Cubs Release Three, But Not So Fast...

The Cubs released LHRP , INF , and OF today, but hope to re-sign all three players. The trio were signed to minor league contracts during the off-season and were in big league camp as NRI (Non-Roster Invitees). 

Here's why this happened today... 

If an Article XX-B MLB free-agent (like Parra, Kawasaki, and Victorino) signs a minor league contract at least ten days prior to MLB Opening Day, and then is either not released by 12 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day prior to MLB Opening Day or added to an MLB Active List (25-man roster) or MLB Disabled List by 3 PM (Eastern) on MLB Opening Day, the player automatically receives a $100,000 retention bonus, and the player can unilaterally opt-out of the minor league contract on June 1st if he has not been added to an MLB Active List (25-man roster) or an MLB Disabled List by that date.

: (last updated 2-26-2016)
Munenori Kawasaki, INF 
Manny Parra, LHP 
Shane Victorino, OF 

So the Cubs can avoid paying the $100K retention bonus and having to deal with an automatic 6/1 opt-out by releasng the Article XX-B player now and then re-signing him to a new minor league contract that does not include the retention bonus and/or the 6/1 opt-out. 

The Cubs did the exact same thing with LHSP  two years ago, releasing him before the retention bonus and opt-out kicked-in, and then re-signing him to a new pre-arranged minor league contract the very next day. 

It's a bit like when a player is non-tendered on 12/2 and then is subsequently re-signed to a minor league contract for a lot less money (as happened with TJS rehabber LHRP last December after the Cubs claimed him off waivers from the Mets) than what the club could (by rule) offer the player if he was tendered and remained on the club's MLB 40-man roster. 


We will need Kawasaki and Parra before this season is over.

the kawasaki one seems a bit of a gamble, but at the same time his talent is redundant over the long haul with baez it seems like he's had a blast in cubs camp and might want to hang around for a chance to reconnect with the group. given how much he's played and how well he's done, he's a strong candidate for the cubs ST MVP (not that it actually means a lot, though it's something). -edit- and it seems that worked itself out already. neat.

Who had Javy for DL contest? Bruce Levine ‏@MLBBruceLevine 1m1 minute ago Cuba Javier Baez starting on DL with thumb contusion

I require a rule clarification. Is it still the first player on the in-season DL if they will begin the season on the DL, or is it the first player to be DL'd after starting the season on the active roster?

The first player DL'd after the season starts--or, "in-season DL" as it reads. Credit WISCGRAD for that clarification/qualification. He anticipated this very thing. By the way, have your guesses in by Sunday at noon.

Per Jesse Rogers, the Cubs have resigned all three to minor league deals. per Hagsag, All 3 (Kawasaki, Parra and Victorino) have re-signed. :D

CUBSTER: Just want to make sure they "re-signed" and not resigned.

AZ Phil got it right. I just had to follow his lead.

Patrick Mooney says LaStella, Szczur and Neil Ramirez make the 25 man. Baez DL is retroactive.

they really want to make szccruzrur work...time for another round of him. it's a 25th man...can't complain. *shrug*

You say "can't complain", but it seems like you are complaining for a 4th/5th OF? No?

no? no. why? because it's a 25th man. it doesn't matter that much. also, he's probably doomed once baez gets back. slot him for 400+PA and then you'll hear some complaining. even the guy(s) i'd pick over him for the long haul don't matter much because they're single-season rentals or 4th/5th OF options for an assumed ceiling anyway. they just seem to really like szcuzrurzurzcr for a bench OF callup role in the front office. they're gonna give him every chance to make that work.

Anybody know if any bullpen arms, other than Ramirez, have any options left?

According to AZ Phil's 40-man roster, Cahill, Grimm, Richard, and Warren all technically have options but also have the right to refuse assignment based on service time. So not really, no.

JOHN B: Clayton Richard and Trevor Cahill have minor league options left but both can decline to be optioned to the minors because they have accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time. I wrote a post here a couple of days ago explaining how Richard might agree to be optioned even though he can refuse.  


Justin Grimm and Adam Warren can elect to be a free-agent if they are sent outright to the minors, but they cannot refuse an Optional Assignment until they reach five years of MLB Service Time. However, Optional Assignment Waivers must be secured before Grimm and/or Warren can be optioned, but Optional Assignment Waivers are revocable the first time they are requested in a given waiver period, so opposing clubs almost never make claims on this type of waivers (although it is possible). 

So it really wouldn't be too difficult for the Cubs to option Grimm or Warren to the minors, if they were so inclined. 

So the Cubs are going to carry 8 relievers: Who's the odd man out? - Cahill, Rondon, Richard, Warren, Grimm, Ramirez, Wood, Strop or Brooks (assuming Dallas Beeler is on DL). Also is Beeler's a 60 day or 15 and same question with Villanueva? I would assume 60 for Villanueva being as it was a broken fibula.

Brooks is the odd man out. According to AZ Phil's 40-man roster, he also has one option remaining.

it's hard to say based on performance seeing as almost everyone's been in a race to be awful this spring, but at least their velocity/stuff is seemingly on pace for where it should be. that said, barring a trade for one of the "excess" lefties, i assume brooks would be the odd man out.

CUBBIES 4 EVER: The MLB 60-day DL is only used if a club's 40-man roster is fuil and a roster slot is needed for another player, but since the Cubs have one slot open on the 40 right now (after Rex Brothers was released) with no apprarent plan to add anybody new anytime soon, Villanueva and Beeler will be placed on the 15-day DL initially, although either (most likely Villanueva, since he will miss considerable time) could get transferred to the 60 at some point later on if the Cubs 40-man roster is full and another slot is needed.

But as I said, the Cubs presently have one slot open on the 40 with no obvious additional candidates to be added, and there would need to be two players added before for the Cubs would have to move a player from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. 

the sloan park crowd is ALL about some kawasaki...chanting like crazy. hahaha...and he hits a 3-run homer. ...and he's getting a curtain call. biggest pop of the day, easy.

...another cruddy h.rondon performance. 1ip 3h 0bb 0k, 2r/er (couple sac flies) yeesh. hope he leaves this in arizona.

6.2 innings, 1 home run, 8 K v. 2 BB, .500 BABIP. The first two hits today were a line drive straight toward Burks that he had trouble measuring into the sun and a weak ground ball that found a hole.

it's the 16 hits in 7.2ip that's a bit more concerning, and arguably much more that it's all being spread out over most of his outings than a couple bad outings. most of his work is coming vs guys that are late game replacement players due for the minors, too. at least he's not walking guys. hopefully he'll leave it in arizona. his stuff seems to be there.

Az Phil, what do you think the Iowa Roster will end up being with Victorino, Parra and Kawasaki having re-signed?

CHILDERS: Take a look at the up-to-the-minute Spring Training Depth Chart, and it's pretty clear that Iowa is fairly loaded with players right now. The final cuts will be made on Friday or Saturday, and I would expect at least a dozen players to get released from Minor League Camp (mostly from the Iowa squad) at that time.   

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  • crunch 2 hours 54 min ago (view)

    don't worry, i'm sure even though he was spared from cuts there's some hardship he's being tortured with that he has to unfairly overcome.  #coreystrong #onthecross #yolo #swag #kony2012


  • crunch 2 hours 55 min ago (view)

    there's no way a system like that or something similar to that would work.

    "oh hi." - green bay packers

    *shoves out of way*

    like i said, there's no way that would work.


  • Hagsag 5 hours 51 min ago (view)

    Corey Black still has a job.


  • Charlie 5 hours 58 min ago (view)

    I am ready for MLB owners to give it a f***ing rest. I don't have any outrage to spare on them.

    If they can't afford this crisis, maybe they can surrender franchise rights to the players, grounds crew, concession employees, etc., and MLB teams can be employee owned.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 10 hours 12 min ago (view)

    Couldn't have said it better myself, unfortunately.


  • JustSayin' 18 hours 40 min ago (view)

    These players weren't cut/released; laid off is more like it. Fifty-two minor leaguers let go before any real games played, in two waves. The draft will be five rounds this year, not forty.  This is industrial downsizing, anticipating no traditional season this year and capitulation to MLB demands for a much smaller minor league system in 2021.  Next year or 2022 could also see a labor stoppage in the big leagues, over what promises to be a very tough CBA negotiation.  The game will not be what it used to be after this.


  • crunch 22 hours 28 min ago (view)

    i don't blame the ownership/font office for doing what they did with bryant.  it was just kinda bad timing that bryant was the client that boras was finally "i'm sick of this" over.  the cubs were warned that boras was going to make a stand and it dragged on so long there has to be some kind of toll on the boras/cubs relationship.


  • bigsky33 22 hours 35 min ago (view)

    Hi Phil, yes, hoping for an extended AZ Fall League.  Do you think there will be more cuts?  De La Cruz was the only big sureprise to me. I thought he had some upside. 


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 28 min ago (view)

    It'll be more over when Kris leaves. Or whenever the same thing happens to another of his clients.

    He isn't wrong though...


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 40 min ago (view)

    Presuming there is no traditional minor league season in 2020, expect an expanded Arizona Fall League (with potentially a new "Florida Fall League" as well) for the best prospects and expanded post-season instructs for other minor leaguers (all TBA). 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 52 min ago (view)

    My understanding is that the other two Cubs minor leaguers who are to be released are the two post-2019 Article XX-B MLB free-agents who signed 2020 minor league contracts, Brandon Morrow and Jason Kipnis. The Cubs will then supposedly re-sign them to new minor league contracts without the $100K retention bonus and 6/1 opt-out. 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 55 min ago (view)

    CRUNCH: Agreed. Not counting the "4-A" guys, Oscar de la Cruz is the one legit MLB prospect on the list.  


  • crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view) la cruz had some decent looking spring outings (though late inning spring work isn't exactly challenging).  the years of injuries insanely slowed his progression.  totally wouldn't mind seeing him return in 2021 if the team would still be on his radar after getting cut at a time like this.


  • crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    that whole "kris bryant thing" is over...but it's never going to be over as long as this ownership group and boras is around.

    boras could have focused this on 29 other teams, especially the more vocal ones because the cubs have been mostly silent.  the cubs aren't the only team out there paying off "creatively financed" loans, either.

    he chose the cubs.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    Not looking forward to seeing that list. Hate to see it when a guy you've invested any sort of energy in is given up on.


  • Cubster 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    Chi Tribune today. Boras picks, and focused on the Ricketts. 

    Headline writer, fun job: Agent won’t let Cubs get away Scott-free Matt York/AP and Paul Sullivan.

    Boras told his players “the game can not be played without you” and asked them to share the concept with teammates and opposing players when “MLB requests further concessions or deferral of salaries” during negotiations.