The Big Freeze

The Cubs and the other 29 MLB clubs must submit their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) and minor league reserve lists (38-man AAA roster, 37-man AA roster, and 35-man Class "A" rosters) to the MLB office no later than the close of business this Thursday (11/20).   

What will the Cubs do?

Any player on a minor league reserve list at the close of business on November 20th who is eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft is considered "frozen" on that roster until the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft, meaning all Rule 5 eligible players who are not added to the MLB 40-man roster by 11/20 cannot be traded to another organization or moved to a different reserve list in the same organization during that period of time. Players on an MLB 40-man roster can be outrighted to the minors during this period, however. (Some of you may remember back a few years ago, when the Cubs had to wait until the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft to send RHP Mike Nannini to the Florida Marlins as the PTBNL in the Derrek Lee deal, because Nannini was eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft and the trade was executed during the post-11/20 "frozen" period).

Players who were 19 or older on the June 5th prior to signing their first contract and who signed their first contract prior to September 1st of that season are eligible for selection beginning with the 4th Rule 5 Draft after signing, and players who were 18 or younger on the June 5th prior to signing their first contract and who signed prior to September 1st of that season are eligible for selection beginning with the 5th Rule 5 Draft after signing. (For Rule 5 Draft eligibility purposes, a player who signs his first contract after August 31st is considered to have signed his first contract in the next season, and if a player signs his first contract prior to September 1st but is assigned to a minor league club whose regular season has concluded, that player is also considered to have signed his first contract in the next season).   

At present, there are 32 Cubs minor leaguers eligible for selection in this year's Rule 5 Draft, and so the Cubs must decide by no later than Thursday if they wish to add any of the 32 to their MLB Reserve List ( 40-man roster), or else risk losing the player in next month's Rule 5 Draft.

Draft-eligible players on AAA rosters can be selected in the Major League Phase of the draft for $50,000, but must be kept on the drafting club's 25-man Active List for an entire season or else get offered back to the player's former club for half the draft price. However, draft-eligible players on AA rosters are available for only $12,000 with no roster restrictions, and draft-eligible players on Class "A" rosters are available for only $4,000 (also with no roster restrictions).

A club can place any of its draft-eligible minor leaguers on which ever reserve list it so chooses (AAA, AA, or "A") on November 20th regardless of where the player played the previous season (and it would have no impact on where the player can play the next season), but most of the players eligible for the Rule 5 Draft are usually assigned to the AAA roster because of the higher draft price and roster restrictions. So any player selected off a AA or Class "A" roster usually is put there with the hope that he will get selected, usually because the club feels the player has zero future in the organization and getting even a few thousand bucks for the player is better than nothing.

Besides the 32 Cubs minor leaguers eligible for selection in this year's Rule 5 Draft, any free-agent who has signed a 2009 minor league contract with the Cubs (including any Cubs minor league free-agent who re-signs with the Cubs) prior to the Rule 5 Draft is eligible for selection as well.  

In addition, an MLB club can designate any player who is not otherwise eligible for the Rule 5 Draft as available for selection if the club so chooses. Although it rarely happens, a club might do so if it was planning to release the player after the draft anyway, and the club is hoping some fool might be willing to shell out $12,000 (or maybe even just $4,000) to take the player off the club's hands. (Think of it as a "yard sale").  

For example, it's possible that the Cubs will choose to make Peoria RHP Julio Castillo (indicted for felonious assault with a deadly weapon after throwing a baseball at a fan in Dayton this past season) available for selection in the 2008 Rule 5 Draft for $4,000 off the Peoria roster (even though Castillo otherwise isn't eligible for the draft for the first time until after next season), since the Cubs do not have a minor league club in the Ohio State Prison League (at this time).

James Adduci, OF
Alberto Alburquerque, RHP
Mitch Atkins, RHP
Justin Berg, RHP
Todd Blackford, RHP
Edward Campusano, LHP
Russ Canzler, 1B
Yusuf Carter, OF
Rafael Dolis, RHP
Jesse Estrada, RHP
Danny Fatheree, C
Dumas Garcia, RHP
Ryan Harvey, OF
Jim Henderson, RHP
Mark Holliman, RHP
Grant Johnson, RHP
Marcos Mateo, RHP
J. R. Mathes, LHP
Mario Mercedes, C
Jonathan Mota, INF
Jake Muyco, RHP
Vince Perkins, RHP
Jose Pina, RHP
Mark Reed, C
Gregory Reinhard, RHP
Kyle Reynolds, 3B
Tony Richie, C
Chris Robinson, C
Jayson Ruhlman, LHP
Alvaro Sosa, C
Nate Spears, 2B
Donald Veal, LHP

While I have no special insight into what the Cubs might choose to do, I suspect that RHP Mitch Atkins, 2B Nate Spears, and LHP Donald Veal are virtual locks to be added to the 40-man roster by this Thursday, with RHP Justin Berg, RHP Jesse Estrada, and LHP J. R. Mathes "on the bubble."

The Cubs presently have eight open slots on their MLB Reserve List (AKA 40-man roster), so they could select as many as eight players to be added if they so desire, but I suspect GM Jim Hendry will want to keep three or four slots open for any MLB free-agents (RF, SP, C) he may sign in the days and weeks ahead.

Note that the Cubs have lost players in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft in each of the past six drafts, starting with 1B-OFJason Dubois to TOR in 2002, and then RHP Jason Szuminski to SD in 2003, LHP Andy Sisco to KC and LHP Luke Hagerty to BAL (subsequently traded to FLA by BAL) in 2004, RHP Juan Mateo to STL in 2005, LHP Edward Campusano to MIL (subsequently traded to DET by MIL), RHP Lincoln Holdzkom to HOU, and INF Jason Smith (signed as a minor league FA a month prior to the draft) to TOR in 2006 and RHP Randy Wells to TOR last year, and the Cubs ended up getting all of them back except Sisco and Smith, so I doubt that Jim Hendry is sweating this decision very much. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't delegate the job to Player Development Director Oneri Fleita and/or Assistant GM Randy Bush.  


Hi, Phil. Great stuff, as always. One name that I have not heard about for quite awhile is Dumas Garcia, the mystery man. Is he still with the Cubs? If so, I would imagine that he would be headed for Iowa soon?

Thanks AZ Phil! Who do you think is "Cub most Likely to be taken in Rule 5 draft?", assuming they add to the 40-man as you say.

Isn't Garcia a Minor League FA?

You're right about not sweating it, last I checked we could have Sisco back now if we really wanted him. He made us look bad with that nice rookie year in KC though.

Submitted by Jace on Mon, 11/17/2008 - 2:56pm.

Hi, Phil.

Great stuff, as always.

One name that I have not heard about for quite awhile is Dumas Garcia, the mystery man. Is he still with the Cubs? If so, I would imagine that he would be headed for Iowa soon?



JACE: If he isn't fighting with some Colombian guerilla army, I expect Dumas Garcia will be at Minor League Camp next March and will be competing for a job in the Iowa bullpen. He's 25 years old (turns 26 in July), though, so he really needs to prove himself at AAA in 2009.

Submitted by Q-Ball on Mon, 11/17/2008 - 3:23pm. T

hanks AZ Phil!

Who do you think is "Cub most Likely to be taken in Rule 5 draft?", assuming they add to the 40-man as you say.

Isn't Garcia a Minor League FA?


Q-BALL: Dumas Garcia and Danny Fatheree were eligible to be minor league free-agents post-2008, but both apparently signed 2009 minor league with the Cubs sometime prior to the end of the World Series.

As for who is most-likely to get selected, I would say Atkins, Spears, or Veal if they aren't protected, and then Berg (who has similar stuff as Samardzija but zero command), Estrada (a 6'8 300 dude who pitched very well in AZ Fall League), and Mathes (rotation starter at Iowa in 2008) are the other most-likely possibilities.

Also maybe Mark Holliman (who once appeared to have a possible future as an MLB rotation starter), Gregory Reinhard (one of the guys the Cubs got from TB for Jae-Kuk Ryu a couple of years ago), or Marcos Mateo (Juan's cousin, acquired from CIN for Buck Coats a year ago) could get a look from somebody looking for a right-handed middle-reliever. Maybe LHP Jayson Ruhlman as a LOGGY.

And 3B-1B Kyle Reynolds (son of ex-MLB infielder Craig Reynolds) had a very good power year at AA Tennessee in 2007 and looked to be a prospect on the rise, before failing to make the Iowa roster out of Minor League Camp last March and then slumping big-time at AA. He has a similar profile as Scott Moore (left-handed hitting corner IF with pop).  .

I think that's probably about it.

Jeremy Affeldt signs with the Giants (was a Red last yr), I wonder if that means the rumor of Howry to the Giants is dead.

Also Ryan Braun was released.

alas, it's the pitching RB from the Royals.

probably got their Howry might still be in play

another article on there says 6 teams have asked about Furcal, A's and Giants are two of them, not sure about the other 4. Furcal expecting something in the 4/40 range.

6 teams interested, Braves might be one of them if they deal Yunel Escobar. One team has already offered 3/39 for him.

Damn... I would have loved Affeldt on the Cubs. I am guessing that he will be one of the best deals of this off-season.

Beimel vs. Affeldt vs. Ohman

you make the call?

obviously Ohman's not going to be a Cub, but I would think the Cubs might get in on Beimel.

Beimel vs. Affeldt vs. Ohman

I would go with Affeldt, And it isn't really close, in my mind.

16 year old girl drafted by japanese upstart league...

concerned with your financial hardships...

Crazy rumor. Besides being a right-handed hitter, why would the Cubs want Dye at $9.5 million?

why would the Cubs want Dye at $9.5 million?

Probably because he is quite good.

Are there better options at RF? And for less money?

Yes, he had a good 2008 season but he bats right-handed. The Cubs want -- and need -- to add a left-handed hitting run producer.

Yes, he had a good 2008 season but he bats right-handed. The Cubs want -- and need -- to add a left-handed hitting run producer.

You said "Besides being a right-handed hitter."

Phil, a lot of these guys have mileage, which is why they're Rule 5 candidates--but Jake Muyco has only been a pitcher for one season, and it was a pretty good one at Boise and Peoria. Maybe they'll try to hang on to him for a longer look.

By the way, Steve Clevenger gets a writeup on the Winter Leagues page of today for swinging a good bat in the AFL after being promoted from the taxi squad.

-but Jake Muyco has only been a pitcher for one season, and it was a pretty good one at Boise and Peoria.

all the more reason to not waste a 40-man spot on him, his chances of sticking with a big league club for the entire 2009 season are even less than his chances to be picked in the Rule 5 draft.

Yeah, probably he's pretty safe to expose. AZ Phil says he throws hard. Most of these other guys have had a lot of failure.

I'm all for Jake Muyco or any of our newly converted pitchers, it's just the percentage of players that stick that are Rule 5 draftees are pretty small. Pretty unlikely that a guy pitching for a year can hack the majors for a full season.

It would be nice to be on the right side of a Josh Hamilton, Johan Santana, Dan Uggla or Roberto Clemente though.... 

We were a small part of the right side of Josh Hamilton. We were the unsuspecting part.

I know....would fit the lefty middle of the order outfielder part so well...

ZOMG, you suck Hendry...die, WORST.GM.EVER. He needs to blow up the team...change, like Obama!!!!


I just realized that Jody Davis was a rule V draftee. There's a nice prize for the Cubs.

a nice pickup indeed...did not know that

Great as always. Is there a way of finding out what players are being protected on the Iowa and Tennessee rosters for their respective drafts?

"First of all I want to congratulate newly elected President Obama and I am glad he has a passion for college football like so many other Americans," Swofford said in a statement. "For now, our constituencies -- and I know he understands constituencies -- have settled on the current BCS system, which the majority believe is the best system yet to determine a national champion while also maintaining the college football regular season as the best and most meaningful in sports."

really? the majority? because I don't know a lot of folks who like the BCS except the guys getting rich off the TV deal.

Speaking of random articles about football, Here's a great line from the Yahoo Sports article about McNabb not knowing that NFL games could end in a tie:

Maybe athletes' lack of knowledge about the sports they play is more widespread than we know. (This would explain Joe Morgan.)

except the guys getting rich off the TV deal.

I'm pretty sure that's exactly the constituency that the BCS guy is referring to. The NCAA, the BCS conferences, and the schools in those conferences (plus Notre Dame theoretically)are who he answers to and those are the entities that rake in all the cash from FOX and soon ESPN. I won't say he doesn't care what you and I think about the BCS, but we're down the priority list a bit. Especially if people keep watching it on TV in it's current format. I'm not a big fan of the current format, but there's quite a long list of things I want my POTUS concentrating on rather than college football.

As far as money goes, it's not the BCS to blame. If the BCS turned into an 8 or 16 team playoff that rotated the final three games games to the top four bowls then rotated the other 4 or 12 games to the remaining bowls (and bowls that weren't part of the tournament that year could still invite teams that didn't qualify) there would almost undoubtedly be more systemic money. The problem in that scenario is that four or eight teams wouldn't get to play in a bowl, because the playoff teams would be playing multiple games. Despite it being 'all about money' these coaches and these AD's do think it's a good experience for their kids to get to go to Hawaii or Florida and play in a bowl game on national TV. Whether an extra $50K would appease that desire for the 3% or 6% of schools that got hosed in a playoff system is the open question. At this point it doesn't seem that it does.

not sure when that interview happened, but says he's focusing on the Cubs. Says they'll have to get a third team involved or possibly more...

"Jim Hendry is a great guy to work with..."

"couple pieces that are attractive to us but we're going to have to find 2 or 3 other pieces from other ballclubs...."

"Jake could very well be our Opening Day Starter...if the right deal doesn't present itself we'll start the season with him."

"any deal will not be perceived as a good deal..."

"...take more time than we originally thought"

hasn't talked with Angels and very little with Brian Cashmen

"any deal will not be perceived as a good deal..."


wonder if that implies a less than active market for peavy, there's some kind of impact on his value to deal with (such as health), or SD is looking guys so young that the fan base wouldn't be pleased they're not getting an 09-ready star.

they won't be getting any major league "names" so they don't expect the fan base to be excited by it. And the Cubs are the only team they're talking to right now, other than whomever Hendry is trying to get involved to finish the deal.

No worries, some dude over at MLBTraderumors has this all worked out. 3 team deal. Cubs give up: cedeno, pie, hill, vitters, veal, hart, and Dlee for Peavy.

SD gets all those players, except Lee, plus a 'good RHP/LHP' plus a 'decent' SS/2B/OF from the 3rd team.

3rd team gets Lee.

Why hasn't Hendry figured this out already? It's brilliant.

Um, no thanks ChiTownCubbies. Ripoff for both the Cubs and the third team. The Cubs get Peavy, lose their backup shortstop, best outfield prospect, best hitting prospect, two high ceiling lefties, depth at starting pitcher, and their starting first baseman. 3rd team loses a good pitcher and a good middle infielder, only gets a high-paid defensive minded first baseman in return. Padres make out like bandits, dumping salary and getting all sorts of depth and a few pretty good prospects.

I love the random some-third-team that wants high salary defensive minded third baseman and has good middle infield and starting pitching prospects/major league ready talent to spare. Where is that team, and why does Derek Lee want to waive his no trade clause to go there?

Interesting. I have to think that Vitters isn't part of the deal, because if Towers could get a package of Vitters, and say, Pie, and Marshall, that should be a pretty decent deal for them. The fact that the Cubs' offer is clearly not enough so as to involve another team makes me think Vitters is (probably the only player to be) off the table.

Hey Chad! Check with your source guy dude.

on XM this morning, Randy Bush said they still want to resign Ryan Dempster but Randy Johnson would be a great fallback.

I would love to have them both and then just not worry too much about getting the lefty bat until mid-season, if it is still a priority.

(Marquis, Marshall, Samardzija, Gaudin, Hill, Atkins)

I figure Marquis and Marshall (I'd try to trade Marquis's contract anyway) would both get some starts filling in for Harden and Johnson, but if healthy (familiar words) that is a disgusting four man rotation (with either Lilly or Dempster getting shifted to the bullpen). Then again, maybe I shouldn't worry about a 4-man rotation until at least July.

I also think that Marshall could be an above average reliever and that Veal could be a loogy sometime soon--plenty of young pitchers to keep the bullpen respectably effective.

That's not a bad idea. Adding on to that, maybe 300 more PA's from Pie and/or Fukudome will convice us that one of them is going to be good enough to play, if not, hopefully some of our prospects will step up and become more attractive. If we go into the ST with a rotation of Zambrano, Lilly, Dempster, Harden, Johnson - I'd be pretty confident we'll need Marquis before the end of May (if not for the 8th game of the year).

*Edit - vote against counting on Veal for anything.

can't see the Cubs getting 2 starting pitchers AND keeping Marquis

just can't see them going into spring training where he would have to earn a job, more likely where he would have to really fuck up to lose a job. 

I'm fine with it myself, but at nearly $10M, I don't see the funds to let that happen.

I'd be more than thrilled with Z, Dempster, Harden, Lilly, Johnson as a rotation, trade Marquis (for anything), sign someone like Lieber again and then roll with Marshall, Hill, Atkins, Gaudin, Samardzija, Wells as the backups

Marquis went into ST last year having to earn a job, and he was owed two years' contract. Johnson would, essentially, be a better version of Lieber.

yeah, I guess...I forgot about the Rich Hill fiasco and that Hill was supposedly a lock for the spot.

I mean, technically it was between him, Dempster, Marshall and Lieber for 2 spots with Z, Lilly and Hill supposedly locked. HIll shit his pants and Dempster took it pretty easily. I guess it would have been interesting if Hill did something in ST.

Carry on...Marquis for the PEN!!

"*Edit - vote against counting on Veal for anything."

Actually, I agree. I didn't mean to indicate that Veal would be counted on to produce, just that he could pop up as the second lefty in the bullpen (after Marshall). Hill could also do this, if he bandages 2/3 of his brain back together.

I don't know that I'd say "need" Marquis, though. With Marshall, Samninja, Guadin, etc., Marquis is pretty expendable (although probably better than the alternatives). Only problem there is moving Marshall from bullpen to rotation in case of injury would mean no lefty reliever (unless Hill, Veal, or Piggy steps up).

Also, Fontenot could be a lefty bat. Probably not middle of the order, but 2nd or 7th are reasonable and 6th is not out of the question. DeRo would move to RF. I guess if the season started tomorrow, that's how it would go down, no?

In response to the Randy Johnson comment....whats a better version of Lieber?

"whats a better version of Lieber?"

Not Lieber.


Lieber wasn't active long enough under perform much.

Well there's a chance that the same thing will happen with Johnson.

Better version of Leiber in that you bring him in to build depth, but you don't necessarily count on him. He gets paid moer than Leiber and has a higher upside than Leiber - thus better.

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  • Dan Vogelbach is working on his firstbase defense in Seattle. Seems to say the Cubs didn't teach him properly.

    QuietMan 1 hour 26 min ago view
  • Oh my! Cards down 2-1 to Reds in the bottom of the 9th -- get a leadoff triple -- and don't score!

    billybucks 4 hours 39 min ago view
  • Gameday has stopped at the top of the 8th inning. Google tells me it ended up 8-4 Pirates but I can't get further detail. Guess I'll have to wait until the Cubs' website updates...

    JoePepitone 5 hours 43 min ago view
  • Attaboy!

    billybucks 5 hours 58 min ago view
  • Phil, thanks for posting. Where do find the schedule? I have a condo in Surprise, yet I drove to Mesa and Tempe looking for a game today! Thanks!

    rvimpeny 5 hours 59 min ago view
  • Dear Baseball Gods--
    My trip to Chicago has nothing whatsoever to do with the Cubs. In actuality, I am a Red Sox fan.

    CTSteve 6 hours 27 sec ago view
  • Well, if Strop had to give up a least he hit Sean Rodriguez to do it.

    billybucks 6 hours 8 min ago view
  • strop...stawwwp.

    jaso has a cycle and 5 rbis...pit leads by 4.

    crunch 6 hours 20 min ago view
  • have a nice bowl of pizza soup deep dish pizza...or a leisurely walk around the notorious south-side (bring money) at one of the walmart supercenters...waiting in line to waste $20 at willis tower...

    seriously,'s chicago, a lot to do. have a dog for lunch, a great dinner, and catch some local comedy.

    crunch 6 hours 27 min ago view
  • Strange, because he really seemed to have the Pirates number last year.

    Bummer for Jake -- I think this is the first time all year his ERA has been over 3.00, and that will be his number for the year.

    billybucks 6 hours 31 min ago view
  • Jinx remover -- your trip doesn't have to be for a baseball game -- lots of stuff to do here in town.

    billybucks 6 hours 33 min ago view
  • Guess they could always try to White Sox (and Bears...sob) approach: Never Rebuild! Seems to work pretty well for them.

    billybucks 6 hours 35 min ago view
  • 3rd time this season he's given up 6+ runs to PIT...only team he's given up 6+ runs to this season.

    7 runs is the most he's given up since august 6th in 2014.

    crunch 7 hours 5 min ago view
  • Over 100 pitches, only the 5th.

    Brick 7 hours 7 min ago view
  • coghlan his cleats stuck in the wall attempting a play (failed, but looked great doing it). walking off on his own, precautionary/day-to-day looking stuff...hopefully not worse.

    also, jake arrieta is literally worse than hitler. 1-5, bottom 5. ...make that 1-6, bottom 5. ...make that 1-7, bottom 5.

    crunch 7 hours 7 min ago view
  • Coghlan crashes into wall and comes up limping, looks like left knee or ankle. Leaves game...

    Arrieta inspiring no confidence yet again.

    Rob G. 7 hours 14 min ago view