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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  • I thought the same. It'd be great luck to face these non-contenders after the trade deadline.

    Charlie 1 hour 7 min ago view
  • ...why isn't j.lucroy playing for TEX yet?

    :(

    2r HR on a 12-pitch AB.

    crunch 1 hour 41 min ago view
  • nathan to join the cubs tomorrow.

    crunch 2 hours 16 min ago view
  • Wow in deed.

    Rob Richardson 2 hours 20 min ago view
  • FOX Sports @MLBONFOX
    Chris Sale was scratched from tonight's scheduled start due to a clubhouse incident before the game

    ...wow

    he was sent home by the team, too. the wsox released a press statement and everything. they stated it was non-physical in nature.

    crunch 2 hours 25 min ago view
  • He was scratched from his start today. No reason given.

    Rob Richardson 2 hours 30 min ago view
  • At the start of the season the book was that he was trying to pitch to more contact so he could stay in the game longer and it seems to be working so far. Contact against is 77.5% this year and it was 70.2% the year before. He averaged 6.7 IP/game last year and so far it's 7 IP/game. His actual pitches per game are only down to 106.1/game from 107.2/game last year but if he's able to go a bit farther into games without throwing more pitches and without giving up more runs that is a good thing.

    johann 3 hours 33 min ago view
  • sale's skills and insane value makes it almost too hard to have a market for the guy...he's got 3/38m owed to him over 3 seasons (2 team options). he could easily pull in 30m/yr if he was on the market as a FA.

    he's throwing a bit differently this season, especially with more sliders and less changeups like earlier in his career, but all his stuff still looks great even if the HRs are a little elevated and the Ks are down.

    crunch 5 hours 28 min ago view
  • Torres, Happ, McKinney, Jimenez, and Candelario for Sale. Deal or no deal?

    "The White Sox are reportedly asking for “five top prospects” for Chris Sale, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports."

    John Beasley 5 hours 42 min ago view
  • Unless he develops 30+ HR power and keeps his walk rate close to his K rate at the MLB level, he's not going to turn into Prince Fielder. And even if he does turn into Prince Fielder, he's gonna have a short prime. His very limited athleticism is likely to also detract some value from his ability to reach base--I don't buy making an out as being preferable to base clogging, but you'd certainly prefer just about any base runner other than Vogelbach, David Ortiz, etc.

    Charlie 6 hours 12 min ago view
  • seeing as arod has played a total of 27.1 innings of D at 1st/3rd and somehow managed a -0.5 dWAR with his 1 error at 1st and an overall positive total zone rating...he might end up even more in the shitter via the characteristics/flaws/whatever of how some sites determine various WAR values. dWAR doesn't directly lead to a WAR value, but the 2 main entities pushing the most popular variations of WAR sometimes lead to some interesting discrepancies in value.

    crunch 6 hours 28 min ago view
  • I have a lot of faith in Baez that he's going to turn into a more consistent, solid player. It looks like it took him about a half season or so of futility at the plate to figure out he was not talented enough to get away with the crazy approach he had. I think his running game will eventually have a more measured aggression.

    Charlie 10 hours 22 min ago view
  • I hope the D and bullpen show up. Cubs haven't had much luck against Davies, and he's been going well lately. A little uncomfortable with the Cards only 6.5 back--feels like they're right on our tails compared to the 11 game lead I've grown accustomed to.

    Charlie 10 hours 26 min ago view
  • Cardinals, stop that. Right now.

    billybucks 11 hours 20 min ago view
  • In a year or two, a lot of fans are going to point at trading him as a mistake. He'll probably be slashing something like 280/400/480 for Seattle at the time. Of course, by WAR, he'll still be worth less than 3, since we're talking zero defensive value.

    John Beasley 12 hours 23 min ago view
  • vogelbomb debut for tacoma (AAA SEA)... 3-3, 1bb, 1 HR, 1 double...DH'd.

    while he mostly played 1st considerably more than DH for AAA CHC, DJ Peterson is probably going to see most of the time at 1st for AAA SEA.

    crunch 20 hours 49 min ago view