A Minor Point

The following Cubs have used up their last minor league option year in 2019 and thus will be out of options come Spring Training 2020 (presuming they are still on the Cubs 40-man roster):

Carl Edwards Jr
Alec Mills 
Randy Rosario  
Duane Underwood Jr 
Mark Zagunis

Mike Montgomery and Allen Webster (as well as Article XIX-A players Brad Brach, Xavier Cedeno, and Tyler Chatwood) were already out of minor league options coming into the 2019 season, and although he is not yet on the Cubs 40-man roster, Danny Hultzen is also out of minor league options (which matters only if he were to be added to the Cubs 40-man roster at some point in the future). 

Kyle Ryan came into 2019 with one minor league option year remaining, and although he was optioned to AAA Iowa at the end of Spring Training, he spent only nine days on Optional Assignment, so as long as he spends no more than ten more days on Optional Assignment to the minors over the balance of the 2019 season, he will still have one minor league option remaining in 2020. (If a player spends less than 20 days on Optional Assignment to the minors in a given season, an option year is not spent). 

Ideally, what a club would want to do with a player the club wants to keep but who is out of options is non-tender the player on 12/2, and then sign him to a minor league contract (for MLB 40-man roster money or maybe even a little bit more and with an NRI to Spring Training) after the Rule 5 Draft. That way the player basically gets what he would have received if he had been on the 40 at the start of Spring Training, but the club is able to remove the player from the 40-man roster without exposing the player to waivers and without taking the risk that he might be selected in the Rule 5 Draft, and then the club can send the player to the minors out of Spring Training (because he is already signed to a minor league contract and thus Outright Assignment Waivers would not need to be secured). This is what the Cubs did with Allen Webster post-2018, Taylor Davis post-2017, Zac Rosscup, Conor Mullee, and Gerardo Concepcion post-2016, and Jack Leathersich post-2015.   

However, there are essentially two problems with this approach.

The first is that the player has to agree to the proposition. He can't be forced to do it. It's his choice. That's why a club usually has to offer the player at least the same money (maybe even a bit more money) than he would have gotten had he remained on the 40. 

And secondly, the player's slot on the MLB 40-man roster might be needed for another player before contracts are tendered (or not tendered) on December 2nd. (Off-season minor league reserve lists -- the ones that are used to determine who can and cannot be selected in the Rule 5 Draft -- must be finalized and submitted to the MLB Commissioner by November 20th, almost two weeks prior to the date contracts are tendered or not tendered). Sometimes a club just can't wait for a player to be non-tendered.  

One other point is that just because a player on an MLB 40-man roster is out of minor league options doesn't mean the player has no value going into Spring Training or during the course of the season. It just means his value is diminished (somewhat) because he cannot be sent back & forth to AAA during the course of the season (on the so-called "Chicago - Des Moines Shuttle") as easily as a player who has minor league options available. Outright Assignment Waivers (which are irrevocable) would have to be secured in order to send a player who is out of options to the minors, and there is always a chance that a player the club wants to keep could get claimed off waivers by another club, or, in the case of a player with Article XX-D rights (player has been outrighted previously in his careeer, has accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time, or qualified as a "Super Two" player after the previous season), he can elect free-agency after being outrighted. 

Comments

PIT scores 5 runs in the bottom 9th to tie MIL...then lose in the 10th.

MIL inches into 1st place.

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  • Charlie 31 min 33 sec ago (view)

    Cheap may not be the right word, but has put up reasonable value per dollar compared to other relievers prior to this ear.

    He accrued 2.9 bWAR 2017-2018. Strop put up 3.2 bWAR during the same period. Edwards is making $1.5M this year. Strop is making $6.25M. He'll get a bump again this offseason even if he doesn't rebound in the second half, of course. I just don't see a need to trade him unless the Cubs are being offered value in return.

    That said, it does make my stomach knot up a bit when I see they are bringing him into a close game.

     

  • Arizona Phil 8 hours 8 min ago (view)

    Carl Edwards Jr will be out of minor league options next season (2020), and he will (once again) be arbitration-eligible post-2019 (he was "Super Two" arb eligible post-2018) and he will be a FA post-2022. 

     

  • crunch 13 hours 51 min ago (view)

    cubs lose, cards win, brews win.

    boo.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 15 hours 37 min ago (view)

    I think this is his last option year. And he’s not as cheap as you’d think, he’s a super two qualified player this year.

     

  • Charlie 15 hours 47 min ago (view)

    Edwards is frustrating at times. Some of that frustration comes from thinking he could be much better than he currently is. But prior to this year (in which he has pitched very few innings), he's overall been an OK relief pitcher in the majors. I'm happy to wait and see on him for quite a while. Still has an option and is cheap, right?

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 16 hours 46 min ago (view)

    I feel pretty safe in saying that 1. They don’t want him and 2. If they did, things wouldn’t improve for CJ.

    Allowing inherited runners and 1-2 of your own in a close game is what I like to call the “Carl Jr Special.” It was formerly a Justin Grimm special, thankfully Carl stepped up to fill that void.

     

  • crunch 16 hours 53 min ago (view)

    there's always nick castellanos for a chance to rid of edwards...at which point a couple month rental will probably turn edwards into their ace closer or something just as awesome.

     

  • Eric S 16 hours 54 min ago (view)

    The bitter side of me thinks it should have been a two for one trade for Maldonado 

    Anyways, has not been a clean series for the Cubs against the Padres - fortunate to have won the series and a 7-2 home stand is a pretty big dill. Or deal. Or something

     

  • crunch 16 hours 59 min ago (view)

    edwards gonna edwards...blah

     

  • bradsbeard 18 hours 28 min ago (view)

    Thanks for the clarification. Guess we’ll find out what he’s going to do sooner than later. 

     

  • crunch 19 hours 32 min ago (view)

    delay over, game on.

     

  • Arizona Phil 21 hours 9 min ago (view)

    And if Zobrist were to consent to an Optional Assignment to the minors for the purpose of getting into playing shape, it could very well be to AA Tennessee (close to his home in Nashville) rather than to AAA Iowa. He might even just play home games for the Smokies and then work out on his own while they are on the road. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: Ben Zobrist (and Tony Barnette) cannot be reinstated from the Restricted List August 1st - October 31st without special approval from the MLB Commissioner (which would be problematic), and Zobrist and Barnette absolutely will - NOT - (under any cicumstances) be eligible to play in the post-season if not reinstated from the Restricted List prior to midnight on August 31st. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    HAGSAG: Pedro Martinez is a bat-first switch-hitting infielder capable of playing 2B-3B-SS (best position is 2B). He runs well and is a savvy baserunner, shows occasional HR power, and is at least as good a hitter as Reivaj Garcia (probably even better). 

     

  • Jackstraw 1 day 15 hours ago (view)

    I checked.  You are correct.  No one.  Ever.

     

  • crunch 1 day 16 hours ago (view)

    joe sure likes putting kimbrel to work.