Off-Season Roster Machinations

The best thing about non-tendering a player on December 2nd is that it's the one day each year when a club can remove a player from its MLB 40-man roster without having to risk losing the player off waivers.

Unfortunately, players can - NOT - be non-tendered to open up slots on the 40-man roster for players eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft. That's because the only day of the year when a player can be non-tendered is December 2nd, and the roster filing deadline for players eligible for selection in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft is November 19th (the roster-filing deadline is normally November 20th, but November 20th falls on a Saturday this year, so by rule the deadline is moved-up a day).

What non-tendering a player on 12/2 does buy a club is a roster slot that can be used for signing a free-agent to a major league contract, an off-season waiver claim, or possibly selecting a player in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft (and the Cubs have the #7 pick in the Rule 5 Draft this year).

As of right now, the Cubs have have 39 players reserved on their MLB 40-man roster (so one slot is open), plus another eight players are on the MLB 60-day IL and do not count against the reserve list roster limit, but they must be reinstated no later than the 5th day after the final game of the World Series.

There also are four players (Robinson Chirinos, Zach Davies, Matt Duffy, and Jose Lobaton) who will automatically be declared an Article XX-B MLB free-agent at 9 AM on the day after the final game of the World Series. (They don't have to file, it's automatic). Lobaton is one of the eight players presently on the 60-day IL, so those four players becoming free-agents the day after the final game of the World Series will actually only free-up three slots on the 40 (the Chirinos, Davies, and Duffy slots), getting the Cubs MLB reserve list down to 36, but with seven players still left on the MLB 60-day IL who will need to be reinstated no later than the 5th day after the final game of the World Series.

So just to get down to 40 players on the 5th day day after the final game of the World Series, the Cubs will need to drop three players who are presently on the 40, beyond Chirinos, Davies, and Duffy. And that doesn't even address opening up additional 40-man roster slots for however many Rule 5 Draft eligible players the Cubs will want to add to the 40 by the 11/19 roster filing deadline (art least two, possibly more).

Depending on the player, there are certain types of restrictions as far as removing the player from a club's MLB 40-man roster during off-season.

1. MLB RULE 5 DRAFT-EXCLUDED PLAYER (formerly MLB Rule 6 Draft-Excluded Player): These are players with less than three years of MLB Service Time who were on a minor league reserve list, were eligible for selection in the Rule Draft, and who had their contract selected and were added to an MLB reserve list (40-man roster) after 8/15 up until the Rule 5 Draft. These players cannot be sent to the minors any earlier than 20 days prior to 2022 Opening Day, and cannot be sent outright to the minors prior to the Rule 5 Draft unless the player is placed on Outright Assignment Waivers no later than 2 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series and then (if not claimed off waivers) sent outright to the minors prior to the waivers expiring (which would be absolutely no later than 14 days after the final game of the World Series). Otherwise, a Draft-Excluded Player can be non-tendered on 12/2, traded, or released. Draft-Excluded players presently on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster are Jason Adam, Scott Effross, Trent Giambrone, Michael Hermosillo, Nick Martini, Alfonso Rivas, Adrian Sampson, and Trayce Thompson, plus any Rule 5 Draft-eligible minor leaguer who is added to the 40 by the 11/19 roster filing deadline (TBA). So these players cannot be outrighted to the minors during the last part of November, all of December, all of January, all of February, and the first part of March. That's why a club might want to non-tender one or more of these players on 12/2 if the player is not sent outright to the minors by the 14th day after the final game of the World Series, because the club might believe it will need the player's slot on the 40 during the off-season for a free-agent signing, a waiver claim, or a Rule 5 Draft pick, and if the player is not dropped from the 40 by 12/2, the club is basically stuck with him up until mid-March. (While a club could release a Draft-Excluded player after 12/2 to clear the player's slot on the 40, the player could be claimed off Outright Release Waivers for just $1, and even if he isn't claimed off release waivers and the player becomes a free-agent and could be re-signed by the club that released him, a player on an MLB 40-man roster who is released after August 31st cannot be added back to the MLB 40-man roster of the club that released the player until May 15th, and most players would not want to have that restriction going into Spring Training).

2. MLB RULE 9 PLAYER (formerly MLB Rule 55 player): An MLB Rule 9 player is any player on an MLB 40-man roster who would have automatically been declared a minor league free-agent at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series if he had been on a minor league roster at that time. These players cannot be sent outright to the minors after 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of World Series unless and until the player has signed a 2022 contract (and contracts aren't tendered until 12/2, and even then, the player doesn't have to sign it, and the club can't auto-renew the player's previous contract until March 1st). MLB Rule 9 players presently on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster are: Jason Adam (is also a Draft-Excluded player), Adbert Alzolay, Scott Effross (is also a Draft-Excluded player), P. J. Higgins, Alec Mills, Frank Schwindel, Justin Steele, and Brad Wieck. So if the Cubs believe they will need the 40-man roster slots of any of these players by the 11/19 roster filing deadline they will need to be outrighted no later than the 5th day after the final game of the World Series. Otherwise, the player could be non-tendered on 12/2 and then subsequently be re-signed to a minor league contract (preferably after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft), except that doesn't open up a 40-man roster slot for a player the Cubs might want to protect from selection in the Rule 5 Draft by adding him to the 40 by the 11/19 roster filing deadline. Otherwise, the Cubs would be stuck with these guys until March 1st.

3. MLB ARTICLE XX-D PLAYER: These are players who have accrued at least three years of MLB Service Timer but less than five years of MLB Service Time, or who have been outrighted to the minors previously in their career, or have "Super Two" status for salary arbitration. Players with MLB Article XX-D rights on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster right now are Sergio Alcantara, David Bote, Ian Happ, Michael Hermosillo, Jonathan Holder, Nick Martini, Trevor Megill, Rafael Ortega, Michael Rucker, Adrian Sampson, Kohl Stewart, Trayce Thompson, Rowan Wick, and Patrick Wisdom. Bote, Happ, Ortega, Wick, and Wisdom are probably safe and secure on the 40, but the other nine guys are the ones the Cubs would most want to non-tender and then subsequently re-sign to a minor league contract (preferably after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft) - IF - the player wasn't dropped from the 40 prior to 11/19 and the Cubs believe the player's roster slot might be needed during the off-season. Of course, it's possible that the Cubs wouldn't care if the one of more of these players gets claimed off waivers or elects free-agency after being outrighted, but if they do care, then non-tendering the player on 12/2 and then (hopefully) re-signing him to a minor league contract (preferably after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft) is the way to go. But again, a non-tender on 12/2 will - NOT - open up a roster slot to add a Rule 5 Draft-eligible player to the 40 by the 11/19 roster filing deadline.

4. MLB ARTICLE XIX-A PLAYER: These are players on the 40 who have accrued at least five years of MLB Service time. They can't even be outrighted to the minors without their consent, so if the Cubs want to drop any of these guys from the 40, they just need to notify the player of their intention and then the player can either elect free-agency without being outrighted, or choose to remain on the 40 and then become an Article XX-B FA on the day after the final game of the World Series, or for Article XIX-A players with less than six years of MLB Service Time (like Rex Brothers and Adam Morgan), either be non-tendered on 12/2, or released, but that's only if the player is unsigned.

5. An injured player normally cannot be placed on Outright Assignment Waivers after the 11/19 roster filing deadline. The only exception is a player with less than three years of MLB Service Time who did not accrue any MLB Service Time the previous season, has not been outrighted previously in his career, and who was not selected in the prior Rule 5 Draft (Miguel Amaya, Alexander Canario, Anderson Espinoza, Brailyn Marquez, Rafael Morel, and Alexander Vizcaino), plus any Rule 5 Draft-eligible player the Cubs might add to the 40 by 11/19. These players can be sent to the minors - EVEN IF INJURED - by optional or outright assignment up until 15 days prior to MLB Opening Day. If the player is also a Draft-Excluded player (like any Rule 5 Draft-eligible minor leaguer the Cubs might add to the 40 by the 11/19 roster filing deadline), then the player can be sent to the minors (if injured) only during a five-day window beginning 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day (the first day that a Draft-Excluded player can be sent to the minors) up until 15 days prior to MLB Opening Day (the last day that a player who accrued no MLB Service Time during the previous season can be sent to the minors.

So the only players on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster right now who have no restrictions and can be sent outright to the minors at any time (presuming the player is not claimed off waivers), either now, next month, or anytime next year, are Cory Abbott, Miguel Amaya, Alexander Canario, Greg Deichmann, Anderson Espinoza, Nico Hoerner, Nick Madrigal, Brailyn  Marquez, Christopher Morel, Tommy Nance, Manuel Rodriguez, Keegan Thompson, and Alexander Vizcaino.

In general, MLB clubs would prefer to non-tender a player who is out of minor league options and then re-sign the player to a minor league contract (preferably after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft) if the player has some value to the club but is not assured of an Opening Day 26-man roster slot. So players on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster who are out of options and who are more-or-less "on the bubble" for an Opening Day 26-man roster slot like Sergio Alcantara, Michael Hermosillo, Trayce Thompson, and Brad Wieck are definite 12/2 non-tender candidates for that reason. (Adbert Alzolay and Alec Mills are out of options but are not candidates to get non-tendered, while Rafael Ortega is out of options but would appear to be fairly certain of a spot on the Cubs MLB 26-man Opening Day roster at this time, although maybe not as certain as Alzolay and Mills).

Also, unsigned players on the 40 who are eligible for salary arbitration are sometimes non-tendered if the player and the club cannot come to an agreement on a contract by the contract tender date (12/2) and the club doesn't want to take a chance of losing to the player in an arbitration hearing. Cubs players eligible for salary arbitration post-2021 are Willson Conteras (lock to be tendered). Ian Happ (will likely be tendered after excellent August & September), Adam Morgan (not likely to be tendered but has outside shot if he is still on the 40 on 12/2), Rex Brothers (almost certainly will not be tendered), and Jonathan Holder (will almost certainly will not be tendered). In fact, Brothers and Holder (and possibly Morgan) could be dropped from the 40 sometime within the next week. (Rowan Wick will probably be eligible for salary arbitration as a"Super Two," but he's right at the 2+114 MLB Service Time post-2021 "Super Two" cut-off and the post-2021 MLB Super Two list hasn't been officially announced by MLB yet).

So which players are most likely to be dropped from the 40 prior to the 11/19 roster filing deadline?

1. P. J. Higgins (on 60-day IL - TJS rehab) - Rule 9 player so outright assignment deadline for him is 5th day after final game of World Series
2. Jonathan Holder (on 60-day IL - right shoulder strain) - has Article XX-D rights & would almost certainly elect free-agency if outrighted
3. Kohl Stewart (on 60-day IL - right elbow inflammation) - has Article XX-D rights & would almost certainly elect free-agency if outrighted
4. Trent Giambrone - Draft-Excluded player so outright assignment deadline for him is 14 days after final game of World Series
5. Nick Martini - Draft-Excluded Player so outright assignment deadline for him is 14 days after final game of World Series - has Article XX-D rights & would almost certainly elect free-agency if outrighted
6. Rex Brothers - has Article XIX-A rights & would almost certainly elect free-agency if outrighted - or could just get released
7. Adam Morgan - has Article XIX-A rights & would almost certainly elect free-agency if outrighted - or could just get released.

If all seven are dropped from the 40 by the 11/19 deadline, four slots on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster would be opened for the two Rule 5 Draft-Eligible players who are the most-likely to get added to the 40 by 11/19 (RHRP Ethan Roberts and OF Nelson Velazquez), plus a couple of more (TBD).

Or the Cubs could open up a 40-man roster slot prior to the 11/19 deadline for a potential waiver claim (clubs sometimes get into a roster logjam at the roster filing deadline and put a decent prospect waivers, and the Cubs have the #7 waiver claim priority through the 30th day of the 2022 MLB regular season), or to acquire an MLB player from another club in a trade, like they did in November 2018 when they obtained RHRP Rowan Wick from the Padres in exchange for minor league INF Jason Vosler when the Padres needed Wick's slot on the 40 but couldn't place him on waivers (he was a Draft-Excluded player at the time), and they couldn't wait until 12/2 to non-tender him, either.

And what about Cubs 12/2 non-tender candidates?

Higgins, Holder, Stewart, Martini, Giambrone, and Brothers would very likely be non-tendered if they are still on the 40 past 11/19 even if they do not agree to sign a 2022 minor league contract, but if Morgan gets this far he might stay on the 40 as long as he gives up the possibility of going to salary arbitration and signs a 2022 MLB contract for whatever salary the Cubs offer.

And then...

LIKELY WILL BE NON-TENDERED (just because they are out of options):
1. Trayce Thompson (Draft-Excluded Player who is out of minor league options)
2. Michael Hermosillo (Draft-Excluded Player who is out of minor league options)
3. Brad Wieck (had August cardiac surgery and is out of minor league options)
4. Sergio Alcantara (out of minor league options options)

Again, taking a 40-man roster player who is out of minor league options to Spring Training limits a club's roster flexibility when establishing the Opening Day roster, and so (whenever possible) it's better to bring these players to Spring Training on a minor league deal (NRI) so that the club can send to the player to the minors prior to MLB Opening Day without having to first secure waivers.

5. Jason Adam (Draft-Excluded Player)
6. Adrian Sampson (Draft-Excluded Player)
7. Scott Effross (Draft-Excluded Player)

8. Tommy Nance
9. Michael Rucker - can elect free-agency if outrighted
10. Trevor Megill - can elect free-agency if outrighted

Players #5-7 are not out of minor league options but they are Draft-Excluded Players and so they cannot be outrighted after mid-November. Players #8-10 are not out of minor league options and they also are not Draft-Excluded Players, so for them it's just a matter of removing the player from the 40 so as to not have to risk losing the player off waivers later in the off-season (and Megill and Rucker can elect free-agency if outrighted), should the player's slot on the 40 suddenly be needed for a free-agent signing or waiver claim, so if possible, it's better to remove the player from the 40 in advance by non-tender. Again, not ALL of these players need to be non-tendered. In fact NONE of them absolutely need to be non-tendered. It would just be desirable.

And keep in mind that just because a player is non-tendered and then re-signed to a minor league contract doesn't mean he doesn't fit into the club's plans for the next season. It's just that he doesn't - DEFINITELY - fit into the club;'s plans, and so the club would prefer to have the roster flexibility to send the player to the minors out of Spring Training if that proves to be the best play.

It gets a bit tricky if a player who has some value to the club declines the offer to sign a minor league contract after being non-tendered, so a club usually will try and gauge a player's willingness to sign a minor league deal before he is non-tendered, and a club will sometimes need to offer the player more money than he would have received if he had remained on the 40 (plus absolutely an NRI to MLB Spring Training) as an enticement to re-up on a minor league deal.

And while sometimes a player will agree in advance to sign a minor league contract after being non-tendered, he might also want to sign it prior to the Rule 5 Draft (rather than waiting until after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft, which would be the club's preference) so that he has a chance to get drafted by another MLB club.

But the bottom line is, if a player isn't interested in signing a minor league contract and the club doesn't want to lose the player for nothing, it's better to just tender him a contract and then take the chance that the club might lose him off waivers later if his 40-man roster slot is needed.


Phil, your knowledge is amazing!

Phil, can you explain the Franchy Cordero situation with the Red Sox, where he apparently signed a *major league* contract before being outrighted? Was that because he fell under the Rule 9 category?

jdrnym: Franchy Cordero is an MLB Article XX-D player (he has accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time), so he has the right to elect free-agency if outrighted, either immediately (actually he has three days to decide this time of year) in which case his contract would be terminated with no termination pay, or he can accept the outright assignment and defer free-agency until the day after the conclusion of the 2022 MLB regular season (his choice). 

If he was unsigned when he was outrighted he would almost certainly elect free-agency immediately, unless he agreed to sign a 2022 minor league contract after being outrighted.  

If he was signed for 2022 prior to being outrighted, then he would probably accept the outright assignment and defer free-agency until the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season (unless he is added back to the 40 in the meantime, in which case he would not have the right to elect free-agency post-2022 as long as he remains on the 40 going forward).

Being an MLB Article XX-D player negates a player's Rule 9 status as far as the deadline to outright an unsigned Rule 9 player is concerned (5th day after the final game of the World Series), so Cordero can be outrighted any time, even if he is unsigned.   

MLB Rule 9 only applies if an unsigned player on an MLB 40-man roster does not have Article XX-D or Article XIX-A rights. 

As for why Cordero would sign a 2022 MLB contract knowing he was going to be outrighted, instead of being outrighted first and then signing a 2022 minor league contract, by signing a 2022 MLB contract first and then getting outrighted (and accepting the outright assignment) he can elect free-agency beginning on the day after the conclusion of the 2022 MLB regular season, but if he signed a 2022 minor league contract after being outrighted, he would not be declared a minor league free-agent until after the 2022 World Series, which is a difference of only about a month, but at least it does give him a one-month head-start over the 500+ minor league players who hit Rule 9 free-agency after the World Series every year (and again, this is presuming he is not added back to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the conclusion of the 2022 MLB regular season)

BTW and FWIW, being a 2022 "outrighted player" instead of a 2022 "minor league player" means Cordero remains an active member of the MLBPA.   

Andy Weber is hitting 324/479/568 so far in the AFL, where he is also 4th in the league in walks and tied for 2nd in the league in triples, all while playing SS-2B-3B.

All of which means Weber is making himself attractive as a potential Rule 5 Draft poach if the Cubs don't add him to the 40 on 11/19. And while it's still early, Weber is definitely trending in the right direction.  

With a polished glove and first-rate fundamentals, Weber has long been a favorite of the Cubs Player Development Dept. But his game performance has generally been disappointing (so far). That could be changing.  

I have noticed recently that the abbreviation "DFA" is now used liberally around the internet as a sort of catch-all term to describe removing a player from an MLB 40-man roster, but it actually has a much more narrow definition than that: 


Sometimes a club needs to remove a player from its MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) and/or MLB Active List (26-man or 28-man roster) immediately, but the club has not yet decided the final disposition of the player and/or assignment waivers have not yet been secured. In this case, a player can be Designated for Assignment (DFA)

A player who is "Designated for Assignment" must be either sent outright to the minors (that's known as an "outright assignment") or traded (that's known as a "trade assignment") within seven days. If the player is not assigned (outrighted or traded) within seven days, he must be released 

So a DFA is used to remove a player from a 40-man roster immediately and then to buy time (up to seven days) for a club while it explores a trade or waits for waivers to be secured. Not all players who are outrighted to the minors or released are DFA'd first. 

This is EXACTLY the post I needed you to write! I've been so confused about all of this stuff, despite your regular attempts to teach us! Thanks Phil! :)

ah boo.

jerry "here comes the pizza" remy has died.  he's been dealing with lung cancer for years.

cubs new hitting coach greg brown (rays minor league hitting coordinator).

"The Heyward Whisperer"

4th time is the charm, right? 

*checks notes*


i still can't believe theo gave 23m a year for 8 f'n years to a .350 ob% hitter who hadn't even hit 15 homers in the previous 3 years to patrol RF and catch an extra popup a week some other guy might not get so easily.

so of course the dude shows up and manages to not even be a .350 ob% guy.

theo got the cubs a WS and an all-time worst team contract.  hell of a legacy.  he's still hall of fame bound and won't have to pay for drinks in at least 2 major US cities for the rest of his life, so whatever...*shrug*

You think he would have learned with Carl Crawford. Paying a premium for defense to a player that doesn't play a premium defensive position doesn't appear to be smart. 

That being said, one bad contract shouldn't be the downfall of the team.  Astros are paying Verlander & Greinke a sh!t ton of money this season just to end up with a single back of the rotation starter.  

If the lockout is called on December first, can teams still have their December 2nd party on December 2nd?

As I said in my comment about the state of the website, crunch was right about Heyward all along. "The Speech" counts for a lot in the cosmic history of Cubdom, but still, what a failure. I fight the feeling that maybe Soler would have been better, though that's debatable.

The Cubs have sent RHPs Jonathan Holder and Kohl Stewart and OFs Nick Martini and Trayce Thompson outright to AAA Iowa. All four are Article XX-D players and therefore have the right to elect free-agency if outrighted (they have 72 hours to decide), but if the player doesn't elect free-agency by Saturday, he will automaticaly be declared an MLB Rule 9 minor league 6YFA at 5 PM (Eastern) on Sunday (the 5th day after the final game of the World Series).  

Also, RHP Zach Davies, C Robinson Chirinos, C Jose Lobaton, and INF Matt Duffy were automatically declared Article XX-B MLB free-agents at 9 AM (Eastern) on Wednesday. (They did not have to file. It's automatic). 

So the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) now officially stands at 34 (six slots are open), although five players are still on the Cubs MLB 60-day IL and they must be reinstated no later than 5 PM (Eastern) on Sunday. Once that happens, the Cubs will have just one slot open on the 40. 

LHP Adam Morgan declined an Outright Assignment and has elected free-agency. As an Article XIX-A player (he has accrued more than five years of MLB Service Time) he had to give his consent before he could be outrighted, and he elected free-agency instead. (Same thing will happen with Rex Brothers if thed Cubs decide to drop him from the 40 prior to the 12/2 MLB contract tender date). 

So with Morgan electing free-agency, the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) now stands at 33, with five players still on the MLB 60-day IL who will need to be reinstated by 5 PM (Eastern) on Sunday. So once the players on the 60-day IL are reinstated the Cubs MLB 40-man roster will have 38 players on it (with two slots open)  Of course that's presuming no other players are dropped from the 40 in the next couple of days. 

Contrary to what you might have read at other sites on the web, Adam Morgan was - NOT - eligible to be an Article XX-B MLB FA (like Davies, Duffy, Chirinos, et al), because he has not yet accrued six years of MLB Service Time. This time last year Morgan was on track to be an MLB Article XX-B  FA post-2021 and so some of the resourse sites projected him a post-2021 Article XX-B FA. But he signed a 2021 minor league contract with the Cubs and spent the first half of the 2021 season in the minors (he was called up on 6/29), and that affected his MLB Service Time to the extent that he fell 58 days short of the six seasons he needed to qualify as an Article XX-B FA post-2021.   

Wade Miley?

The Cubs have indeed claimed LHSP Wade Miley off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds and therefore inherit his contract which includes a 2022 $10M club option (or $1M buy-out). As a waiver claim, Miley is also immediately added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster. 

Obviously the Cubs didn't claim Miley to decline the club option and pay him the $1M buy-out and let him walk as a FA, so Miley goes into the Cubs MLB starting rotation for 2022 and the Cubs add $10M to their 2022 payroll (plus an additional potential $500K in performance bonuses based on IP).

Miley will be an Article XX-B MLB FA post-2022. 

From the Reds POV, they receive the $50,000 waiver claim fee - AND - save $1M (they avoid having to pay Miley's $1M club option contract buy-out).  

It helps the Cubs to have the # 7 waiver claim priority, which they will have through the 30th day of the 2022 MLB regular season. 

All this roster chaos is awesome for a team that high in the priority order. Miley is a really solid pickup for one year.

It's too bad the Cubs didn't (apparently) have a shot at acquiring catcher Tucker Barnhart before the Reds traded him to Detroit a couple of days ago. Even with a $7.5M 2022 salary, a LH-hitting catcher who is a plus-defender behind the plate would have been an ideal # 2 (or 1-A), even though Barnhart will be a FA post-2022.    

If you look at who the Reds got back from the Tigers for Barnhart (2B Nick Quintana), I would think somebody like Chase Strumpf would have been a better return for the Reds.

Both Quintana and Strumpf were 2nd round picks, neither is eligible for selection in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft, Quintana plays 3B but Strumpf plays both 3B and 2B, both were big-time power-hitting infielders in the PAC-12 (Quintana at the U. of Arizona, and Strumpf at UCLA), and of the two, Strumpf has performed better in minor league games and is further along through his organization's minor league pipeline.     

And it would appear that Strumpf's long-term future value to the Cubs has diminished somewhat, what with all of the infielders the Cubs have drafted, signed, and acquired in trades over the past couple of seasons.  

Surprised the Reds couldn't find a trade partner for Miley.  I realize his numbers last season are an outlier and he will likely regress but 1 year at $10 million seems like a bargain for a guy coming off of a 6 WAR (baseball reference) season with a 3.37 ERA over 163 IP.  Especially considering he was playing in Cincy's bandbox of a stadium.   

Hopefully they don't give him Davies old locker just in case its contagious. 

The Cubs could have done a whole lot worse than exchanging Zach Davies for Wade Miley.

FWIW, it also hurts the Reds (not financially obviously, but on the field). 

At the very least the Cubs should (hopefully) be able to flip Miley for a prospect or two at the 2022 Trade Deadline. 

One of the underrated things about tanking in 2021 is the Cubs enhanced waiver claim priority (# 7), which will be in effect for the next SIX MONTHS.  

if we can keep miley and hendricks (if still around) from going back-to-back that would help things.

miley's got a 88-90mph fastball, but he lives off low-mid 80s cutters and changeups.

all that aside, if someone told me the cubs signed miley to a 1y/10m deal in any current circumstance, i would like it even if not very impressed.

CRUNCH: Same problem with having Alec Mills in the starting rotation. 

I will say that all things considered and if it becomes necessary, I would much rather have a soft-tossing lefty mixed between the two soft-tossing RHSP than have three soft-tossing RHSP in a row, or even two back-to-back. 

assuming hendricks sticks around...which as you've pointed out is far from a sure thing...having hendricks/alzolay/miley/mills in the rotation means having 4 guys who are unlikely to pitch too many more than 180 innings.

pen is gonna be important, but i'm not expecting them to throw money there.

With the 13-man pitcher limit likely to (finally) be implemented in 2022 (it was supposed to have happened in 2020, but was tabled the last two seasons because of CoViD), and with the universal DH likely to be implmented (with the DH lost once the SP leaves the game) in the new CBA, it should create a  robust market for the multi-inning "bulk" reliever (a bit more than a RP but not quite a SP), such that a typical 13-man pitching staff would have five starters, four one-inning guys, and four multi-inning (bulk) guys. Losing the DH once the SP leaves the game would also put a value on the late-inning "money" bat off the bench, something that has become passe in the A. L.  

Other changes I would expect to see in the new CBA include implementing the pitch clock, retaining the compensation draft pick for clubs losing a qualified free-agent but the club that signs the qualified FA doesn't lose a draft pick, a limited international draft (perhaps just two rounds), the limited trading of draft picks (perhaps one draft pick per club each year and only during the MLB regular season prior to the draft), free-agency tied to when the player signed his first contract and not to MLB Service Time (similar to how first-time Rule 5 Draft eligibility is determined), an escalating minimum salary for arbitration-eligible players, expanding the active list roster from 26 to 28 (and the pitcher limit from 13 to 15) once a game goes past 12 innings, allowing a mid-inning pitching change even if a pitcher has not faced three batters if the offense puts up a PH, and eliminating the financial penalty for going over the Competitive Balance Tax threshhold but retaining and perhaps even expanding draft pick forfeiture for exceeding the CBT.   

I also expect to see a return of the short-season "advanced" level (what used to be Eugene for the Cubs) at the Arizona and Florida complexes for any club that wishes to field a club at that level (the Cubs would be one of them). But If the 180-man in-season minor league Domestic Reserve List limit is retained, there would have to be a change in minor league injured list rules (perhaps reducing the roster-exempt IL from 60 days down to 30 days).   

RHP Jonathan Holder has elected free-agency after being outrighted to AAA Iowa.

Holder was one of four players sent outright to the minors by the Cubs on Wednesday (the others were Kohl Stewart, Nick Martini, and Trayce Thompson). All four are Article XX-D players and so they have the right to elect free-agency if outrighted.

The four outrighted players have 72 hours to elect free-agency, but even if one or more of them chooses not to elect free-agency under Article XX-D (and the only reason a player wouldn't would be if he signs a 2022 minor league successor contract or is actively negotiating to sign one), the player(s) would be automatically declared an MLB Rule 9 minor league 6YFA at 5 PM (Eastern) on Sunday (again, unless the player either elects free-agency under Artticle XX-D or signs a 2022 minor league successor contract in the meantime).   

The Cubs have officially signed NDFA INF Alejandro Rivero (St. Thomas University) to a 2022 minor league league contract. He has been "Signed for Future Service," meaning he will not count against the Cubs Domestic Reserve List roster limit until 2022 minor league full season opening day next April.   

The 24 year old Rivero is a Cuban native but attended college in Florida. He played for Boise in the Pioneer League (one of MLB's new "partner leagues") in 2021 after graduating from St. Thomas, and hit a robust 352/401/6688 with 20 HR and 21 doubles in just 58 games. He was rather old for the league, however. 

What's interesting is he played on the same team as former Cubs prospect Wladimire Galindo. Galindo put up similarly big numbers, but Rivero did it with fewer Ks and hit the same number of HRs in fewer PAs. That's at least somewhat of a useful barometer I'd think.

The Cubs have sent RHP Adrian Sampson, C-INF P. J. Higgins, and INF Trent Giambrone outright to AAA Iowa.

Sampson has Artticle XX-D rights and can elect free-agency, and while Higgins can't elect free-ageny he will be automatically declared an MLB Ru;e 9 minor league 6YFA at 5 PM (Eastern) on Sunday.

Giambrone does not have the right to elect free-agency and he is not eligible to be an MLB Rule 9 minor league 6YFA, so the Cubs will have him under club control for one more season. 

So the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) now stands at 32 (eight slots are open), but with four players  (Michael Hermpsillo, Nick Madrigal, Alfonso Rivas, and Brad Wieck) still on the MLB 60-day IL, and they will need to be reinstated by 5 PM (Eastern) on Sunday. 

So once the smoke clears, the Cubs will have four slots open on the 40 leading up to the pre-Rule 5 Draft filing of reserve lists on 11/19.   

Picking up Miley leads me to believe (along with Phil) that the Cubs will shop Hendricks this winter. You can only have so many soft tosses in the rotation. He's not an addition as much as a replacement. 

OFs Nick Martini and Trayce Thompson have elected free-agency.

They were two of the four players sent outright to the minors by the Cubs on Wednesday (the others were RHP s Jonathan Holder and Kohl Stewart). All four are Article XX-D players and so they had the right to elect free-agency if outrighted. Holder elected free-agency on Thursday. 

Something to keep in mind about how waivers work during the off-season. 

During MLB Spring Training and the MLB regular season (with the exception of the weekend prior to MLB Opening Day), the MLB office is open every day (including Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays. So if waivers are requested on a particular player before 2 PM (Eastern) on a particular day (including Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays) the player is included in the waiver list that is transmitted that day, and the player's waiver claiming period ("waiver ride") concludes at 1 PM (Eastern) two days later, or 47 hours after the player's waiver claiming period started.  


Beginning with the first day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season and extending up until the official start of Spring Training (the day pitchers & catchers report), the MLB office is closed for business on Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays, the day after Thanksgiving, and the week between Christmas Day and New Year's Day. 

MLB transactions are not processed while the MLB office is closed, and so the days normally counted toward a player's waiver period or the deadline to file a contract or submit a trade for approval or assign a player outright to the minors or the end of a seven-day DFA period are processed while the MLB office is closed, just like those days don't exist. 

So for example, if the Cubs placed a player on waivers this past Thursday and the player's waiver ride started at 2 PM (Eastern) on Thursday, the player's waiver claiming period would end on Monday at 1 PM (Eastern) rather than at 1 PM (Eastern) on Saturday, because today (Saturday) and tomorrow (Sunday) don't count during the off-season. 

Or if a player is placed on waivers next month at 2 PM (Eastern) on Thursday December 23rd. his waiver claiming period would not conclude until 1 PM (Eastern) on Tuesday January 4th, because the MLB Office will be closed for ten  days 12/24 - 1/2, and so those ten days don't count as far as waivers are concerned.  

Something similar happens if a club signs a free-agent or a player is Designated for Assignment prior to the Christmas - New Year's holidays. Normally a contact must be filed within 20 days of signing and a player can be Desiugnated for Assignment for no more than seven days, but those periods and any roster move that might be necessary to clear a slot on the 40 for a newly-signed player would not be accepted by the MLB office until Monday 1/3, which means (for example) if a club signs a free-agent on December 4th, he actually would not need to be added to the club's MLB 40-man roster until Monday January 3rd, because the MLB office will be closed on the day the 20 days expire (12/24) and the office won't open again until 1/3.   

So nobody is getting placed on waivers today (Saturday) or tomorrow (Sunday) and no club can be awarded a waiver claim until Monday at 1 PM (Eastern), and that's only for players who might have been placed on waivers on Thursday.   

As for how clubs can reinstate a player from the MLB or minor league 60-day IL tomorrow (Sunday) or how Rule 9 minor league 6YFA and second contract players can be declared free-agents at 5 PM (Eastern) tomorrow (Sunday) if the MLB Office is closed, it's done automaticaly by timer. Nobody has to do anything. It just happens automatically, like an alarm clock going off.  

And that's why there was so much waiver activity on Thursday and yesterday (Friday). Players who needed to be outrighted no later than Sunday (like P. J. Higgins) needed to clear waivers by Friday, because Saturday and Sunday don't count during the off-season as far as waivers are concerned. 

It's also why the normal 11/20 roster filing deadline was moved up a day to Friday 11/19 this year and will be moved-up to Friday 11/18 next year, and why the 12/2 contract tender date is sometimes moved up to 12/1 or 11/30 id 12/2 dfalls on a Saturday or a Sunday. It all has to do with the MLB office not being open for business on Saturdays and Sundays during the off-season.   

How do contract tenders work on December 2nd? 

Individual players aren't literally presented with a contract on 12/2. Rather, each MLB club submits a list of it's unsigned players to the MLB Labor Relations Department (LRD) on or before 8 PM (Eastern) on December 2nd, and designates which unsigned players on the club's MLB 40-man roster are being tendered contracts and which are not.

The LRD then compiles a master list and forwards the list via what is called the "Central Tender Letter" (CTL) to the MLB Player's Association (MLBPA) at 8 PM (Eastern) on 12/2. Players who are "non-tendered" immediately become an unrestricted free-agent at this time, free to sign a major league or minor league contract with any club (including the club that non-tendered the player). 

That's why it is called "Contract Tender Day." It all officially happens that day.

Clubs cannot non-tender a player prior to 8 PM (Eastern) on 12/2. It can only happen at that time, and it is the only day of the year on which a club can remove an unsigned player from it's MLB 40-man roster without having to place the player on waivers. 

But clubs can sign unsigned players anytime prior to 8 PM (Eastern) on 12/2, and in fact often do, especially in the case of an arbitration-eligible player where the club doesn't want to risk going to arbitration with the player, and so the club offers the player (sometimes at the very last minute) what is essentially a "best offer you are going to get from us" contract, with the understanding the player will be non-tendered if he declines to sign it. Some players accept the offer it, some do not.

Sometimes a player is non-tendered because he is out of minor league options, or because he is a Rule 5 Draft-Excluded player, or because he is a Rule 9 player, or just any player on the 40 the club would prefer to non-tender rather than risk losing off waivers sometime later in the off-season, and then (hopefully) re-sign the non-tendered player to a minor league contract (preferably -- but not necessarily -- after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft). 

But otherwise the Central Tender Letter just informs the MLBPA which players are being tendered contracts and which players are not being tendered contracts. 

That's what happens on 12/2, but there can be considerable behind-the-scenes discussion and negotiation between a club and certain players leading up to the deadline.  

A review of what happens at 5 PM (Eastern) tomorrow (Sunday 11/7): 

1. All players still on an MLB or minor league 60-day IL are reinstated; 
2. Deadline to re-sign a minor league player eligible to be a minor league FA to a 2022 "successor contract" to avoid having the player become a FA;
3. Unsigned MLB Rule 9 minor league 6YFA and second contract FA are automatically declared free-agents. (They do not have to file. It is done automatically); 
4. A club's minor league "Domestic Reserve List" is expanded from 180 to 190, and will remain at 190 until 2022 minor league "full season" Opening Day. 

All of this happens at the exact same nano-second.  

So a club has to make sure in advance that the number of players added to its minor league Domestic Reserve List by virtue of being reinstated from a minor league 60-day IL and the number of players subtracted from the club's minor league Domestic Reserve List by virture of being declared a minor league free-agent do not result in the club's minor league Domestic Reserve List exceeding 190 players. 

The Cubs presently have 177 players on their minor league Domestic Reserve List and 26 players still on  various minor league affiliates 60-day IL (for a total of 203), meaning at least 13 minor leaguers must become minor league free-agents tomorrow to keep ther DRL at 190 (or lower).   

Including the recently-outrighted Kohl Stewart and Adrian Sampson (who have not yet elected free-agency but still can), there are at present 45 Cubs minor leaguers (29 6YFA and 16 second-contract players) eligible to be minor league free-agents, but that number will likely drop to around 25 by 5 PM (Eastern) tomorrow. 

For example, it is likely that most of the 16 Rule 9 second-contract minor leaguers are signed for 2022, and probably a handful of the 29 potential 6YFA (maybe a half-dozen) have signed or will be signing 2022 "successor contracts" prior to the 5 PM (Eastern) deadline. 

Once a player becomes a minor league free-agent he is free to sign a major league or minor league contract with any club, including re-signing with his former club. So it's likely that some of the Cubs minor leaguers who are declared free-agents at 5 PM tomorrow will end up re-signing with the Cubs at some point later in the off-season, once they have had a chance to test the market.  

The ten post-2021 minor league free-agent eligibles the Cubs would probably most want to re-sign for 2022: 

1. Dakota Chalmers, RHSP 
2. Dillon Maples, RHRP
3. Bryan Hudson, LHRP 
4. Eury Ramos, RHRP 
5. Luis Lugo, LHSP 
5. Nicholas Padilla, RHRP 
7. Aneuris Rosario, RHRP  
8. Donnie Dewees, OF 
9. Erick Castillo, C 
10. Tyler Payne, C 

Amazing knowledge! Thanks Phil.

It took me 15 minutes just to read (and re-read) the comments AZPhil just posted. I can only imagine how long it took to write. Thank you Phil for your time and dedication to helping us learn and understand this stuff! We all live vicariously through you!

Well said Rat.

With the CBA expiring on December 1st, MLB owners and the MLBPA have jointly agreed to move the contract tender date up from Thursday December 2nd to Tuesday November 30th (that's a week from today). 

Then (presumably) the lock-out will start the next day (Wednesday). 

Recent comments

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  • crunch 1 hour 27 min ago (view)

    yanks and wsox fans are both hyped up over this signing by the cubs.


  • Arizona Phil 3 hours 5 min ago (view)

    CRUNCH: I would be very surprised if the Cubs sign anyone with a QO attached, so that rules out Story and Correa. I could see the Cubs maybe acquiring Didi Gregorius from the Phillies as a Phillie salary dump if the Phils sign Correa or Story. Then the Cubs could flip Gregorius at the trade deadline. Gregorius is signed thru 2022 at about $14M. Gregorius could end up back with the Yankees for a year under a similar scenario. 


  • Arizona Phil 3 hours 12 min ago (view)

    CRUNCH: Willson Contreras to the Yankees just makes too much sense. 


  • crunch 3 hours 31 min ago (view)

    yow...okay, maybe trade watch is very underway.


  • crunch 3 hours 35 min ago (view)

    yan gomes 2/13m cubs.

    contreras trade watch underway...maybe...dunno if you can actually count on gomes to catch 120+ games a year.  he may be high-end backup/rest with powerful bench option between him and contreras.


  • crunch 3 hours 40 min ago (view)

    j.baez to DET....6/140m

    cubs are obviously in the market for a SS, especially since hoerner has been put on notice he could be a ultility player in 2022.  it's looking a lot like trevor story time unless he gets priced out.

    not too stoked on his bat, but his glove is solid.


  • Sonicwind75 4 hours 21 min ago (view)

    Have to admit that as someone that now lives in Texas and enjoys baseball in general (not just Cubs), will likely head to DFW instead of Houston this summer to get my baseball fix.  New stadium, some exciting new players.  Guess that covers $100 of those millions they just spent.

    I figured the Rangers would make a Jason Werth type of signing this offseason.  Overpay to bring in a big time free agent that signals that the organization is transitioning from rebuilding to trying to be competive.  Didn't expect them to double down on it. 


  • crunch 20 hours 45 min ago (view)

    corey seager signed a deal for 32.5m a year and that means carlos correa is having a really great day.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 21 hours 20 min ago (view)

    Texas has a wildly expensive middle infield. They've also set the market really high for the remaining SS. And they did it single handedly.


  • crunch 22 hours 47 min ago (view)

    c.seager goes to TEX for 10/325.

    they've committed to spend 1/2 billion this week (marcus semien added, too).

    meanwhile, the cubs complained to the local paper about how their new multi-million dollar sports betting lounge isn't a casino and they sent out a "cyber monday" ad to offer the great deal of it costing nothing to get on the season tickets waiting list.

    it already is and will continue to be a hell of a 24 hours.  maybe the cubs will *shrug* i something worth talking about.


  • crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    BA released their top-10 cubs prospects list...

    1. Brennen Davis

    2. Cristian Hernandez

    3. Brailyn Marquez

    4. Pete Crow-Armstrong

    5. Jordan Wicks

    6. Kevin Alcantara

    7. Caleb Kilian

    8. Owen Caissie

    9. DJ Herz

    10. Yohendrick Pinango

    reggie preciado got robbed.


  • crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    m.scherzer mets 3/130m (wow)

    that's more than the entire payroll for PIT last season per year and only a bit less than what BAL, CLE, and MIA paid out.


  • crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    both are equally useful to a baseball team.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    The violinist or the camera staring afficionado?


  • Hagsag 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    Taylor Davis might be next.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    STOP THE PRESSES! They signed someone. Some random lefty RP named Locke St.John.

    Sounds like a Bond villain.