dempster and Wood, and they will likely decline Blanco's $3M 2009 club option (and pay the $300K buy-out) before trying to re-sign him for a much smaller base salary (probably somewhere around $1.2M) with performance bonuses tied to playing time (in case Geovany Soto gets hurt and Blanco ends up catching more often than expected), but the other five are not likely to return. 

As things stand right now (and very much subject to change), Edmonds will probably be replaced on the 25-man roster in 2009 by Felix Pie (who is out of minor league options), Howry will probably be replaced in the bullpen by either Michael Wuertz, Kevin Hart, or Angel Guzman, and Ward will likely be replaced on the bench by Micah Hoffpauir. (Fox and Lieber don't need to be replaced because they have no place on the team).

The Cubs will retain exclusive negotiating rights with their own free-agents until,the end of the 15-day Free-Agency Filing Period (November 13th will be the last day). although the other 29 clubs can contact the free-agents and discuss just about everything except money (they can talk about length of contract, a "no trade" clause, how the player will be used, the benefits of playing in a particular market, et al).

If the 15-day Free-Agency Filing Period passes without the player re-signing with the Cubs,  the Cubs have until December 1st to decide whether to offer salary arbitration to the player.

If the Cubs do offer salary arbitration and the player signs with another club, the Cubs could receive one or two compensation draft picks in next June's Rule 4 (1st Year Player) Draft, depending on whether the player is ranked statistically as a Type "A" player (Cubs would get two draft picks) or a Type "B" player (Cubs would get one draft pick) or is not rated (Cubs would get no compensation). The statistical rankings are determined by the Elias Sports Bureau statistical service, and will be released sometime next month. . 

If a Cubs free-agent is offered arbitration by the Cubs on 12/1, the player has until December 7th to decide whether to accept the offer. If the player does accept the offer of salary arbitration, the player is automatically placed back onto the Cubs 40-man roster and is considered a "signed player."     

If the FA rejects the offer of salary arbitration, or if the Cubs decline to offer arbitration to the player, the player remains a free-agent and is free to sign with any club (including the Cubs).  

Players who file for free-agency under Article XX are automatcically removed from their club's 40-man roster when they file, but are added back to their old club's Reserve List if they re-sign with their old club, or if they accept salary arbitration.

Also, a free-agent who signs a major league contract after the end of the Free-Agency Filing Period gets an automatic "no trade" right through June 15th of the following season (and that includes players who re-sign with their former club after the end of the Free-Agency Filing Period). The player can waive the "no trade" right, but even if he does, the player cannot be traded for cash or a player contract worth more than $50,000.  .   

With Carmen Pignatiello and Billy Petrick having been outrighted to the minors, and with Casey McGehee having been claimed off waivers by the Brewers, the Cubs Reserve List (40-man roster) presently stands at 37, but will be dropped down to 31 if and when the eight Cubs players eligible to be Article XX free-agents file (Fox and Lieber won;t clear spots on the 40 because they are still on the 60-day DL).

If the Cubs do in fact re-sign Dempster, Wood, and Blanco, that will still leave six slots open on the 40-man roster for minor league prospects the Cubs might wish to protect from the Rule 5 Draft (probably RHP Mitch Atkins, LHP Donald Veal, and 2B Nate Spears for sure, possibly RHP Justin Berg, and maybe LHP J. R. Mathes, too), and any free-agent(s) they might sign during the off-season.

If additional slots are needed during the off-season, the Cubs could outright a player or players off the 40-man roster to make room (although placing a player on Outright Waivers could result in the player being claimed by another club, as happened yesterday with Casey McGehee), or they could simply non-tender a player or players on 12/12 and then re-sign the non-tendered players(s) to a 2009 minor league contract (as long as the player is amenable to the arrangement), probably for the MLB minor league split contract minimum ($65,000) plus an NRI to Spring Training (the very same benefits the players would have received if he had remained on the 40-man roster).

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Comments

Forgive me is this is 3/$44, but Lou quoted as saying that Fukodome and Reed Johnson will split CF duties next year...

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/2008/10...

Does that mean that Edmonds is pricing himself out of the Cubs?

to Royals for Leo Nunez

Wonder if the Royals will use Kahue as a trading chip now that they have Jacobs. He had a good line in the minors this season and hit 37 homeruns in 124 minor league games. He'll also turn 25 in March.

Jacobs and Shealy might be a decent platoon for KC although I can't imagine why they would want to put an end to the Ross Gload era.

Brewers go for Macha.

http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/33585384.html

Oh goody. We get to keep Brenly.

Edgar Renteria had his option declined by the Tigers. He has sucked in the AL, but has been a solid NL player. I dont want him on the Cubs because Theriot at 450 K is going to be alot bang for the buck than the 5-8 million I think Renteria will get, but for a NL team with no other viable option at SS (Cardinals) he would be a good pickup.

zero cannot be divided by zero.

Cubs should sign Renteria, then let Fontenot sucker-punch him.

Or, at least bitch-slap him.

What a horseshit move that was. Definitive proof, that the Braves were not a class organization, no matter how long Maddux trained them to be.

By trading Jacobs, the Marlins are left with a AA prospect to play 1B.

Unless of course, Hoffpauir is part of a deal for Hermida.

Actually, expect the Marlins to make a push for free agent Mark Teixeira.

And where exactly will he fit in that cheapskate $20M payroll?

(just a joke)

The Marlins owner is a joke.

An owner with 2 World Series titles in recent baseball history.

not true

Heizuenga (sp?) sold the team after 97.

and Loria basically inherited the 03 team and lucked out after McKeon was able to undo Torborgs mess

Arizona Phil -- Seriously. Does Felix Pie have a shot at being a part of the mix at Wrigley next year, or is he winter trade bait?

Speaking of winter and Pie, he hasn't shown up on Licey's roster in the Dominican League.

Fox is playing for Licey though and already is 6/14 with 6 RBI and three doubles.

Where's Pie?

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20081030&c...

Don't let the door slam you in the butt on the way out Howry.

You know, this article doesn't really say anything, but it got me thinking...

Maybe the Fox signing made sense, in that by getting an almost-been like him, who you know you could throw on the 60 day DL, it opened up a spot for putting a Iowa Cub on the post season roster, like we did with Soto last year.

never mind that he was nails in 07. Had a bad year. Get over it.

I wouldn't mind a 1 year deal and bringing in Randy Johnson. But i think he loves Arizona to much.

"An owner with 2 World Series titles in recent baseball history..."

I believe it was two different owners - the first was Huizienga(?), who promptly sold off the first WS team roster and then shortly afterward sold the franchise. Quite a scumbag, not much better than the current ownership.

Either way still more WS titles than us in the last 100 years. And they are a new franchise. In fact haven't all the new franchises now been to the WS at the very least?

Az, FL, Col, and now Tampa.

Pretty sad state of affairs for the Cubs who havent been since 45.

Atleast they get the job done, no matter how shitty the owner is.

The Trib is a joke too, and so is Sam Zell for that matter.

BTW, I got the impression that Edmonds was seriously contemplating retirement, since he has a family now.

I didn't think Missouri or Illinois allowed gay marriage yet.

I keed, I keed. I actually started to like the guy this year. I could do without the eyeliner though.

They should wait until July, when the wind starts to blow out, then sign Edmonds and let him aim high fly balls at the 368-foot basket in left-center, as he did this year.

Of course I agree with the sentiments regarding the Marlin's winning two WS titles in such a short time - truly a pathetic comparison to Wrigley/TribCo. I could add in the Blue Jay's two titles in their young history, but why belabor the obvious?

Cubs decline option on Blanco, but may opt to re-sign hum at a lower salary.

Unless you are trading Pie or Fukodome you have to let Edmonds walk. He did a pretty good job for us but at his age his stats are not going to be better next year and he will want 6-9 million. Plus if you keep Edmonds that forces you to leave Fukodome in RF and we really need a big bat in RF.

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