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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  • He's the nastiest pitcher I've seen in awhile. I'm gonna give them all a mulligan on this one.

    Coghlan's strike out was more disappointing. He was fighting off a lot of pitches and not swinging at crap, and on the last pitch, he swung at stuff he was laying off, and struck out.

    And Heyward, too. I don't blame Heyward - I blame free agency. I hate it. You almost never get a valid return on the investment.

    I look forward to the day when ball players own the teams. The current economics are not sustainable.

    Old and Blue 50 min 44 sec ago view
  • Oh, I'm sure you're right. He's not 27-27 in saves for nothing. But, man, I hope they learned last night that he didn't throw a single pitch in the zone to KB, Contreras or Baez, and they all just kept swinging.

    billybucks 2 hours 58 min ago view
  • Sounds like a much better game than last night's fiasco in Flushing.

    Old and Blue 3 hours 15 min ago view
  • I'm pretty sure it looks like a sweet pitch on the way in. How many sinkers like that are there at 98 mph? I agree that they should just do a Lackey and stand their with their bat on their shoulders until he throws a strike next time, but I can see how that's hard to do.

    The bullpen, on the other hand, is a mess, and Heyward is starting to piss me off.

    Old and Blue 3 hours 16 min ago view
  • I noticed that too. He's getting to everything, but when he gets right under it on a high flyball he looks uncomfortable

    cubbies.4ever 11 hours 50 min ago view
  • Did you expect anything different?

    billybucks 12 hours 20 min ago view
  • Wow, did they blow this game. Stupid plays by the kids in the 7th -- Almora throwing to 3rd instead of 2nd to keep the DP in order (when a DP probably wins the game) and Baez throwing to 3rd (to a backpedalling KB) instead of getting the easy 2nd out at first - cost them the game. Also, Contreras almost throws the ball into RF on a nonexistent pick-off play. And Maddon, for using Peralta in the first place. Did they do a bunch of shots in the dugout before the 7th? Unbelievably bad baseball. I thought Almora had a high baseball IQ?

    billybucks 12 hours 42 min ago view
  • men on 2nd/3rd, 0 out...and nothing.

    cubs lose :(

    crunch 13 hours 15 min ago view
  • UH OH! RALLY TIME!

    crunch 13 hours 25 min ago view
  • Getting tired of this Heywood weak sauce

    jacos 13 hours 35 min ago view
  • Yep, can't say I disagree with that. His first batter and resulting walk was just brutal. Reminded me of a bit of Jacque Jones spiking his throws into the ground from RF.

    Eric S 13 hours 44 min ago view
  • The use of Peralta in any semblance of a high leverage situation is questionable at best.

    fixed that for ya.

    crunch 13 hours 51 min ago view
  • The use of Peralta in any semblance of a high leverage situation is questionable at best. Hind sight is easy but Peralta had nothing.

    Eric S 13 hours 59 min ago view
  • make that just peralta...

    crunch 14 hours 7 sec ago view
  • a.soriano new OF fielding coach?

    crunch 15 hours 4 min ago view
  • Why is Almora jumping up on catches?

    jacos 15 hours 6 min ago view