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).
ELIGIBLE FOR 2008 RULE 5 DRAFT:
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.
AZ PHIL- Is Clayton Richard a free agent or not? One site I see he is, on another no. MLB has him listed as a free agent, Cot's contracts says he is a FA, baseball-reference says he's not, but Cubs have him on active roster. I know that he is just short of MLB 6 years service by just like 15 days, but that doesn't always matter.
Except that he gave up Russell and McKinney for a half-season of Hammel...
Beane cam at least point and laugh at Hammel.
The genius Angelo traded Olsen at Martzs request
Maybe Theo will sign Shark just so he can call Billy Beane and say: "Let's see...Russell? Check. McKinney? Check. Hammel? Check. Ninja? Check. Any other deals?"
To be fair to Emery and Trestman the foreshadowing of last year started happening well before them with the failure or mismanaging of multiple draft classes forcing the team to overspend in a free agency market that is even worse than baseball. Kyle Long seems like a good pick but they traded away another good one in Olson because of Martz's stupidity and inability to change his offense to fit the team talent.
HAGSAG: I think Domonic Brown does fit the criteria of a reclamation project, but unless he is willing to accept a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, I don't think the Cubs would be interested given where the Cubs are right now. A couple of years ago? Yes. But probably not now.
Brown would be better-off going to a club that is rebuilding and re-establish his value there, like Chris Coghlan did with the Cubs. And if he can re-establish his value, he could get traded to a contender at the trade deadline and take it from there.
"they just fade away"
(Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)
Amazing to me how quickly it fell apart under Trestman. Year 1, they were a Chris Conte brain fart away from making the playoffs. Year 2 -- coach, staff and GM all fired.
I am sure Jonathon Mota will be signed next.
AZ Phil, what is your thoughts on Domonic Brown as a reclamation project?
He also played LF in deference to Curtis Granderson.
Meh... other moves to make...hope to see a move or two soon.
I haven't seen much Bears football this year - difficult to watch the games out here, but the game I saw the week before I was watching in shock as I saw them actually make tackles. And Cutler has looked really good, too.
I guess people can quibble about play calling, but the team I saw is way more than 50% better coached (my only very minor disagreement with your comment).
Under Trestman, the team didn't do anything right. This team played like a well coached team when I saw them play the Rams.
"What is sometimes overlooked about Vogelbach because of his "bad body" and because he has struggled so much defensively is that he is a hard worker, has a great attitude, loves to play the game, and is very well-liked by his teammates, and while that may not seem important, teams do actually value stuff like that. "
As well they should. Replace a word here and there and you are describing any worker someone would hire.
Hak-Ju Lee signs a minor league contract with SF Giants.
Some closure on the 6 degrees of Separation for Matt Garza/Chris Archer