Cubs Roster Strategy

Try a Little Non-Tenderness

12/2 UPDATE #2: Mark Gonzales at the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Cubs have signed arbitration-eligible LHP Clayton Richard to a 2016 contract ($2M salary), and have non-tendered RHRP Ryan Cook and LHRP Jack Leathersich. The Cubs claimed both Cook and Leathersich off waivers last month, Cook from the Boston Red Sox and Leathersich from the New York Mets.

The other twenty unsigned players on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster were apparently tendered 2016 contracts, and six of the twenty (RHSP Jake Arrieta, OF-IF Chris Coghlan, RHRP Justin Grimm, RHRP Hector Rondon, RHRP Pedro Strop, and LHP Travis Wood) will be eligible for salary arbitration if the player is not satisfied with the club's salary offer.  

Cook was eligible for salary arbitration for the second time and was projected to get about $1.5M for 2016 (he was paid $1.4M in 2015), and the Cubs may not have wanted to pay him that much if he is expected to spend most of the year as "bullpen injury insurance" at AAA Iowa. So the Cubs could possibly re-sign Cook to a major league contract with a minimal base salary (perhaps $750K) plus a performance bonus based on days spent on the MLB 25-man roster in 2016 (something they could not do if he was tendered), or they could sign him to a 2016 minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training. Whether Cook would agree to such an arrangement remains to be seen, but the Cubs might not have non-tendered Cook if they didn't already have a 2016 deal in place. 

Leathetsich is not yet eligible for salary arbitration, but he could not be outrighted to the minors during the off-season (after 11/20) because he is injured (July TJS), so non-tendering him and then re-signing him to a 2016 minor league contract is the only way the Cubs can remove Leathersich from their MLB 40-man roster but still keep him under club control. Of course the Cubs could have simply waited until the start of Spring Training and then placed Leathersich on the 60-day DL (thus removing him from the 40-man roster), so it would appear that the Cubs believe they will need his roster slot on the 40 before then. It remains to be seen if Leathersich will sign a minor league contract with the Cubs, but (as with Cook) the Cubs probably would not have non-tendered him if they did not already have a pre-arranged minor league deal in place. 

So the Cubs MLB Reserve List (AKA "40-man roster") now stands at 36, with four slots left open for free-agents who might be signed over the next few days and weeks, off-season waiver claims, or perhaps even a Rule 5 Draft pick.  

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12/2 UPDATE #1: Jon Heyman at CBS Sports reports that the Cubs have signed LHRP Rex Brothers to a 2016 contract ($1.42M salary). Brothers was paid $1.4M in 2015, and would have been arbitration-eligible for the second time post-2015. He was acquired by the Cubs from the Colorado Rockies for minor league LHSP Wander Cabrera last month.  


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Tomorrow (Wednesday December 2nd) is the deadline for MLB clubs to tender 2016 major league contracts to unsigned players on the club's MLB Reserve List (AKA "40-man roster").

Cubs 2015 MLB Post-Season Eligibility List

A club's Active List (25-man roster) must be submitted to the MLB Commissioner prior to the start of each post-season series (WC, LDS, LCS, and World Series).

A club's Active List can be changed (tweaked) prior to the start of each series (WC, LDS, LCS, and WS). 

To Tender or Not to Tender - That is the Question, Bard

The Cubs MLB Reserve List (AKA "40-man roster") is presently full. Of the 40 players on the Cubs MLB Reserve List, eight (Starlin Castro, Kyuji Fujikawa, Edwin Jackson, Chang-Yong Lim, Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler, Ryan Sweeney, and Carlos Villanueva) are signed for 2014, and 32 (see list below) are under club control but are unsigned. The Cubs must decide by Monday (December 2nd) whether or not to tender a contract to each of the 32 unsigned players.

Can I Get You a Cup of Coffee?

This is the time of the year when MLB clubs begin to rearrange the deck-chairs, as contenders look to solidify their post-season rosters with a last minute waiver deal or two prior to the August 31st post-season roster eligibility deadline, and clubs that are out of contention bring up players from the minors to get a look at guys who might (or might not) have a future with the club.   

Cubs possible September call-ups and roster additions: 

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  • Cubs record for last 3 months of regular season baseball: 59 - 23. (Aug, Sept/Oct and April, with one still to go).

    That's a .720 winning percentage and projects to 117 wins over 162 games.

    That's a lot of dance parties.

  • So where does Warren G rank in the list of terrible "Take me out to the ballgame" renditions? It's gotta be near the top.

  • They only need to win 18 more in a row to match the 1984 start of the Detroit Tigers.

  • I agree that it is frustrating and baffling and I am surprised more teams don't try and take advantage of it. However, in the end, I would rather have a pitcher that has 4-5 outs innings versus 4-5 runs innings.

  • 17-5!

  • .464 obp play him over Mr june-august

    And he can play the field

  • I don't have any problem being "reminded" of it -- but anything more than a short sentence about it makes my eyes glaze over and skip to the bottom.

  • per Len: Not Wrigley Field Friendly confines today, it's Szczur's Palace

  • It's kinda neat seeing guys with such little experience doing so well off the bench. Usually it's guys with a bit more time. How many major league at bats do those two have between them?

  • It's really not any more newsworthy than a pitcher who runs up and misses it with his glove, walks the batter instead, or throws it into right field where some runs score. Holding the ball was brilliant. He knew he didn't have the throw eyed. And then he follows up with a gutsy performance. The guy rocks.

  • Hail Szczur!

  • Of course it's noteworthy. I was going to make a post about it if you hadn't. But per Robs point the headline should be "Lester pitches 7 innings with only 1 ER and and 10ks" with "he got himself into a jam by not throwing on a fielded bunt which he was able to pitch out of." As a paragraph in the article and not the headline.

    Or as I write this the headline should be Szczur hits a grand slam but Lester kept them in it the whole game which can be a sub headline.

  • Szczur szlam!

  • Bones!!

  • between him and lastella there's a R/L combo that seems to be comfortable + productive off the bench.

    handy stuff for a playoff contending team.

  • Well, he's consistent at that then.