Roster Decisions Looming for Cubs

11/20 UPDATE:  The Cubs have selected the contracts of INF Arismendy Alcantara and RHP Dallas Beeler from AA Tennessee and both have been added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster. Alcantara was rated the Cubs #7 prospect by Baseball America last week, and Beeler likely earned his spot on the 40 with a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League after missing much of the 2013 season with a finger injury.  

Because they were eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft and were added to an MLB 40-man roster after August 15th, both Alcantara and Beeler have Draft Excluded status and cannot be outrighted to the minors until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day, even if the Cubs decide they need one of the two roster slots sometime later during the off-season. 

With the addition of Alcantara and Beeler, the Cubs MLB Reserve List now numbers 39 players (one slot is open).

Notable Cubs minor leaguers who will be eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft include OF Jae-Hoon Ha, RHP Matt Loosen, LHP Eric Jokisch, and 2B Gioskar Amaya.



Each MLB club is required to file its MLB Reserve List and the reserve list for each of its minor league affiliates with the MLB Commissioner on November 20th each year (or November 19th if November 20th falls on a Saturday, or November 18th if November 20th falls on a Sunday). 

If a minor league player who is eligible for selection in the MLB Rule 5 Draft is not added to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) by tomorrow's deadline, the player cannot be added to an MLB 40-man roster, traded, or transferred to a different minor league reserve list within the same organization until after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft. 


Although it could be held anytime after November 20th, the MLB Rule 5 Draft (AKA "Rule 5 Selection Meeting") is traditionally the last order of business at the MLB Winter Meetings, and it is a mechanism that allows MLB clubs to select (draft) eligible players off minor league reserve lists. This year the Rule 5 Draft will be held on December 12th.

There is a "Major League Phase" where an MLB club can select Rule 5 Draft eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs for $50,000, a "AAA Phase" where a club's AAA minor league affiliate can select Rule 5 Draft eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs of a lower classification for $12,000, and finally a "AA Phase" where a club's AA minor league affiliate can select Rule 5 Draft eligible players off the reserve lists of Class "A" clubs for $4,000.


1. A minor league player who was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract is eligible for selection starting with the 5th Rule 5 Draft after he signs, and a minor league player who was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract becomes eligible for selection starting with the 4th Rule 5 Draft that followed his signing.

2. If a player signs his first contract after the conclusion of the season of the MLB or minor league club to which he is first assigned, the next season is considered to be the player's "first season" for Rule 5 eligibility purposes.

3. A free-agent with prior MLB and/or minor league service who signs a minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft is eligible for selection if the player was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 5th Rule 5 Draft since he signed his first contract, or the player was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 4th Rule 5 Draft since he signed his first contract.

4. Any player on a minor league reserve list who has either been released or had his contract voided and then re-signs with the same MLB organization within one year is eligible for selection.

5. Any player on a minor league reserve list who has been outrighted to the minors previously in his career is eligible for selection.

6. A player on the Voluntary Retired List, Disqualified List, or Ineligible List is not eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft, but a player on the Restricted List or the Military List is eligible for selection.

7. An MLB club can designate any player on a minor league reserve list "eligible for selection" in the Rule 5 Draft even if the player would not normally be eligible, but once a player is made eligible for selection, he remains eligible for selection in all subsequent Rule 5 drafts. However, a player who was signed after being selected in the First-Year Player Draft (MLB Rule 4 Draft) cannot be designated "eligible for selection" in a Rule 5 Draft until after the first anniversary of the player signing his first contract with an MLB organization.

8. A minor league player-manager who would be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft if he was only a player can be selected, but if he is selected, the player-manager can reject the selection. He has 30 days to decide. If he rejects the selection, the player-manager cannot be re-signed as a player during the following season. 

(last updated 11-17-2013):

Players who are most-likely to be placed on the AAA Iowa reserve list on 11/20 are in bold

Players who were eligible to be a post-2013 Rule 55 minor league 6YFA but who signed a successor contract for 2014, Rule 55 "second-contract" players signed for 2014, and free-agents signed to minor league contracts for 2014 are underlined

Arismendy Alcantara, INF (will almost certainly be added to Cubs MLB 40-man roster on 11/20)
Gioskar Amaya, INF
Frank Batista, RHP
Dallas Beeler, RHP
Julio Borbon, OF (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Justin Bour, 1B
Marcelo Carreno, RHP
Lendy Castillo, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Javier Castro, RHP
Zach Cates, RHP
Hunter Cervenka, LHP
Pin-Chieh Chen, OF
Casey Coleman, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Gerardo Concepcion, LHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Willson Contreras, C
Aaron Cunningham, OF (Rule 55 6YFA post-2013 - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Wes Darvill, INF
Michael de la Cruz, RHP
Antonio Encarnacion, RHP
Carlos Figueroa, INF (player-coach)
Eduardo Figueroa, RHP
Luis Flores, C
Anthony Giansanti, OF
Edgar Gonzalez, INF (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Enyel Gonzalez, RHP
Carlos Gutierrez, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Jae-Hoon Ha, OF
Marcus Hatley, RHP
Marco Hernandez, INF
Walter Ibarra, INF (Rule 55 6YFA post-2013)
Eric Jokisch, LHP
Austin Kirk, LHP
Matt Loosen, RHP
Jeff Lorick, LHP
Eric Martinez, RHP
Marcos Mateo, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Trey McNutt, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
A. J. Morris, RHP
Jonathon Mota, INF
Chad Noble, C
Alan Oaks, RHP (ex-MIA - acquired from independent league club & signed for 2014)
Yomar Pacheco,RHP
Loiger Padron, RHP
Carlos Paniagua, RHP (see NOTE)
Amaury Paulino, RHP
Felix Pena, RHP
Starling Peralta, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP
Orbandy Rodriguez, RHP
Greg Rohan, INF
Jose Rosario, RHP
Victor Salazar, RHP
Dave Sappelt, OF (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Brian Schlitter, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Ryan Searle, RHP
Nick Struck, RHP
Jeudy Valdez, INF (Rule 55 6YFA post-2013)
Chris Valaika, INF (Article XX-D FA post-2013 - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Yao-Lin Wang, RHP
Eli Whiteside, C (Article XX-D FA post-2013 - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Oliver Zapata, OF
NOTE: Juan Carlos Paniagua signed his first contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks as "Juan Callado" on 5-8-2009 and pitched for the DSL Diamondbacks in the Dominican Summer League in 2009-10, but the contract was "pending" for almost two years and was never officially approved by MLB. The contract was eventually rejected by MLB due to "fraudulent paperwork" and Paniagua (Callado) was suspended for one year and then was declared a free-agent. He signed with the New York Yankees in March 2011 but then was suspended again and that contract was rejected, too, because his birth certificate could not be verified. Paniagua was cleared by MLB in 2012 and he signed with the Cubs on 7-9-2012. Therefore, Paniagua could be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in December 2013, since 2009 was his "first season" on the field, and he was 18 on the June 5th immediately preceding the signing of his first contract, or he might not be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft for the first time until December 2015 if 2012 is considered Paniagua's "first season" for Rule 5 eligibility purposes (TBD). 


The Cubs must decide by tomorrow how many and which of their minor league players eligible for selection in the December 2013 Rule 5 Draft they wish to "protect" from selection.

The Cubs also must decide which of their Rule 5 eligibles to place on the AAA Iowa 38-man reserve list, making them eligible for selection in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft only. This is an important decision, because the Cubs (at present) have 61 players eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft (62 if Juan Carlos Paniagua is declared eligible by MLB), but there are only 38 roster slots available on the AAA roster. Most clubs leave three or four AAA roster slots open for free-agents who sign minor league contracts prior to the Rule 5 Draft (most free-agents who sign minor league contracts prior to the Rule 5 Draft want to be placed on the AAA reserve list so that they are eligible for selection in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft), so the Cubs will probably place about 25 of their Rule 5 eligibles on the AA (Tennessee) reserve list or on a Class "A" reserve list to leave more slots open on the Iowa roster.

This matters because if a club decides not to keep a player selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 draft on its MLB 25-man Active List (and/or MLB DL), the player must be placed on Outright Assignment Waivers, where any of the other 29 MLB clubs can claim the player for the $25,000 Rule 5 waiver price and assume the Rule 5 obligations. If the Rule 5 player is not claimed off Outright Waivers, the player then must be offered back to the minor league club from which he was drafted, and the player's former club can reclaim the player for $25,000, with the player being automatically outrighted to the Reserve List of the minor league club from which he was drafted.

There is no such "right of return" for players selected in the AAA and AA phases of the Rule 5 Draft, so if a player is selected in the AAA or AA Phase, he is gone.

Which players the Cubs might decide to add to their MLB 40-man roster is unknown at this time, although it is a virtual lock that one will be SS Arismendy Alcantara. RHP Juan Carlos Paniagua (if he is ruled eligible for selection), OF Jae-Hoon Ha, and RHP Dallas Beeler are the other most-likely candidates to be added to the 40.

The Cubs presently have three openings on their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), so if they add no more than three players tomorrow they will not need to drop any players from the 40. However, if they do need additional roster slots tomorrow or later in the off-season (for Rule 5 Draft picks, waiver claims, or any free-agents they might sign), there are some restrictions on which players they can drop from the 40, especially if they wish to try and outright the player to the minors. 


A "Draft-Excluded Player" is any minor league player eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft whose contract is selected and who is added to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) between August 15th and the Rule 5 Draft.

While a "Draft-Excluded Player" can be non-tendered on 12/2 and released or traded at any time, he cannot be sent to the minors by Optional Assignment beginning with the conclusion of the MLB regular season up until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day, and a Draft-Excluded Player can be outrighted to the minors prior to the Rule 5 Draft only if Outright Assignment Waivers are requested no later than 2 PM (Eastern) on the 4th day following the conclusion of the World Series.

If Outright Assignment Waivers are not requested by 2 PM (Eastern) on the 4th day following the conclusion of the World Series, Outright Assignment Waivers cannot be requested until 25 days prior to MLB Opening Day, and the player cannot be sent outright to the minors any earlier than 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day.

CUBS WITH DRAFT-EXCLUDED STATUS POST-2013 (last updated 9-3-2013)
Zac Rosscup, LHP

So any Cubs minor league player eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft who is added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster tomorrow will have Draft-Excluded status throughout the off-season. In other words, if the Cubs were to add Dallas Beeler (for example) to the 40-man roster tomorrow and then find out sometime later in the off-season that they need his roster slot for a free-agent or a waiver claim, they could not outright him to the minors (at least not until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day).  


A signed player who has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time cannot be sent outright to the minors without his consent. The player can waive this right, but the waiver cannot be signed more than ten days prior to MLB Opening Day, the player has the right to designate in advance which minor league team to which he can be assigned, and the waiver automatically expires if the player is not outrighted to the minors within 45 days or by the 45th day of the MLB regular season (whichever is later).

Edwin Jackson, RHP
Ryan Sweeney, OF
Carlos Villanueva, RHP

A player on an MLB 40-man roster who has been outrighted previously in his career and/or who has accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time can elect to be a free-agent if he is sent outright to the minors. The outrighted player can elect to be a free-agent immediately upon being outrighted, or he can accept the Outright Assignment and defer his option to elect free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season. However, a player eligible to be a free-agent if outrighted who accepts an Outright Assignment and defers his option to elect free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season forfeits his right to elect free-agency if he is added back to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season.

If a player eligible to be a free-agent if outrighted elects to be a free-agent immediately, his contract is terminated and he receives no termination pay. But if the player accepts the Outright Assignment and defers his right to be a free-agent until the conclusion of the MLB regular season, the player continues to get paid, receiving the balance of his salary through to the end of the season. And then if the outrighted player is not subsequently added back to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season, the player can elect free-agency anytime beginning on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season through October 15th.

A player who has not previously been outrighted to the minors or who has not yet accrued three years of MLB Service Time but who qualified for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" player after the conclusion of the previous MLB regular season can elect free-agency if he is outrighted to the minors, but an outrighted "Super Two" player cannot defer free-agency until the conclusion of the MLB regular season. To become a free-agent, the outrighted "Super Two" player must elect free-agency immediately.

Daniel Bard, RHP
Darwin Barney, INF
Brian Bogusevic, OF
Starlin Castro, INF
Mat Gamel, 1B
Donnie Murphy, INF
Blake Parker, RHP
Hector Rondon, RHP
James Russell, LHP
Jeff Samardzija, RHP
Nate Schierholtz, OF
Pedro Strop, RHP ("Super Two" player) 
Luis Valbuena, INF
Travis Wood, LHP


A player cannot be outrighted to the minors on the two days prior to the Rule 5 Draft.

Also, an unsigned player who is eligible to be an Article XX-D minor league free-agent if outrighted can be outrighted to the minors anytime during the off-season, but a player who would have been eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent if the player had been on a minor league reserve list cannot be outrighted to the minors after 5 PM (Eastern) on October 15th or after 5:00 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series (whichever is later) unless and until the player signs a major league contract for the following season or agrees (in advance) to sign a minor league contract for the following season.

Alberto Cabrera, RHP
Welington Castillo, C
Junior Lake, OF
Josh Vitters, INF


Players placed on the 60--day DL do not count against the club's MLB 40-man roster, but all players on the club's 60-day DL must be reinstated no later than 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series. Players cannot be placed back onto the 60-day DL until after the start of Spring Training in mid-February, so even though RHP Kyuji Fujikawa (2013 TJS rehab) will almost certainly start the 2014 season on the 60-day DL, the Cubs won't be able to move him off the MLB 40-man roster and onto the 60-day DL until after the start of Spring Training (and then only if the 40-man roster is full).    


Arismendy Alcantara is a virtual lock to get added to the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) tomorrow, and Jae-Hoon Ha, Dallas Beeler, and Juan Carlos Paniagua (but only if he is ruled eligible for selection in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft) are possible additions, although don't be too surprised if it's just Alcantara. 

If the Cubs do need additional roster slots tomorrow, RHP Daniel Bard (claimed off waivers from BOS in September) and 1B Mat Gamel (claimed off waivers from MIL in October) would probably be the most likely candidates to get outrighted, even though both can elect to be an Article XX-D free-agent if outrighted.

And even if they aren't outrighted tomorrow, Bard and Gamel could be non-tendered on 12/2 to open up additional slots for a Rule 5 Draft pick, players claimed off waivers, and/or free-agents signed during the off-season. Once non-tendered, one or both could be re-signed to a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, although that would require the mutual consent of the player & the club.  

Also, since he is out of minor league options and can elect free-agency if he is outrighted, OF Brian Bogusevic could perhaps get non-tendered on 12/2 and then be re-signed to a minor league contract (but for "big league money" - maybe as much as $750K) plus an NRI to Spring Training, Besides opening up an additional slot on the MLB 40-man roster during the off-season for a Rule 5 Draft pick, a free-agent, or a waiver claim, it would also allow the Cubs to send Bogusevic to AAA if he doesn't make the Cubs Opening Day roster out of Spring Training without exposing him to waivers and without having to be concerned that he might elect to be a free-agent if he does get outrighted. 


padres get josh johnson 1/8m...

1.25m more if he makes 26+ starts.

Raisel Iglesias (RHP) and Erisbel Arruebarruena (SS) have left cuba and should be available to sign sometime this offseason...both 23

iglasias has a low 90s fastball, but his breaking pitch is a bit over 10mph under the fastball (not necessarily a good thing to be so far apart unless it's deceptive). he's put very impressive numbers in international play, though. he's a long reliever who could transition to starter.

arrurueeueubaubueuena is an all-D, no-bat SS

AZ, I don't think any of this is going to get done. Theo and Company seem to be taking a long winter break.

nice deal for Padres on Josh Johnson, looks like he had geographical preference that Cubs weren't going to overcome (if they were even interested).

PIT signs former cubs minor league SP jay jackson.

In 13 appearances (16.1 IP) for Mazatlan (Mexican Pacific League), Jay Jackson is 7-for-7 in Saves and has allowed no runs on 10 hits and 5/18 BB/K. 

Although the Pirates signed Jackson to a minor league contract, he would be a candidate to get selected in the Rule 5 Draft if he continues to pitch as well as he has so far. 

That's what happened with Hector Rondon last year. Rondon was a minor league 6YFA post-2012 who re-signed with CLE, and then after pitching "lights out" in Venezuela, he was selected by the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft.


PHIL: You always maintained he was a better hitter than pitcher. He went to Furman, right?

E-MAN: That's right.

Jay Jackson was a two-way player (P/CF) at Furman, and when he took BP at Fitch Park with the other pitchers, he was like a Man Among Boys. He was a good hitter (for a pitcher). He also was a star basketball player in HS, so he is very athletic.

The Cubs kind of rushed Jackson after they drafted him in 2008, giving him a start for Daytona in the FSL playoffs just two months after he signed, and then moving him up to AAA Iowa at the end of his first full season. 

The Cubs did not have to release Jackson in March, but they did and he signed with the Marlins, where he had a nice bounce-back year split between AA and AAA before becoming a second-contract minor league FA post-2013 and signing with the Pirates. 

Jackson had a 94 MPH fastball and a plus-curve when he pitched for the Cubs, but he struggled with his command. There were also a couple of disciplinary issues that put him in the organization's dog-house and may have led to his eventual release.  

His fastball is more explosive in short stints, so he could develop into a decent MLB reliever. 

worst offensive positions in baseball...Cubs "win" at 2b thanks to Darwin Theriot.

Suggests the obvious in living with Barney for one more season (hopefully less than that) until they're ready to call up Baez.

I hate to say it, but Sveum's fingerprints are all over Barney's steep offensive decline last year. Barney was one of Sveum's offseason projects.

Sveum, hitting coach James Rowson and assistant hitting coach Rob Deer worked with Barney in November in Arizona to boost his slugging percentage.

"It's not about hitting .300," Sveum said. "It's more about the OPS for him. He has slugging percentage on his pull (right) side that he never really took advantage of last year, trying to hit the ball away on every pitch."

Sveum said it wasn't so much a lesson in mechanics, but a change in "philosophy" that Barney needs to fix.

"It's about getting the mindset straight," Sveum said. "Your job is to hit the ball hard. It doesn't matter where it goes."

Not that there's anything wrong with the substance of Sveum's criticism, but how does it help Barney to read it in the papers?

More generally, how does it help a young player to have a hitting coach and a manager rolled into one?

personally, i don't think barney needs much help sucking with a bat...he's pretty much sucked since the 1st half of his 2011 season ended (and it wasn't exactly a spectacular 1st half).

aside from his D, he's about half of a season of decent play in his career.

You're answering the wrong question, namely, was Barney the second-baseman of the future, and if not, what's the difference if his hitting skills deteriorated?

As in Castro's case, the Cubs could have let him improve incrementally for several seasons and then traded him, rather than trying to overhaul his approach.

Barney would actually make somebody a decent shortstop--where the offensive bar is lower.

Barney's 51 wRC+ last year would have been second worst among qualified shortstops rather than dead last amongst second basemen. A smaller gap though and a little more company near the bottom if he played at shortstop.

Barney will have a long, fringe major league career because of his glove and occasionally ability to hit the ball over 150 feet.

Just so you know, I don't really believe that you can play any position in the majors and hit like Barney did last year (.208/.266/.303/.569). His numbers a year earlier (.254/.299/.354/.653) were significantly better, and good enough to land a GG. His numbers two years ago were better still.

I was really talking about his slide, perhaps due to the team's mishandling of him. His manager, who was also his primary hitting coach, was fired, after all.

Talking about his fringiness is just repeating the point that he wasn't going to be our second baseman anyway. Sure, but so what? The point is you had an up-and-coming player who had won a major award and had some value, and now a large part of that value is gone.

seriously, though...he's sucked since mid-season 2011 with the bat. he didn't start sucking in 2013.

he spent 1.5 seasons sucking with the bat before anyone tinkered with emphasizing his power in 2013...which ended up with him totaling 2.5 bad seasons.

i hope his starting days are done. giving him 550-600 PA a season is getting embarrassing no matter what he does with the glove.

unless he regresses from 2013, which is almost impossible, then he should have many more years as a bench guy...but him continuing as a starter is getting silly. the cubs are basically marching jose macias out there the past 2 seasons...only giving him 350-400 more PA.

alcantra + beeler to 40-man.

I don't expect Ha to become an All Star, but he has the profile to stick with a team with a certain need and I wouldn't be surprised if he's gone. The guy has measurable future potential value and was worth a 40-man spot.

A .700 OPS(being kind here) Defensive first outfielder...nothing of value will be lost if it happens.

it's ha's ability to play CF with skill, as well as having a plus arm that can play RF that hurts if he goes.

m.szczur is waiting in the wings and can play all 3 slots well, but his arm is barely RF decent...if at all. he has a touch less power than ha, but a decent amount more speed.

z.devoss is a nice CF option (that like ha, projects to be a bench/injury-replacement guy with low-end starter upside), but he doesn't have the arm for RF and it's probably 2015+ before he's ready.

that said, it's no slam-dunk ha will go anywhere. he only recently turned 23 and he's a righty. unless someone is hard up for a CF bench guy or a 5th OF'r that can cover CF+RF skillfully he'll probably be left alone.

all in all, we're talking about a 4th/5th OF here. useful, but not a system destroyer if lost.

even as far as bench guys go, i wouldn't put in the same class of mistake as leaving ryan flaherty unprotected (especially based on team need). flaherty may not be hitting well for avg/ob% at the MLB level, but his D at 2nd/3rd and power is there.

Jae-Hoon Ha is the second-best defensive centerfielder in the Cubs organization (only Albert Almora is better), and he also has the arm to play RF.

In 210 AA games at age 21-22, Ha hit 277/347/388. By comparison, in 163 AA games at age 22-23, Matt Szczur (who is on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster) has hit 266/366/365. 

While the offensive numbers are very similar, the difference between them is that Ha is a year younger than Szczur, and he's a better defensive outfielder with a better arm. Ha also displays BP HR power that could develop easily into 12-15 game HR-power as he matures. (In fact, Ha hit 11 HR in 132 games between Daytona and Tennessee in 2011 before shortening his swing as he tried to be more of a conventional lead-off hitter).  

It is certainly true that Ha struggled at Iowa in 2013 after he was promoted to AAA, but he was also one of the youngest position-players in the PCL when he was there. 

I think there is a good chance that Ha will get selected in the Rule 5 Draft, and because of his defensive skill and above-average speed, he could easily spend a full season on an MLB roster as a pinch-runner and late-inning defensive replacement to fulfill Rule 5 requirements. 

And I wouldn't be too quick to paint Ha as a future 4th or 5th OF at the big league level. While that might end up being the case, he's not exactly a "4-A" guy. He just turned 23 last month, and it's not possible to know at this time exactly what he will become. And because of that, the Cubs probably should have added him to 40 to keep him from being lost in the Rule 5 Draft. 

as noted in a past thread, and i believe you also stated similarly...i wouldn't leave him unprotected.

he may be young...may not be solidly MLB-ready...may be right handed...but leaving a guy like d.bard on the 40-man while leaving ha off of it seems silly. it's not like ha has 2-3 more seasons in the minors to go through before he'd be expected to be on the 40-man getting his shot in the bigs anyway.

hell, i'd rather have ha than b.jackson on the 40-man at this point...or just use that last slot on the 40-man that's empty...whatever.

i wonder what the front office is cooking up that needs that roster slot empty, anyway...if anything.

there's always an incredible gap between the amount of Rule 5 angst vs. actual importance

regardless, Szczur is only on the 40-man because of his draft deal and he walks better and has better speed

is it possible the Cubs will regret not protecting Ha? Sure...

Are the odds very good that they will regret it or even lose him? Not at all....

Fwiw, Baseball America didn't even have him listed as a potential protected candidate

for those looking for the Boston/Padres angle, Red Sox did leave off Kolbrin Vitek, former first round pick...Padres left Matt Lollis off ("Lollis would be an easy add in an organization with more roster spots, as scouts would consider the opportunity to pick up a 6-foot-9 righthander with a 95-96 mph fastball, even if the results haven’t always matched the stuff.")

hell, e.jokisch might be more attractive to other teams (24yo control lefty, SP) than ha.

still, i think ha was worth protecting. some people like him more than others, though...i just hope none of those people are GMs looking for rule 5 pickups.

For me, it's not about trying to measure his overall future value. For a team in a rebuild, it should really just be a two-part question. 1) Does the player have future MLB potential? 2) Is there room on the 40 man, either open spots or inferior players who will not be part of the team's future? And the second part of the question is an enthusiastic yes.

Really frustrated with the way this org keeps leaving guys exposed who have Rule 5-friendly profiles in favor of guys who have no obvious future upside at all. Once the 40 is totally stocked with future and current potential, losing guys like Ha becomes part of the game. But for now, it's futile, because this team sucks and its roster is well-stocked with shit.

oh, you're upset they lost Flaherty and Gonzalez....I mean I know losing two guys who hit worse (maybe as well) than Darwin Barney is a big blow to the pennant chase, but I don't know what either did that isn't absurdly easily to replace on the free market or improve upon. I know they could have saved a half million bucks or so maybe not signing the Cole Gillespie's of the world, but that wasn't going to get them to sign Anibal Sanchez either. This is a front office that is currently shopping for deals in the free agent market, not ever looking to overpay.

I get the nostalgia factor that they came up the Cubs system and you want to give them a shot in the majors so that we can then hate them (Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney wave hi). But the odds that any front office in this day and age is going to lose another Shane Victorino are pretty slim. Could it happen?...of course...but getting particularly upset over the Rule 5 thinking it's likely to happen or it's some grave mistake isn't worth the worry imo.

The front office spends 10x the amount of times studying who they should protect and what the future 40-man might look like it than any of us do. Mistakes are always possible, but there's usually a pretty good rhyme to their reason.

That all being said, they probably should have kept Flaherty two years ago and I think Theo even said so last year. But also, big whoop...Flaherty's utility and bench value are far more important to a pennant contender than a rebuilding team at this moment.

"The front office spends 10x the amount of times studying who they should protect and what the future 40-man might look like it than any of us do. "

I think there may be a couple guys here where the number is maybe more like 2x. Just saying.

I think the my complaint would be that they leave some fringe prospects exposed in order to add unnecessary scraps to the roster. It's just a complaint about not having the optimally efficient team rebuild when rebuilding is clearly the plan.

And I think the front office response is that they prefer the "unnecessary scraps" to those "fringe prospects."

Without revisiting the time and place on each of these moves, you can't really compare spring training and in-season pick-ups versus what they do at the beginning of the offseason to make room on the 40-man for free agents and the generally inconsequential Rule 5 draft.

Fringe prospects that might make good back-ups aren't anything to fret about in my opinion. Ha's got a lot of work to do to even be a second division regular. Not a lot of teams are going to start an outfielder with a sub .400 SLG that doesn't have elite speed or on-base skills, no matter how good the defense is.

Am I missing something on Ha? Is his ceiling even close to Reed 'Mantle' Johnson? If not, than what does he do besides a RF arm, that Szczur can't do?

My 40-man reserve list would not have protected Gamel, Bard, or Murphy but my only add would have been Alcantara. I would hope Theo is aggressively trying to move BJax, Cabrera, Vitters, & Szczur for anything of greater value. When you reflect that two years ago (pre-Theo) these guys were Top 10 prospects on most sites lists, it's amazing how much this organization sucked and how far away they were from a championship team.

Quite frankly, I'm impressed with what they've done in only two years. That doesn't mean I'm blindly loyal to Theo but it does mean I can see it taking more than 2-3 years before this team competed for a division title much less a WS berth.

Gamel seems like a great risk to me, pretty high end prospect that has had injury issues...a lot better chance at being a Ryan Ludwick type find than most of the flim-flam we discuss around here. There's obviously a bit of history with Bard and once upon a time great stuff, doesn't look like he's recapturing it anytime soon though.

As for the rest of the names mentioned, sure they could drop or lose some of them, but outrighting someone is riskier than exposing them to the Rule 5 draft.

CRUNCH: Ryan Flaherty has hit 16 HR in 162 MLB games (equal to exacly one full season) in his two years with the Orioles, and he plays almost everywhere in the field (3B-SS-2B-1B-LF-RF). He could have provided some cheap LH bench production for the Cubs in 2012-13 if he hadn't been left exposed (and ultimately lost) in the 2011 Rule 5 Draft. And he won't be a FA until after the 2017 season, either. 

One unusual thing about Flaherty was that he was rated the Orioles 7th best prospect by Baseball America after he was selected in the Rule 5 Draft, and I don't recall that ever happening before. Most teams would protect a guy like that.   

the thing that burns me about leaving him exposed was it was pretty much known from day-1 that he was going to be taken by someone in the Rule5...and he was the 1st position player taken.

at least there's still a chance ha will be around next year in the cubs system given his age and the fact he's a righty position player. lefties tend to get the most attention in the rule 5...outside of pitchers, which get the most focus.

It would seem to me that the Cubs could let a few of the recent sucks go, and stash others that have more upside.

Daniel Bard, Donnie Murphy (not the worst, but...really?), Mat Gamel, Bogusevic, Hector Rondon...

Would not lose sleep about any of these guys going unprotected.

future cub watch...

"Diamondbacks designated LHP Tony Sipp for assignment."

more future cub watch news...

"Nationals designated LHP Fernando Abad for assignment."

Don't the Nationals still owe the Cubs a player for Scott Hairston?

At the time of the deal, both clubs were due a PTBNL. The official press release though has no mentions of the PTBNL's. Nats allegedly owe a PTBNL for DeJesus as well.

I would like to see AZ Phil and Rob G's IDs-

alright, busted

Prince Fielder traded for Kinsler.

Gotta love those big name trades.

Awesome trade! Now they just need permission to throw in draft picks, Bud (or successor) ...

Jeff Passan ‏@JeffPassan

Final deal: Detroit trades Prince Fielder + $30M to Texas for Ian Kinsler. TEX gets Prince for 7/$138M, DET gets Kinsler for 4/$62M + $30M.

Some of you have seen this article for sure - its from 2011 - but here was the "Rule 5 HOF".

I suspect that TheoJed have their eye on another crap pitcher/player like Lendy Castillo to "pluck" an underachiever off the Rule 5 pile which is why they still have a slot open on the 40.

Again, keeping some of the above-named players over Ha, et. al., is a head-scratcher.

Some goofy Samardzija for Wieters rumor on XM radio that they quickly debunked

P. Bourjos for Freese rumors floating around.

Bruce Levine‏@MLBBruceLevine
Cubs appear to be getting close to finalizing their coaching staff. Former Cub player Mike Brumley interviewed this week.

manager...coaches...eli whiteside...various AAA middle infielders...ryan sweeney 2yr deal...

this is the golden era of being a cubs fan. COMMITTED (tm)!


eli's coming?

Break out the dry ice machines...

he has an invite to ST, but given his performance the past many years i hope his only role is playing mentor in AAA.

dude hit .187/.242/.280 last year in 244 round rock (hitter's park) a 33 year old.

The way you kept adding more and more negatives to the mix reminded me of a Bizarro Ron Popeil commercial -- "Now how much would you pay? But wait...there's more!"

all in all, he should be AAA "older guy who's been there" mentor type...not uncommon in AAA. pat borders filled the role for many teams while being an injury-emergency call-up guy.

i truly hope he is not a serious candidate for backup catcher on the mlb team.

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.