Beyond the Valley of the NLCS

Here is what will happen and (in some cases) might happen after the conclusion of the World Series... 

At 9 AM (Eastern) on the day after the final game of the World Series, the eight Cubs MLB Article XX-B free-agents (Jake Arrieta, Alex Avila, Wade Davis, Brian Duensing, Jon Jay, John Lackey, Rene Rivera, and Koji Uehara) will be declared free-agents (players do - NOT - have to file, it's done automatically) and will be removed from the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) at that time. 

Clubs retain exclusive negotiating rights with their own Article XX-B free-agents until 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series (the first five days of free-agency are known as the "Quiet Period"), after-which the player can sign with any MLB club. Clubs also have until 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series to decide whether to extend a Qualifying Offer to any of their Article XX-B free-agents who are eligible to receive one. (Lackey is not eligible to receive a Qualifying Offer post-2017 because he received a QO previously in his career, and Avila and Rivera are not eligible to receive a QO post-2017 because they were acquired by the Cubs during the MLB regular season). I suspect the Cubs will extend a QO to both Arrieta and W. Davis, in part so that the Cubs can receive draft pick compensation should the player sign with another MLB club, but also because the Cubs would actually want the player to accept the QO. 

Players who receive a QO now have ten days to decide whether to accept (it used to be seven days). This gives the player ample time to receive contract offers from other clubs, and determine if the QO is maybe a better deal. If the player accepts the QO he receives a one-year guaranteed 2018 MLB Uniform Player Contract (UPC) for the 2018 QO salary ($17.4M) with no incentives or performance or signing bonuses. A player who accepts a QO is automatically and immediately returned to the club's MLB 40-man roster. Arrieta has already said there is no way he would accept a QO, but W. Davis possibly might. 

W. Davis probably is looking for a contract similar to the one Mark Melancon signed with the Giants last off-season (four years - $62M - opt-out after two years), but the 2018 QO actually exceeds the AAV of Melancon's deal, and so W. Davis might possibly choose to accept the QO once he has had a chance to talk $$$ with other MLB clubs (after the five-day "quiet period"). I think the Cubs would love to get W. Davis back on a one-year deal (even for $17.4M), but would probably not be interested in a multi-year deal without club options allowing them to terminate early. A player opt-out after two years (like Melancon got in his deal) would probably be OK with the Cubs.

The Cubs also might offer catcher Rene Rivera a 2018 minor league contract for "big league money" (maybe as much as $3M) and an NRI to Spring Training, probably with the understanding the he will be added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster (and MLB 25-man roster) prior to Opening Day. Because he will be an Article XX-B FA post-2017, Rivera would receive an automatic $100K retention bonus and a June 1st opt-out if he isn't added to the MLB 40-man roster by Opening Day. But by signing Rivera to a minor league contract, the Cubs would have an additional slot open on their 40-man roster throughout the off-season and Spring Training (up until Opening Day). 

The Cubs could add RHRP Matt Carasiti (eligible to be a minor league second-contract FA) to their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) by the deadline (5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series) just to keep him from walking away as a FA. Carasiti was the closer at AAA Iowa after being acquired from the Colorado Rockies for LHRP Zac Rosscup in June, and so he would be a definite candidate to win a job in the Cubs bullpen in 2018. The Cubs might be able to sign Carasiti to a 2018 minor league successor contract prior to the deadline, but then he becomes eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft, and he would be a good candidate to get plucked given his AAA experience and some MLB innings in 2016. So even if he signs a minor league successor contract, he still could get added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster by the 11/20 roster filing deadline (as happened with Jack Leathersich last year, who signed a 2017 minor league successor contract in October, and then was subsequently added the 40 on 11/18 anyway). 

So with eight slots open on their MLB 40-man roster after the World Series, the Cubs will likely add six minor league players to the 40, leaving two slots open for free-agents who might be signed prior to December 1st (this year's MLB contract tender date, moved-up one day because the usual contract tender date of December 2nd falls on a Saturday).

As things stand right now, the Cubs will probably add RHP Adbert Alzolay, INF David Bote, RHRP Matt Carasiti, and RHSP Oscar de la Cruz, plus two more from among Rule 5 Draft-eligibles RHRP Jake Stinnett, IF-OF Chesny Young, RHSP Trevor Clifton, LHP Jose Paulino, RHSP Erling Moreno, OF Charcer Burks, INF Jason Vosler, and RHRP Pedro Araujo, and minor league FA OF John Andreoli. (Stinnett, Young, and Clifton are probably the best bets right now, but how Stinnett, Burks, Vosler, and Araujo perform in the AFL could alter that projection). 

There are two or three other players the Cubs will probably drop from their MLB 40-man roster on December 1st to open up additional off-season roster slots, those three being C-INF Taylor Davis and IF-OF Mike Freeman, and possibly OF Leonys Martin. The trio could be non-tendered on 12/1 and then the Cubs could try and re-sign the player(s) to a 2018 minor league contract (with an NRI to Spring Training) after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft (which will be held on December 14th). 

While T. Davis and/or Freeman could get outrighted to the minors (presuming the player isn't claimed off waivers) within the next few days, T. Davis would be a minor league 6YFA if he is outrighted prior to 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series - AND - he cannot be outrighted after that date & time unless and until he signs a 2018 contract (which are tendered on 12/1), and Freeman is an Article XX-D player (he has been outrighted previously in his career) and so he can elect free-agency if he is outrighted. And because they have Rule 6 Draft-Excluded Player status, neither T. Davis nor Freeman can be sent outright to the minors after November 10th (the last day of the current waiver period). They can be non-tendered on 12/1, however, but there is no guarantee that either would sign a minor league contract once he is non-tendered. The Cubs might try and work out a deal with T. Davis and/or Freeman in advance, otherwise they would lose the player as a FA with no compensation for the club (not even the waiver price) if the player signs elsewhere. 

Martin will almost certainly be non-tendered, because otherwise he must be tendered a 2018 MLB UPC with a salary no lower than $3.88M (no more than a 20% cut from his 2017 salary of $4.85M), and I doubt that the Cubs would want to go there. Martin is also arbitration-eligible, and there is no way to predict how an arbitration panel might rule. (Martin could even get a raise above his 2017 $4.85M salary!). So by non-tendering him, the Cubs could (if the player agrees to the deal) sign Martin to a 2018 MLB contract with a substantially lower salary (perhaps somewhere around $1.5M), or (even more likely) sign him to a 2018 minor league contract (with an NRI to Spring Training), with a chance to make the Opening Day MLB roster as a 4th or 5th OF. Otherwise, Martin would be the CF at AAA Iowa. (Again, that's presuming Martin agrees to the arrangement). 

The Cubs also might opt to non-tender Justin Grimm, Hector Rondon, and/or Justin Wilson (all three are eligible for salary arbitration), not to sign them to minor league contracts, but rather to offer the player a "custom contract" with a low base salary and a performance bonus (something the Cubs cannot do if the player is tendered a UPC) and to avoid the risk of salary arbitration.  

For example, instead of tendering Rondon a standard non-guaranteed UPC with (let's say) a $6.25M salary (which is his projected salary if he opts to file for arbitration), the Cubs would offer Rondon a guaranteed "custom contract" with maybe a $3M base salary plus another $4M or so in performance bonuses based on games/appearances (so he'll make more money if he stays off the DL) and Games Finished (should he become the Cubs closer in 2018). Guaranteed 2018 MLB "custom contracts" with low base salaries plus incentives could be offered to Grimm and Wilson as well, but the Cubs would probably need to have deals in place prior to the contract tender deadline, because otherwise the player can just decline the offer and walk away as a FA and the Cubs get no compensation if the player subsequently signs elsewhere.  

And then if they need still additional slots on their MLB 40-man roster during the off-season, the Cubs could try and sneak RHSP Luke Farrell,  RHSP Alec Mills, and/or LHSP Rob Zastryzny through waivers (if outrighted, Farrell and Zastryzny would remain under club control through the 2019 season, and Mills would remain under club control through the 2018 season), but that probably would not be necessary. With eight Article XX-B free-agents leaving after the World Series and two or three more players likely to be non-tendered on 12/2, there should be four or five slots available for free-agents and waiver claims (and maybe even a Rule 5 Draft pick), even if six minor leaguers are added to the 40 prior to the Rule 5 Draft.

Also, remember that beginning this year, MLB Rule 4 Draft (First-Year Player Draft) Competitive Balance draft picks can be traded starting on December 2nd and continuing up until two hours prior to the Rule 4 Draft in June. 

Previously Competitive Balance draft picks could only be traded during the MLB regular season.

So it's very possible that Competitive Balance draft picks could be dealt in trades made at the MLB Winter Meetings next month, or later in the off-season or during Spring Training.

Competitive Balance Draft picks can be traded only once (a pick cannot be flipped to a third team once it is traded), and (best of all) a Competitive Balance draft pick is - NOT - subject to forfeiture if a club signs one or more Article XX-B Qualified Players. (Prior to the new CBA, Competitive Balance draft picks were subject to forfeiture if a club signed an Article XX-B Qualified Player).

So let's say the Cubs sign an Article XX-B Qualified Player like ex-TB RHSP Alex Cobb and lose their 2nd round pick. The Cubs could get a pick back (maybe even a higher one) by acquiring a Competitive Balance draft pick as part of a trade.

14 MLB Clubs have 2018 Rule 4 Draft Competitive Balance picks, plus one of the 14 clubs (TB) has an additional comp pick as the result of failing to sign a 2017 Competetive Balance draft pick. 

AFTER 1ST ROUND:
31. PIT
32. TB (comp pick for failing to sign #31 pick in 2017 draft)) 
33. BAL
34. SD
35. AZ
36. KC
37. CLE
38. COL 
39. STL 

AFTER 2ND ROUND: 
70. MIA 
71. OAK 
72. TB 
73. CIN
74. MIL
75. MIN  

A club might be interested in trading its Competitive Balance pick because the bonus slot value for some of the picks are in excess of $1M, and a club might prefer to acquire a young (cheaper) prospect with maybe a "higher floor" but also a "lower ceiling" who has already received his signing bonus and maybe shown some promise in the minors, instead of a draft pick that will cost the club a lot of money in terms of signing bonus and who has not yet played a pro game.

Cubs prospects who might have value to other clubs in a trade for a Competitive Balance draft pick while maybe not having that much value to the Cubs (given the Cubs MLB roster) could include guys like OF Mark Zagunis, LHP Rob Zastryzny, INF David Bote, OF Charcer Burks, RHP Alec Mills, OF Eddy Julio Martinez, IF-OF Chesny Young, and/or C-1B Ian Rice.

Also keep in mind that a trade involving a Competitive Balance draft pick does not have to be one player for a draft pick. It could be a two-for-one or three-for-one deal, or part of a much larger trade involving multiple players.

Comments

"Bruce Levine of WSCR-AM in Chicago reports that former Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey will interview for the Cubs' pitching coach job Monday." ...please don't get into a f'n bidding war with BOS and STL over a f'n pitching coach...

Here's how the interview will go: JH: Hi! I'm Jim Hickey, former pitching coach of the Tampa Bay Rays. THEO: We know who you are. Here's your contract. Fill in whatever salary you want and sign it.

Pretty much.

Any idea what Duensing will get on the open market? Any lefty comps you can think of? also, what might be the cost for Alex Avila. Is it possible that Theo/Jed would stretch beyond the usual budget for a backup catcher that is actually useful (I'm thinkin' not-Koyie Hill)?

he's got a low 90s fastball and a crapload of off-speed pitches (change, slider, curve)...decently good control... he handled righties and lefties decently this year (and got lots of chances to face both) so that could positively bump his value, too. that said, he's gonna be 35 in camp this spring, so he's probably looking for 2-3+ years in any deal since he's coming off one of his best seasons in a while and his age is pressing on his career. 3-5m a year would probably be the floor for a guy like him (made 2m this year). he's not a closer, but he's got nice middle-rotation or even setup potential in thinner pens.

I think the sell-by date for both Rondon and Grimm is past. They're part of the bullpen BB problem, not part of the solution. I can think of much better ways to spend nearly $9MM on bullpen assets than on those two. As for Wade, he's a goner. A team like Houston or Washington is certain to give him Melancon money. I'll take the QO's draft pick.

Agreed on all counts there. I've seen enough of Grimm and Rondon, ready for some new blood.

Armando Rivero outrighted by Atlanta. The Cubs passed on him. No huge surprise.

Rivero--Another guy with great stuff, misses bats, but can't consistently throw strikes. Maples is the same guy at a younger age and with a (much) better attitude.

maples showed up late in the season in the bigs with this nasty as hell cutting slider thing he didn't used to have in past seasons in the minors. my gawd, it's filthy. i really like the look of that and his high-90s fastball going forward if he can manage to tame his control issues.

JHB: I remember comparing Dillon Maples, Armando Rivero, and Justin Grimm a couple of years ago as basically the same pitcher, except Maples is four years younger than Rivero and Grimm. At the time all three featured a 94-95 MPH straight FB and a drop chase-pitch but no third pitch. 

Since that time, Maples has upticked about 3-4 MPH velo to his FB and has added a hard cutter-slider pitch he never used to throw. 

If he can command his stuff (always a big issue in the past even when he featured only two pitches), Maples can be an elite MLB reliever, at least as good as C. J. Edwards, maybe better.  

If the Cubs had re-claimed Armando Rivero, it would have cost them $50,000 (half the Rule 5 Draft price) and he would have been automatically sent outright to AAA Iowa (the affiliate from which he was drafted). So even though Rivero would not have required a slot on the 40 and would have remained under club control through the 2020 season, the Cubs obviously felt they would rather keep the entire $100,000 draft payment and write-off Rivero's $3M+ signing bonus from 2013 as a sunken cost.

That's what I'm talking about. The claiming payment is peanuts, and a 40-man slot needn't be used, so there's no reason NOT to take back Rivero, if for no other reason than AAA org filler. Unless the talk about his lousy attitude and shall we say, fun-first lifestyle are in fact true. Cubs opt to cut bait with a guy like that, just like the Dodgers (quickly!) cut bait with Arrebuena (sp?).

The Atlanta Braves have released RHRP Armando Rivero (selected by ATL from the Cubs AAA Iowa reserve list in the December 2016 Rule 5 Draft). Rivero was not claimed by any of the other 29 MLB clubs when the Braves placed him on Outright Assignment Waivers last month (any cluub that claimed him would have assumed the Rule 5 Draft roster restrictions) and the Cubs did not re-claim him for their AAA Iowa roster, either, and so the Braves sent him outright to AAA Gwinnett. However... A player who is sent outright to the minors during the MLB regular season or after the conclusion of the season must be tendered a minor league contract for the following season with a salary that is at least 80% of what the player made in the previous season. Since Rivero spent the entire 2017 season on the Braves MLB DL (initially on the 10-day DL, then later transferred to the 60-day DL), he made the MLB minimum salary of $535K in 2017, so he had to be tendered a 2018 minor league contract (no later than January 15th) with a salary of at least $428K (80% of $535K) or else be released. And $428K is a lot of money to pay a minor league pitcher coming off a shoulder injury that shelved him for the season. So that's probably why the Cubs did not re-claim him, and why the Braves released him after he was outrighted. (The Braves could have just waited until January 15th and then not tendered Rivero a 2018 minor league contract, but perhaps they have a pre-arranged deal in place with him already). Now he can be signed by any club (including the Braves) to a 2018 minor league contract without the salary restriction he had before he was released.

With 8 free agents, 3 almost certain non tenders plus two more very possible non tenders, that opens 13 spots. Even if we add let's say 7 guys for rule 5, we still have 6 spots open. Let's say 4 free agent signings/ trade acquisitions, and two spots for offseason waiver claim roulette. That also doesn't include our possible waiver claim roulette guys in Rob Z, Mills, and Luke Farrell. Should be an interesting offseason.

Fill in the pieces. Cubs get Christian Yelich, Edinson Volquez, and _________ Marlins get Ian Happ and ___________

1- giancarlo stanton 2- jason heyward hook it up.

TIM: This is just wild speculation on my part, but here goes...

The Marlins need to drop about $40M in 2018 payroll to get down to the reported $90M 2018 payroll the new ownership group (which includes retired Yankees SS Derek Jeter) wants, and although Christian Yelich is under club control through 2022 on what is an EXTREMELY team-friendly contract, he still makes $7M in 2018 and is guaranteed $44.5M over the four-year period 2018-21, or $58.25 over five-years 2018-22 if the club option is exercised for 2022. So I could see the Marlins wanting to divest themselves of Yelich's contract - IF - they can get back a somewhat similar player who will be making the MLB minimum salary for the next couple of years and then substantially less than Yelich 2020-22 even after that player becomes arbitration eligible post-2019.

While Ian Happ (alone) actually seems like a reasonable return for Yelich, I believe the Marlins would prefer CF Albert Almora Jr in return. Almora is a high-character team leader Derek Jeter-type who also happens to be from Miami, and I think he would be a good fit as the Marlins #2 hitter behind Dee Gordon.

But even though Almora for Yelich straight-up could be a reasonable deal from the Marlins POV, I would suspect that many teams will be after Yelich during the off-season, and so the Cubs would have to pay additional $$$$ "tribute" to the Marlins in the form of sending some MLB-ready minimum salary pitchers (like for example Eddie Butler and Rob Zastryzny) to Miami while taking back some of the Marlins pitchers with "bad" contracts (and they have about four or five) that would help the Marlins get down near the $90M 2018 payroll they seek without having to trade Stanton, Gordon, Ozuna, or Straily.

So which Marlins pitchers with "bad" contracts would be at least somewhat possibly useful to the Cubs in 2018?

1. RHSP Edinson Volquez ($13M - would replace Lackey in the rotation)
2. RHRP Brad Ziegler ($9M - an EXTREME ground ball pitcher with closer experience)
3. RHRP Junichi Tazawa ($7M - a Theo guy from Boston)

None of these guys are saviors or even difference-makers, all three had mediocre seasons in 2017 so the Cubs could just release any of the three if it turns out one or more of the trio is a stiff, and all three are free-agents post-2018 so there would be no long-term financial commitment beyond next season.

Combined with Yelich, the players acquired by the Cubs would be making $36.5M in 2018 salaries, offset by three (or four) Cubs making the MLB minimum, for a total savings to the Marlins of about $35M+, which would allow the Marlins to get down to about $95M in projected 2018 payroll.

The Cubs would still need to acquire a SP to replace Jake Arrieta and a closer to replace Wade Davis, and that could be accomplished by one FA signing (like RHSP Aklex Cobb) and one trade (maybe RHRP Alex Colome).

Volquez had TJS in August, so he'd be a straight salary dump. But I'd take Volquez and one of the RPs back if I could get Yelich for Almora straight up. Edit: and I'd be cool with sending them a minimum salary pitcher or two. Although the whole $37M might be a bit much since we'd still need 2 SPs and a couple RPs.

PHIL: While I would love to get Yelich, his lifetime BA at Wrigley is .056. So, I don't know on that. But this could maybe be the "Reverse Jeff Blauser Rule", whereby the player actually sucked against that team that would acquire him.

The problem with making a trade to acquire Christian Yelich is that it would very likely also require taking on salaries of players who would have minimal value to other clubs, which essentially somewhat negates/offsets the financial value of Christian Yelich's team-friendly contract.

Among the Marlins "bad contracts," the Volquez, Ziegler, and Tazawa contracts are the three that expire after next season (post-2018), and so the combined $29M 2018 salaries of those three players can be allocated to other players in 2019.

The Cubs are probably one of the few MLB clubs who could do that this off-season, depending of course on how much they value Yelich.  

E-MAN: Christian Yelich at Wrigley Field 2013-17 (15 games - 67 PA) is hitting 344/388/590 with four HR. 

PHIL: Sorry, I don’t know what I was looking at. However, I do know that in 3 games at Wrigley in 2017, Yelich slashed .000 .250 .000 .250. In 2016, however, he had over a 1.000 OPS at Wrigley. So, I guess the Jeff Blauser Rule is still debatable.

I have an idea that there will be a hotline between the Cubs and the Rays and the Marlins this winter.

Ziegler is worth a long look, especially if the Marlins take back some $. He’s a good ground ball pitcher and has been pretty consistent. Also not a walk machine. Cubs were in on him last year. I watched h8m for several years with Dbacks and he was very reliable

AZBOBBOP: The Miami Marlins had a payroll of about $115M in 2017 and are projected to go up to about $130M in 2018 if they keep what they've got and do nothing more, but the new ownership group (with Derek Jeter the CEO) wants the team payroll slashed to about $90M in 2018 (down $40M from the projection).

So what the Marlins would probably want to do (if they can) is trade up to $40M worth of 2018 salary, and if they can do that without moving Giancarlo Stanton ($25M in 2018), Dee Gordon ($10.5M in 2018), and Marcel Ozuna (arbitration-eligible and projected at $10M+), so much the better.

Christian Yelich is making $7M in 2018 and if the Marlins can exchange Yelich for a similar (though not as established) type of player and get the other club to take back additional salary besides Yelich's, they could possibly keep Stanton, Gordon, and Ozuna (or at least two of the three).

Because they have about $50M in salary available to spend, the Cubs are one of the few clubs that can actually assume 100% of a "bad contract" or two and still have payroll left-over to spend on a front-line SP and a closer (their two primary needs going into the off-season).

So if the Marlins were to trade Yelich for Almora (for example), the Cubs would very likely have to also take back 100% of what would be considered "bad contracts" in order to motivate the Marlins to make the deal (in other words, the Marlins would not pay any portion of the other players' salaries), because trading Yelich and his $7M 2018 salary for a pre-arbitration player isn't enough. The Marlins need to drop more salary than just Yelich.

The least-unattractive Marlins "bad contracts" to assume are the three that expire after the 2018 season, and that's Ziegler, Tazawa, and Volquez. 

Dumb question perhaps: Are we looking at Yelich as a center fielder? And if so, how does his defense hold up there? A boost from going to a smaller ballpark?

CHARLIE: Christian Yelich was one of the top three or four defensive CF in N. L. in 2017 and one of the top ten defensive CF in MLB. He played LF prior to last season and won a Gold Glove there. So if you play Yelich in LF you basically have a Jason Heyward-type elite defender in LF, and if Yelich plays CF he's certainly above-average but not elite like he would be in LF.

Even though he is not a switch-hitter, Yelich has a similar offensive profile as Dexter Fowler circa 2016 (OBP, speed, power), but Yelich is a better defender. And he's only 25 (he turns 26 in December). And he's signed through 2021 with a club option for 2022 (so 4/$44.5M 2018-21 or 5/$58.25M 2018-22).

plus he's a lefty with a touch of speed which would allow the yelich/bryant/rizzo/contreras 1-4 to solidify. i wouldn't mind seeing this happen.

Thanks, Phil! This sounds like it would be a smart trade for the Cubs, as a Volquez type could potentially help the back end of the rotation and Yelich would help the offense while filling a need in CF. However, I wonder if Epstein's statement to Almora, that he'd play a bigger role in 2018, means they aren't looking at a trade like this. Or maybe bigger role means, you'll help us get Yelich.

CHARLIE: I think what Theo was probably saying is that whether Albert Almora Jr remains with the Cubs or is traded, that he has developed to the point where he is ready to be an MLB everyday CF.

The Cubs have claimed OF Jacob Hannemann off waivers from the Seattle Mariners, and INF Mike Freeman has been Designated for Assignment. Freeman can elect free-agency if he is outrighted to the minors. Hannemann was the PTBNL in the Leonys Martin trade (the Mariners claimed Hannemann off Trade Assignment Waivers on September 4th), and so the Cubs get him back for the $50,000 waiver price. Hannemann hit 240/312/372 with 32 doubles and 29 SB in 114 games combined between AA Tennessee and AAA Iowa in 2017, and then he hit .150 for SEA with one HR during his MLB debut (11 games) in September.

Non-tender due on December the whichth?

TIM: Because December 2nd falls on a Saturday this year, the MLB contract tender date will be Friday December 1st.

Next year December 2nd falls on a Sunday, so the contract tender date will be Friday November 30th.

If the MLB contract tender date falls on a weekend day, it's always moved-up to the Friday prior to that weekend.

FWIW, there are other MLB deadlines that are changed if the day falls on a weekend day.

The pre-Rule 5 Draft minor league roster filing deadline date (normally November 20th) is moved up to Friday 11/19 if 11/20 falls on a Saturday or to Friday 11/18 if 11/20 falls on a Sunday, and the non-waiver trade deadline is moved up to 4 PM Eastern on Friday 7/30 if 7/31 falls on a Saturday but it is moved - BACK - one day (to 4 PM Eastern on Monday 8/1) if 7/31 falls on a Sunday.

Also, if a minor league player is not tendered a salary addendum by March 15th (or by Friday March 14th if 3/15 falls on a Saturday, or by Friday March 13th if 3/15 falls on a Sunday), the player will immediately be declared a free-agent, and if an unsigned MLB player is outrighted to a minor league club after the conclusion of the MLB regular season and then is not tendered a minor league contract by January 15th (or by Friday January 14th if 1/15 falls on a Saturday, or by Friday January 13th if 1/15 falls on a Sunday) the player will immediately be declared a free-agent.

Otherwise all other deadlines are not changed even if they fall on a weekend day (like MLB Article XX-B players being automatically declared free-agents at 9 AM Eastern on the day after the final game of the World Series, or MLB Rule 55 minor league players being declared free-agents at 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series).  

BTW, when a deadline makes reference to a certain period of time "after final game of the World Series," it means the day the game started, so it doesn't matter if the final game of the World Series ends before or after midnight. The exception to this is if the final game of the World Series is suspended for some reason (weather, power failure, whatever), then the day of the final game of the World Series would be the day the game is resumed. 

AZ PHIL- Ok the PTBNL for Martin is solved with Hannemann. Have they settled the PTBNL in the Montero from TOR, or the PTBNL going to DET in the Wilson/Avila deal?

CUBBIES-4-EVER: No PTBNL has been named (yet) in the Montero, Wilson/Avila, or Pena deals.

Remember, a PTBNL must be named within six months (max) of the trade, although sometimes clubs agree on an earlier deadline. Also, the PTBNL cannot be on an MLB active list anytime starting when the trade is filed and when the PTBNL is announced, although the player can be on Optional Assignment to the minors or on an MLB DL.

If there is a cash option in a PTBNL trade involving a player on an MLB 40-man roster, the cash option must be stated in writing and it must be at least $50,000 (which also happens to be the 2017 MLB waiver price), so if the PTBNL choices aren't any better than what you can claim off waivers, better to take the money and spend it on a waiver claim.

I thought the Felix Pena trade was interesting because the Angels obviously contacted the Cubs when they saw Pena had been Designated for Assignment, and figuring he would get claimed off waivers by another MLB club with a better waiver claim priority, the Angels probably offered the Cubs a list of players better than what you usually see on the waiver wire and/or more $$$$ than the $50,000 waiver price to acquire Pena before the Cubs placed him on waivers.

I do know that sometimes a PTBNL can be chosen from the list of a club's minor leaguers who were eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft but were not selected (essentially a $100,000 value but without the Rule 5 Draft roster restrictions), with the PTBNL selected after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft. That way the club acquiring the PTBNL does not have to worry about placing the player on its MLB 40-man roster until after the conclusion of the following MLB season.

BTW, the Cubs have lost more players off waivers in 2017 than any previous year I can recall. They may not have any elite (Top 100) minor league prospects, but they sure do have a nice collection of young MLB-ready or near MLB-ready pitchers other clubs value. Hopefully this won't come back to bite the Cubs down the line. 

or the Felix Pena PTBNL?

Thanks for the update, and on the Hannemann PTBNL deal. Seemed ironic timing that the Cubs DFA and lost Hannemann to SEA and traded for Martin at SEA. Just seemed too coincidental.

CUBBIES-4-EVER: Jacob Hannemann was never actually Designated for Assignment by the Cubs.

What happened is, the Cubs acquired Leonys Martin from the Seattle Mariners for a PTBNL (Jacob Hannemann) just prior to the 8/31 midnight (Eastern) post-season roster eligibility deadline, and then the Cubs placed Hannemann on Trade Assignment Waivers at 2 PM (Eastern) on September 2nd. (Because he was on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster, Trade Assignment Waivers had to be secured before Hannemann could be traded).

So the Cubs could not trade Hannemann to the Mariners until they first secured Trade Waivers, and if another MLB club with a better waiver claim priority than the Mariners had claimed Hannemann, the Cubs would have withdrawn (revoked) the request (Trade Waivers are revocable the first time they are requested on a particular player in the waiver period) and then the Mariners would have had to wait until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season to acquire Hannemann.

But Seattle did win the waiver claim (no other club with a better waiver claim priority put in a claim), and so the Mariners were able to acquire Hannemann right away instead of having to wait until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season when Trade Waivers would not longer be required.

The Mariners got a look at Hannemann in September and apparently weren't particularly impressed, so they put him on Outright Assignment Waivers and the Cubs claimed him. (Think of it as sort of a Rule 5 Draft pick where the the claiming club decides it isn't that interested after getting a chance to see the player up-close-and personal and the player is reclaimed by his original club).

So after all that, the Mariners get $50,000 which they can spend on some other waiver claim at a later time somewhere down the line.

Something to remember about Hannemann is if the Cubs do attempt to secure Outright Assignment Waivers on Hannemann and he is not claimed and the Cubs outright him to the minors, Hannemann is NOT eligible to elect free-agency, and in fact he would remain under club control through the 2019 season (even longer if he were to be added back to the MLB 40-man roster at some point). Same goes for Luke Farrell, Alec Mills, and Rob Zastryzny (Mills would remain under club control through 2018, and Farrell and Zastryzny would remain under club control through 2019), should any of them get outrighted during the off-season. 

AZ PHIL- Thanks for the clarification. Do you see the Cubs outrighting him off the 40-Man, since they were willing to trade for a similar player (obviously more MLB experience) or do they still believe in him, enough to pay $50,000 or maybe since the Cubs were one of the last teams on the waiver priority they could sneak him through waivers themselves since the OF is crowded, especially since Theo said "Almora will play period. No matter who's pitching" etc. Maybe this turns into a David Rollins back and forth.

CUBBIES-4-EVER: I think the Cubs would try and outright Hannemann if they need an additional slot on the 40 sometime during the off-season, but as you said, the fact that Hannemann made it to the Cubs on the waiver tree means the Cubs could probably get him through waivers right now. Same goes for Luke Farrell (claimed by the Cubs off waivers earlier this month).  Alec Mills and Rob Zastryzny might be more problematic.

INF Mike Freeman has been sent outright to AAA Iowa. (Freeman was Designated for Assignment last Thursday after the Cubs claimed OF Jacob Hannemann off waivers from the Seattle Mariners). Because he has Article XX-D status (he was outrighted previously in his careeer), Freeman has the right to elect free-agency (he has three days to decide). But if he does not elect free-agency as an Article XX-D player by Sunday, he will be automatically declared an MLB Rule 55 minor league 6YFA at 5 PM (Eastern) on Monday, unless he signs a 2018 minor league successor contract in the meantime. The advantage of electing free-agency as an Article XX-D player before Monday is that Freeman would get a couple or three days head-start on the 300+ Rule 55 minor league free-agents who will be hitting the free-agent marketplace Monday afternoon.

Since Monday is the 5th day after the final game of the World Series, the Cubs have until 5 PM (Eastern) on Monday to decide whether to extend Qualifying Offers to their Article XX-B free-agents who are eligible to receive one (Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis, Brian Duensing, Jon Jay, and Koji Uehara, with Arrieta for sure and - probably - W. Davis the only two who will get one) and which (if any) MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agents to add to their MLB 40-man roster (Matt Carasiti is the one most-likely to get added, and John Andreoli is much more of a long-shot).

Cubs claim LHRP Randy Rosario off waivers from Minnesota Twins.

Cubs MLB Reserve List now stands at 33 (seven slots are open).

post-season shopping list complete! bring on 2018!

Something to keep in mind about Randy Rosario is that unlike Luke Farrell, Jacob Hannemann, Rob Zastryzny, and Alec Mills (for example), Rosario is an MLB Rule 55 player (which means he would have been declared a minor league 6YFA at 5 PM Eastern on Monday if he's on a minor league reserve list at that time), 

MLB Rule 55 players cannot be sent outright to the minors after 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5trh day after the final game of the World Series unless and until the player signs a 2018 contract or agrees in advance to sign a minor league contract. But contracts are not tendered until next month, and a player does not have to sign the contract, and a club cannot unilaterally and automatically renew a player's contract until March 1st. 

So if the Cubs want to rermove Rosario from their MLB 40-man roster, the best bet would be a non-tender on December 1st, and then try and re-sign the player to a minor league contract after the Rule 5 Draft for "big league money" and an NRI to Spring Training. Of course the player doesn't have to agree to the arrangement .

The other choices would be outright release or trade, or the Cubs can just keep Rosario on the 40 until March (after he either signs a 2018 contract or is auto-renewed).

So the Cubs won't be able to "sneak" Rosario through waivers until he signs a 2018 contract, amd knowing that, Rosario's agent will likely advise Rosario to hold off signing his contract until March.

So this isn't like the David Rollins situation last year, where he kept bouncing around from club to club on waiver claims throughout the off-season. (Rollins was not an MLB Rule 55 player). 

Also, although he has used two minor legue options through the 2017 season, Randy Rosario will be eligible for a 4th minor league option in 2019 should his third minor league option be spent in 2018.

BTW, if Oscar de la Cruz, Erling Moreno, and/or Jose Paulino are added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster later this month, each of them would get a 4th minor league option year in 2021 (should that become an issue in the future). 

ODLC is pretty much a must add. I think he's considered a few pegs higher than he should be, but could be a valid trade option in July. Since the Cubs are in "trade almost everyone" mode. Thanks for the data points.

New York Yankees RHSP Masahiro Tanaka will - NOT - exercise his post-2017 opt-out, so there will be one less free-agent SP on the market during the off-season. Tanaka had just this one opt-out opportunity in his contract, so he will remain under club control (with full "no trade" rights) through the 2020 season (he will get $67M over three years 2018-20).

San Francisco Giants RHSP Johnny Cueto will - NOT - exercise his post-2017 opt-out, so now there is another potential free-agent SP who will not be on the market during the off-season. Cueto had just this one opt-out opportunity in his contract, so he will remain under club control through 2022 ($21M 2018-21 and a $22M club option in 2022 or $5M buy-out). So going forward it's 4/$89M or 5/$106M. Which means "Team Cueto" probably believes their client could not do better than that on the open market at this time.

The Oakland Athletics trading Ryon Healy to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday opens up the A's DH slot for perhaps somebody like Kyle Schwarber.

FWIW, the A's "showcased" RHSPs Jharel Cotton and Daniel Gossett in AAA and AA Minor League Camp games against the Cubs Iowa and Tennessee squads at Fitch Park last March back when Ian Happ was thought to be available (Cotton was sent to Fitch Park from A's big league camp specifically just to pitch in that particular game), and the Cubs are presumably also interested in OAK LHSP Sean Manaea.

I read that they want to move Khris Davis to DH. Schwarber can certainly "play" left field, though.

Would hate to see Schwarber traded, but the Cubs need to grab as much young pitching as they can get. Do you have a scouting report on Cotton and Gossett Phil?

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  • Charlie 3 hours 48 min ago (view)

    Lol at Nico getting nominated for riding the bench a lot.

     

  • crunch 5 hours 47 min ago (view)

    RF Jason Heyward, SS Javier Baez, 2B Nico Hoerner, 1B Anthony Rizzo, C Willson Contreras, and Ps Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills gold glove finalists

     

  • bradsbeard 9 hours 42 min ago (view)

    Thank you, sir! Sounds like a nice get for the Cubs, and a good project for (what's left of) the new development infrastructure. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 10 hours 31 min ago (view)

    There have been some holes in the AZIL east-side schedule, with one team canceling games last week (although they are back playing this week) and another canceling game this week due to CoViD-19 issue, so the other teams (like the Cubs) are making up some of the "lost" games with intrasquad and in-house "sim" games. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 11 hours 26 min ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: From what I have seen of Jacob Wetzel so far (BP, fielding practice, base-running drills, sim games, AZIL games, and yesterday's intasquad game), I would say he looks like a football running back playing baseball in that he has a high motor and plays with a bit of an edge.

    He has a thick body but he also has plus speed (very much like a football running back in that respect), he runs the bases aggressively, makes hard contact, has HR power, a decent arm, maybe can use some work in the outfield as far as tracking balls. 

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 48 min ago (view)

    Phil, curious if you've seen enough of Jacob Wetzel to offer an initial scouting report. Just from watching some prep video he looked pretty strong and fairly athletic (HS football player and all). Impressive numbers albeit in community college, but he was a division 1 recruit before that so he's pretty intriguing to me. 

     

  • KingKongvsGodzilla 2 days 22 hours ago (view)

    AZPhil, thank you for these updates! It's a nice little pick me up during this dumb year. If you have anything to say on Yohendrick Pinango, Joel Machado, Rafael Morel, or Richard Gallardo, I would love to hear it! Thanks again!

     

  • crunch 3 days 8 hours ago (view)

    jim hickey new nats pitching coach.

     

  • bradsbeard 4 days 3 hours ago (view)

    Several non-prospects ate up spots as well. Ultimately wish they had given a few more Rivas types a shot there. 

     

  • tim815 4 days 3 hours ago (view)

    Only 60 spots in SB. Others benefited more from the time.

     

  • crunch 4 days 6 hours ago (view)

    not phil, but i think everyone is holding off on his potential ceiling until he gains enough weight to not look like someone you want to buy a sandwich every time you see him.

    big upside if his skills can strengthen as he builds his body.

    too early for a solid comp, but i wouldn't feel uncomfortable throwing ian happ's name around (bit better arm than happ, though).

     

  • bradsbeard 4 days 7 hours ago (view)

    Me too. Thought it was weird he wasn't in South Bend at all. 

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 4 days 13 hours ago (view)

    I am very, very intrigued by Rivas. If the DH is unfortunately here to stay, he's a prime candidate for that and give Rizzo a day off 1B here and there. If no DH, hopefully he is a passable OF. Big believer in his hitting ability

     

  • Hagsag 4 days 15 hours ago (view)

    Phil, do you think Chris Morel is the real deal?

     

  • tim815 5 days 5 hours ago (view)

    http://www.milb.com/roster/index.jsp?cid=609&sid=milb

    Blue and Red DSL instructs rosters. No Brayan Altuve.

    http://www.milb.com/roster/index.jsp?cid=2270&sid=...

     

  • crunch 5 days 7 hours ago (view)

    yup, they're gonna try.  starts in about a month.