After the World Series

With the World Series having concluded last night, the MLB 2013-14 "off-season" has officially begun.

So there are a number of things that now come into play, including:


Per Article XX-B of the CBA, any player on an MLB Reserve List who has accrued at least six years of MLB Service Time and who is not signed for the following season automatically becomes a free-agent at 9 AM (Eastern) on the first day after the conclusion of the World Series. The player's former club retains exclusive negotiating rights with the player up until midnight (Eastern) on the 5th day after the after the conclusion of the World Series, after-which the player is free to sign a Major League contract (or minor league contract) with any club, including with the player's former club.

Scott Baker, RHP
Kevin Gregg, RHP
Matt Guerrier, RHP
Dioner Navarro, C

An Article XX-B MLB free-agent who signs a Major League contract after 11:59 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series receives automatic "no trade" rights that extend through June 15th of the following season, even if the player re-signs with his former club. An Article XX-B MLB Free-Agent who receives "no trade" rights this way can waive the right, but if he does, his club can trade the player only for player contracts and/or cash with a maximum aggregate value of $50,000. Note that a player who signs a Major League contract after becoming a free-agent by any other means (Outright Release, Non-Tendered, or Article XX-D or MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent) does NOT receive automatic "no trade" rights through June 15th.

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


An Article XX-B free-agent is designated a "Qualified Player" if the player spent the entire immediately-preceding MLB regular season on a club's MLB Active List (25-man roster) and/or on one or more of the club's inactive lists (7-day, 15-day, and/or 60-day Disabled List, Military List, Bereavement List, et al) and/or on the Active List or an inactive list (7-day or 60-day Disabled List, Military List, Bereavement List, et al) of one or more minor league affiliates of that club, and the club offers the player a guaranteed contract (known as a "Qualifying Offer") for the following season.

The Qualifying Offer must include a salary at least equal to the average salary of the 125 highest-paid MLB players from the previous season. The exact amount of the average salary of the 125 highes-paid MLB players from the previous season will be communicated by the MLB Labor Relations Department (LRD) simultaneously to all MLB clubs and the Major League Baseball Player's Association (MLBPA) within ten days after the conclusion of the MLB regular season.

To be valid, a Qualifying Offer must be extended by a club no later than 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following conclusion of the World Series. The LRD then provides the MLBPA with a list of players receiving valid Qualifying Offers and the amount of each offer.

The Qualified Player has until 5 PM (Eastern) on the 7th day after receiving the offer to decide whether to accept or decline. If the Qualified Player accepts the offer, he is considered "signed" and must be immediately added back to his club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster). If he declines the offer, the player is free to sign with any MLB club, including his former club.

A club receives one compensatory draft pick between the 1st and 2nd rounds in the next MLB Rule 4 Draft (First-Year Player Draft) if the Qualified Player subsequently signs a Major League contract with another MLB club. If more than one club receives this type of compensatory pick, the draft order for the picks is the same as it is for all other rounds in that draft (clubs select in inverse order of league standings from the previous season, and in the case of two clubs finishing with the same record the previous season, league standings from two seasons back will be used to break the tie, and if If the clubs are still tied, league standings from three seasons back, four seasons back, etc, will be used to break the tie).

MLB clubs are not permitted to extend a Qualifying Offer to an Article XX-B MLB free-agent if the player has agreed in advance to decline the offer so that the club will obtain a compensatory draft pick once the player signs with another club.

An MLB club that signs a Qualified Player forfeits its 1st round selection in the Rule 4 Draft, unless the club selects in the Top 10 of the 1st Round, in which case it forfeits its next-highest pick. The next highest draft pick (or draft picks) will be forfeited if the club signs more than one Qualified Player (one draft pick forfeited for each Qualified Player signed). Draft picks subject to forfeiture include the club's own Rule 4 picks, compensatory draft picks awarded to the club after losing an Article XX-B Qualified Player, and draft picks that were awarded as the result of the Competitive Balance Lottery or as the result of the Rule 4 SBP Forfeited Draft Pick lottery (including any lottery draft pick originally awarded to another club and then subsequently acquired in a trade). A compensatory draft pick awarded to a club for failing to sign a pick from a previous Rule 4 Draft is NOT subject to forfeiture. NOTE: A Rule 4 Draft pick forfeited as the result of a club signing a Qualified Player is not transferred to any other club (it just disappears).

A Qualified Player who signs a Major League contract after 11:59 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series receives automatic "no trade" rights that extend through June 15th of the following season, even if the player re-signs with his former club. A Qualified Player who receives "no trade" rights this way can waive the right, but if he does, his club can trade the player only for player contracts and/or cash with a maximum aggregate value of $50,000.

If a Qualified Player signs a Major League contract with a new club after the MLB Rule 4 Draft, or if a Qualified Player signs a minor league contract with a new club and either remains in the minor leagues or is later added to the new club's MLB 40-man roster, the player's new club does NOT forfeit a Rule 4 Draft pick, and the player's former club does NOT receive Rule 4 Draft pick compensation. However, MLB clubs are not permitted to sign a Qualified Player to a minor league contract just to avoid losing a draft pick.

It is VERY unlikely that the Cubs will extend a Qualifying Offer to any of their Article XX-B MLB free-agents, although nothing will preclude the Cubs from re-signing any or all of the players to a 2014 major league or minor league contract. 


ARTICLE XX-D: Any MLB player who has accrued at least three years of MLB service time, or who was eligible for Salary Arbitration as a "Super Two" after the previous season, and/or who has been outrighted previously in his career, has the right to be a free-agent if the player is outrighted to the minors. The player can exercise this right upon being outrighted, or (but only in the case of a player who has accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time and/or has been outrighted to the minors previously in his career) he can opt to defer the right until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season (he is given three days to decide if he is outrighted during Spring Training or the MLB regular season, and he has eight days to make up his mind if he is outrighted during the off-season). If a player eligible to be a free-agent under Article XX-D elects to be a free-agent immediately after being outrighted, the player's contract is terminated and the player receives no termination pay. (Because unsigned players do not receive termination pay, players eligible to be minor league free-agents under Article XX-D who are outrighted during the off-season before being tendered a contract for the following season almost always opt for free-agency immediately). But if the outrighted player accepts the Outright Assignment, the player's existing contract remains in force, and the player can elect free-agency beginning on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season up through October 15th. (A player who had the option to elect free-agency upon being outrighted only because he had been eligible for Salary Arbitration as a "Super Two" after the previous season does NOT have the right to defer free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season). However, an outrighted player who deferred the right to be an Article XX-D minor league free-agent until the conclusion of the MLB regular season is NOT eligible to be a free-agent if the player is added back to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season.

MLB RULE 55: Sometimes called a "Six-Year Minor League Free-Agent," an unsigned minor league player is automatically declared a free-agent per MLB Rule 55 if the player has spent all or any part of at least seven separate seasons on a minor league club's Active List and/or Disabled List (including all or parts of any season spent on Optional Assignment to the minors), and/or if the player has been previously released or non-tendered in his career and his present contract (known as a "second contract" even if it's his third or fourth minor league contract) has expired. Note that a player who ordinarily would have been declared a Rule 55 minor league free-agent is NOT eligible to be a free-agent if the player is either added to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) or agrees to a minor league successor contract with his previous club by 5:00 PM (Eastern) on October 15th or by 5:00 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series (whichever is later). The deadline for an MLB club to tender a contract to an unsigned minor league player who had previously agreed to a successor contract is January 15th. If an unsigned minor league player is not tendered a contract by January 15th, the player becomes an unrestricted free-agent.

A minor league free-agent can sign a contract with any major league or minor league club (including the player's former club) without any restrictions. A club receives no compensation for losing an MLB Rule 55 or Article XX-D minor league free-agent.

J. C. Boscan, C (filed)
Michael Bowden, RHP (filed)
Darnell McDonald, OF (filed)
Henry Rodriguez, RHP (did not file)
Eduardo Sanchez, RHP (filed)

Four of the five players who were eligible to file for free-agency per Article XX-D did so, but nothing would prevent the Cubs from re-signing any or all of them to 2014 minor league contracts (if the player agrees).    


Jeffry Antigua, LHP
Kyler Burke, LHP
Alex Burnett, RHP
Yeiper Castillo, RHP
Jaye Chapman, RHP
Johermyn Chavez, RHP (ex-OF)
Rafael Dolis, RHP
Eduardo Figueroa, RHP
Cole Gillespie, OF
Marcos Mateo, RHP
Edwin Maysonet, INF
Thomas Neal, OF
Brad Nelson, 1B
Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP
Henry Rodriguez, RHP (was Article XX-D FA eligible - did not file)
Nate Samson, IF-OF
Tim Torres, IF-OF
Casey Weathers, RHP
Ty Wright, OF

Because he had accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time when he was outrighted to the minors on July 19th and did not elect to be a free-agent at that time, and then was not added back to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season, Henry Rodriguez was eligible under Article XX-D of the CBA to file for free-agency starting on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season up through October 15th. He chose not to do so. However, he is also eligible to be a Rule 55 Six-Year Minor League Free-Agent (6YFA) post-2013, and Rule 55 does not require the player to file. Unsigned minor league players eligible to be a Rule 55 6YFA are automatically declared a free-agent at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series (meaning 5 PM Eastern next Monday), so Rodriguez will automatically be declared a free-agent at that time unless he is added back to the Cubs 40-man roster (not going to happen) or unless he and the Cubs agree to a minor successor contract for 2014 (very possible, given his choice not to file for free-agency per Arcticle XX-D when he had the chance).

So far, four players who were eligible to be a Rule 55 6YFA post-2013 have signed minor league successor contracts with the Cubs for 2014:

Edgar Gonzalez, INF
Marcus Hatley, RHP
Jonathon Mota, INF     
Ryan Searle, RHP

Although these four players will not be a 6YFA next Monday, they will be eligible for selection in the December 2013 Rule 5 Draft. As a matter of fact, the player the Cubs selected in the Rule 5 Draft last December (RHP Hector Rondon) was a Rule 55 6YFA post-2012, but he and his club (the Cleveland Indians) agreed to a minor league successor contract. So while the Cubs never had a chance to sign him as a minor league FA (which would probably have been their preference), they were able to acquire him by selecting him in the Rule 5 Draft.

To entice a 6YFA to sign a minor league successor contract, a club will usually offer no less than "40-man roster split contract money" (at least $40,000 for players who have not been on a 40-man roster before, or at least $80,000 for players who have previously been on an MLB 40-man roster). In other words, the player's salary is what he would have been paid (or maybe even a bit more) if he had been added to the MLB 40-man roster, he just isn't on the 40. Depending on the pending minor league free-agent's leverage (estimated value on the open market), an NRI to Spring Training and/or a player "opt-out" right if he doesn't make the club's MLB 25-man Opening Day roster (or AAA roster in some cases) might be part of the offer, too.   

If a player and a club cannot agree to a minor league successor contract for the following season, the only other way the club can be sure to keep the player from becoming a minor league free-agent is by adding him to their MLB 40-man roster prior to the deadline (5 PM Eastern next Monday). The only player eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2013 who might be added to the Cubs 40-man roster prior to the deadline is LHP Kyler Burke, who was also eligible to be a 6YFA post-2012 before agreeing to a minor league successor contract just prior to last year's deadline. But Burke might not be as willing to re-sign a minor league deal this time around.

Michael de la Cruz, RHP (previously released by TEX)
Carlos Figueroa, INF (previously released by CHC)
Humberto Garcia, INF (previously released by CHW)
Nate Maldonado, C (previously released by CHC)
Yomar Pacheco, RHP (previously released by PIT)
Zach Putnam, RHP (previously non-tendered by CHC)
Brohiglyn Rivero, RHP (previously released by TB)
Orbandy Rodriguez, RHP (previously released by AZ)
Roberto Vahlis, C (previously released by TOR)

When a club signs a minor league free-agent who has not yet completed the "seven minor league seasons" needed to be automatically declared a 6YFA, the player (known as a "second-contract player" even if it's the player's second, third, fourth, fifth, et al contract) can be signed to a multi-year contract covering as many seasons as the player has left before becoming a 6YFA. But that's only if the player agrees. The player might only want to sign a one-year contract so that he can be a minor league FA again the next off-season and possibly score a contract with a higher salary. (Carlos Figueroa and Nate Maldonado are Cubs minor league coaches who signed 2013 player contracts, so they probably signed for only one-year and both probably will not sign a 2014 minor league successor contract at this time).

So it is possible that at least some of the nine Cubs minor league players eligible to be a Rule 55 "second-contract" minor league FA are already signed for 2014 (TBD). Note that of the nine potential Rule 55 second-contract free-agents, H. Garcia, B. Rivero, and R. Vahlis would NOT be eligible for selection in the December 2013 Rule 5 Draft if the player agrees to a 2014 minor league successor contract, but the other six (M. de la Cruz, C. Figueroa, Maldonado, Pacheco, Putnam, and O. Rodriguez) would be eligible for selection if the player signs a 2014 successor contract. 

In addition to the pending MLB and minor league free-agents, a couple of roster deadlines are now in play:


Besides players who are eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league free-agent, any player not eligible to be a Rule 55 6YFA or second-contract FA who was outrighted to the minors after signing a major league contract for the previous season cannot be added back to the club's MLB 40-man roster beginning at 5 PM (Eastern) next Monday up through the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft. These players are:

Julio Borbon, OF
Gerardo Concepcion, LHP
Trey McNutt, RHP
Starling Peralta, RHP 
Dave Sappelt, OF

It is VERY unlikely that any of the five players listed above will be added back to the Cubs 40-man roster by next Monday's deadline.

The four players on the Cubs MLB 60-day DL must be reinstated to the MLB 40-man roster no later than 5 PM (Eastern) next Monday, and a player cannot be placed onto a club's MLB 60-day DL until after ther start of Spring Training (and then only if the club's 40-man roster is full and the injured player is replaced on the 40-man roster by another player).

Kyuji Fujikawa, RHP
Mat Gamel, INF
Matt Guerrier, RHP (already reinstated from the 60-day DL and he remains off the Cubs MLB 40-man roster because he is an Article XX-B MLB FA)
Arodys Vizcaino, RHP  


Beginning at 5 PM (Eastern) next Monday, any player on an MLB 40-man roster not eligible to elect free-agency per Article XX-D who would have been eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league FA if he had been on a minor league roster at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day folllowing the conclusion of the World Series cannot be outrighted to the minors until he signs a major league contract for the following season. The player can be traded or released at any time or non-tendered on 12/2, but he cannot be outrighted to the minors after 5 PM next Monday until he signs a 2014 major league contract.

These players are:

Alberto Cabrera, RHP  
Welington Castillo C
Junior Lake, OF
Josh Vitters, INF

(BTW, that's how and why Cleveland released OF Thomas Neal last January instead of outrighting him... he was a Rule 55-eligible player, but he hadn't signed a 2013 major league contract yet).


An injured player (including a player rehabbing an injury) who accrued any MLB Service Time the previous season cannot be outrighted to the minors after 5 PM (Eastern) next Monday. However, an injured player who did not accrue any MLB Service Time the previous season and who does not qualify to be a minor league FA per Article XX-D or MLB Rule 55 (until he signs a major league contract for the folllowing season) can be outrighted to the minors anytime up until 15 days prior to the start of the 2014 season. (The injured player could also be optioned to the minors during Spring Training anytime up until 15 days prior to MLB Opening Day).  

So for example, Arodys Vizcaino (who spent the entire 2013 seaason on the Cubs MLB 60-day DL and thus accrued a full season of MLB Service Time) cannot be outrighted to the minors after 5 PM next Monday, but if Matt Szczur (who did not accrue any MLB Service Time in 2013) was to suffer a serious injury during the off-season or during Spring Training, the Cubs could outright him to the minors or option him to the minors (even though he was injured), as long as they do so at least 15 days prior to MLB Opening Day.    


A "Draft-Excluded Player" is any minor league player eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft whose contract is selected and who is added to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) between August 15th and the Rule 5 Draft.

While a "Draft-Excluded Player" can be non-tendered on 12/2 and released or traded at any time, he cannot be sent to the minors by Optional Assignment beginning with the conclusion of the MLB regular season up until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day, and a Draft-Excluded Player can be outrighted to the minors prior to the Rule 5 Draft only if Outright Assignment Waivers are requested no later than 2 PM (Eastern) on the 4th day following the conclusion of the World Series.

If Outright Assignment Waivers are not requested by 2 PM (Eastern) on the 4th day following the conclusion of the World Series, Outright Assignment Waivers cannot be requested until 25 days prior to MLB Opening Day, and the player cannot be sent outright to the minors any earlier than 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day.

At present the only player on the Cubs 40-man roster with "Draft-Excluded" status is LHP Zac Rosscup, who would have been eligible for selection in the December 2013 Rule 5 Draft if he had not been added to the Cubs 40-man roster on September 3rd. However, any minor league player eligible for selection in the next Rule 5 Draft who is added to the Cubs 40-man roster between now and the November 20th deadline will have"Draft-Excluded" status up until 20 days prior to 2014 MLB Opening Day. What that means is the Cubs cannot add a minor league player who is eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft to their 40-man roster between August 15th and the Rule 5 Draft and then outright him to the minors if they need a slot on the 40-man roster sometime later during the off-season. They could trade him or release him, or non-tender him on 12/2, but he cannot be sent to the minors (outrighted or optioned) until 20 days prior to 2014 MLB Opening Day. 


The Cubs have until November 20th to decide how many and which of their minor league players eligible for selection in the December 2013 Rule 5 Draft they wish to "protect" from selection.

The Cubs also must decide by 11/20 which of their Rule 5 eligibles to place on the AAA Iowa 38-man reserve list, making them eligible for selection in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft only. This is an important decision, because the Cubs (at present) have 50 players eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft (51 if Juan Carlos Paniagua is declared eligible by MLB), but there are only 38 roster slots available on the AAA roster. Most clubs leave three or four AAA roster slots open for free-agents who sign minor league contracts prior to the Rule 5 Draft (most free-agents who sign minor league contracts prior to the Rule 5 Draft want to be placed on the AAA reserve list so that they are eligible for selection in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft), so the Cubs will probably place about 17 or 18 of the Rule 5 eligibles on the AA (Tennessee) reserve list or on a Class "A" reserve list to leave more slots open on the Iowa roster. 

This matters because if a club decides not to keep a player selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 draft on its MLB 25-man Active List (and/or MLB DL), the player must be placed on Outright Assignment Waivers, where any of the other 29 MLB clubs can claim the player for the $25,000 Rule 5 waiver price and assume the Rule 5 obligations. If the Rule 5 player is not claimed off Outright Waivers, the player then must be offered back to the minor league club from which he was drafted, and the player's former club can reclaim the player for $25,000, with the player being automatically outrighted to the Reserve List of the minor league club from which he was drafted.

There is no such "right of return" for players selected in the AAA and AA phases of the Rule 5 Draft, so if a player is selected in the AAA or AA Phase, he is gone.   

Which players the Cubs might decide to add to their MLB 40-man roster is unknown at this time, although it is a virtual lock that one will be Arismendy Alcantara. So while there are presently 50 players eligible (51 if Juan Carlos Paniagua is declared eligible by MLB), the final number will be dependent on how many players are added to the MLB 40-man roster by the 11/20 deadline, and how many minor league free-agents are signed (or re-signed) prior to the Rule 5 Draft

(last updated 10-31-2013):

NOTE: Any player eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft who is added to the Cubs 40-man roster by 11/20 will be removed from the list, and any Cubs minor league player eligible to be Rule 55 6YFA or second-contract minor league free-agent who signs a minor league successor contract between now and the  Rule 5 Draft will be added to this list, as will any FA from another organization who signs a minor league contract with the Cubs prior to the Rule 5 Draft. 

Players who are most-likely (as things stand right now) to be placed on the AAA Iowa reserve list roster are in bold

(The players most-likely to get selected in the AAA or AA phases are Flores, Giansanti, Lorick, Morris, Noble, Paulino, Rohan, Soto, and Zapata).

Arismendy Alcantara, INF (will very likely be added to the MLB 40-man roster by 11/20)
Gioskar Amaya, INF
Frank Batista, RHP
Dallas Beeler, RHP
Julio Borbon, OF
Justin Bour, 1B
Marcelo Carreno, RHP
Lendy Castillo, RHP
Javier Castro, RHP (release candidate)
Zach Cates, RHP
Hunter Cervenka, LHP
Pin-Chieh Chen, OF
Casey Coleman, RHP
Gerardo Concepcion, LHP (Cubs would probably be thrilled if another organzation would assume what's left of Concepcion's contract)
Willson Contreras, C
Wes Darvill, INF
Antonio Encarnacion, RHP (release candidate)
Luis Flores, C 
Anthony Giansanti, OF
Edgar Gonzalez, INF (was a post-2013 6YFA - re-signed for 2014)
Enyel Gonzalez, RHP (release candidate)
Carlos Gutierrez, RHP
Jae-Hoon Ha, OF
Marcus Hatley, RHP (was a post-2013 6YFA - re-signed for 2014)
Marco Hernandez, INF
Eric Jokisch, LHP
Austin Kirk, LHP
Matt Loosen, RHP
Jeff Lorick, LHP 
Eric Martinez, RHP (release candidate)
Trey McNutt, RHP
A. J. Morris, RHP
Jonathon Mota, INF (was a post-2013 6YFA - re-signed for 2014)
Chad Noble, C
Alan Oaks, RHP (acquired from independent club and signed for 2014) 
Juan Carlos Paniagua, RHP (see NOTE)
Loiger Padron, RHP 
Amaury Paulino, RHP (TJS rehab)
Felix Pena, RHP
Starling Peralta, RHP
Greg Rohan, INF (back surgery last off-season - never came back 100%)
Jose Rosario, RHP
Victor Salazar, RHP (release candidate)
Dave Sappelt, OF
Brian Schlitter, RHP
Ryan Searle, RHP (was a post-2013 6YFA - re-signed for 2014)
Elliot Soto, INF (on RESTRICTED LIST - will be serving a 50-game suspension in 2014 after testing positive for Drug of Abuse)
Nick Struck, RHP
Yao-Lin Wang, RHP
Oliver Zapata, OF
NOTE: Juan Carlos Paniagua signed his first contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks as "Juan Callado" on 5-8-2009 and pitched for the DSL Diamondbacks in the Dominican Summer League in 2009-10, but the contract was "pending" for almost two years and was never officially approved by MLB. The contract was eventually rejected by MLB due to "fraudulent paperwork" and Paniagua (Callado) was suspended for one year and then was declared a free-agent. He signed with the New York Yankees in March 2011 but then was suspended again and that contract was rejected, too, because his birth certificate could not be verified. Paniagua was cleared by MLB in 2012 and he signed with the Cubs on 7-9-2012. Therefore, Paniagua could be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in December 2013, since 2009 was his "first season" on the field, and he was 18 on the June 5th immediately preceding the signing of his first contract, or he might not be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft for the first time until December 2015 if 2012 is considered Paniagua's "first season" for Rule 5 eligibility purposes (TBD). 



Phil, do you think anyone else gets outrighted prior to 11/20? Who do you feel most likely to get selected in Rule 5?

not phil...obviously... re: rule 5...assuming the cubs place a.alcantara on the 40-man... lendy castillo could be a could eric jokisch (though i doubt it given how many teams passed on vidal nuno last year, who i wish the cubs would have targeted). there may be an interest in the old guy, brian schlitter who closed for iowa last year and didn't get a call-up in september. there's a good shot of someone taking an interest in jae-hoon ha. all in all, there's no spectacular hitters and the hard throwing pitchers all have control issues or extreme inexperience. i wouldn't be too thrilled to see jae-hoon ha or eric jokisch go even if neither are high end guys. ha, in particular, can cover all 3 OF slots...jokisch is an interesting-but-boring lefty with good control/command, though he doesn't have much velocity. i wouldn't be too shocked to jae-hoon ha added to the 40-man, myself. he's probably penciled in to play CF and occasionally LF for AAA next year.

Yeah, I was thinking Schlitter for thought on Ha would be keeping him on a 25-man all season.

Ha on the 25? I was thinking the 40-man for Ha, but he has 250 PAs in Iowa and it isn't pretty. I definitely prefer to see him playing everyday in Iowa rather than rotting on the bench and playing once a fortnight against a lefty in Chicago.

I meant that I couldn't see Ha sticking on another team's 25-man roster thru 8/31 without serious DL time. I would also have to think BJax, Vitters, & Szczur are all trade bait or throw-ins on any number of off-season deals.

Once we get to next Monday, the Cubs 40-man roster will stand at 37 (after Fujikawa, Gamel, Guerrier and Vizcaino are reinstated from the 60-day DL, and with Baker, Gregg, Guerrier, and Navarro becoming MLB Article XX-B FA).   

Kyler Burke could get added to the 40 if he declines another minor league successor contract (he signed one last year but never got past Daytona) and if the Cubs want to prevent him from leaving as a Rule 55 6YFA.

I would rate the likelihood of a Cubs Rule 5 Draft eligible player being added to the 40 this way:   

Arismendy Alcantara

Juan Carlos Paniagua (but only if he is ruled eligible for selection - TBD)

POSSIBLE (in this order):
Jae Hoon Ha
Matt Loosen (depending on how he pitches in the AFL)
Dallas Beeler (depending on how he pitches in the AFL) 
Marcus Hatley (depending on how he pitches in the Mexican Pacific League prior to 11/20)
Eric Jokisch
Dae-Eun Rhee

I personally think JH Ha is actually a better prospect than Matt Szczur, but that doesn't mean the Cubs do, or even if they do, it could be that they won't add Ha now, and they wouldn't have added Szczur to the 40 if he wasn't there already, either.

The "possible" pitchers are a tough call because all of them have some potentiall and one or more could get selected in the Rule 5 Draft if left unprotected, and while the Cubs would probably like to keep them all if possible, I wouldn't be surprised if they all are left available for selection (with Loosen being the one most likely to be added to the 40, but that's only if Burke and/or Paniagua are not, and even then maybe not).  

Remember, the Cubs lost RHP Starling Peralta in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft last year, and while he impressed the Diamondbacks in Spring Training, the Cubs did get him back. But more experienced pitchers like Loosen, Beeler, Hatley, Jokisch, et al (or like Hector Rondon this past season, for example) would be more-likely to be able to stick on an MLB 25-man roster for an entire season if selected in the Rule 5 Draft. 

Also, while I doubt the Cubs will outright anybody prior to 11/20, they could opt to non-tender Mat Gamel and/or Daniel Bard (both of whom will be arbitration-eligible) on 12/2 and try and re-sign them to non-guaranteed minor league deals with an NRI to Spring Training, to open up a couple of slots on the 40 for free-agents signed during the off-season. But the Cubs can't just non-tender a player and then automatically re-sign him to a minor league deal. The player has to be willing to accept it. However, I suspect the Cubs would sooner non-tender Bard and Gamel and have them walk away and not come back than have either of them tie-up a 40-man roster slot they might need for free-agents during December-January. 

And the Cubs will be able to place Kyuiji Fujikawa (2013 TJS rehab) back on the 60-day DL once Spring Training starts, in case they sign a FA late in the off-season and decide to delay filing the contract with the MLB office until after the start of Spring Training (clubs have 20 days to file a contract and add the player to their MLB 40-man roster if they sign a FA during the off-season).  


if the cubs need 40-man space, i don't see how shoving c.rusin, d.bard, and/or b.jackson off of it would be of much consequence... rusin is practically expendable, though b.jackson might be attractive to some teams because of the potential power and CF ability...still, if it came down between jackson and ha, i would rather protect ha. i don't know what the club sees in d.bard...i sure don't know enough to know if they'd drop and expose him, though. that is a weird reclamation project to me.

Phil, Don't you think the Cubs will protect Amaya? Or is he still too raw to stick on a roster got a full year?

ANDREW: If a team like the Houston Astros or the Miami Marlins really liked a young position player a lot they might be willing to select the player in the Rule 5 Draft and then carry him for a season as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement, but I don't think Gioskar Amaya is in that class of player. (Pitching prospects are a bit different, because a young pitcher can develop very quickly, and can more-easily be carried for a full season as the 12th man on an MLB pitching staff).

While he has some upside & is a decent 2B prospect (note that while there was talk after the season that the Cubs were thinking of trying him at catcher, Amaya worked-out and played ONLY 2B at Instructs), I would say Amaya is (at best) a borderline Top 20 organization prospect at this point, and so I don't think the Cubs will roster him this time around. But he is definitely a player to watch in 2014.

Remember, Amaya is only 20 and he hasn't even made it to Hi-A yet (although he will almost certainly be the starting 2B at Daytona in 2014 and hit 1-2 with Albert Almora in the D-Cubs lineup), and also keep in mind that if he is added to the 40 too soon he could very well run out of minor league options before he's ready to stick in the big leagues. The Cubs are already  facing that issue with Jorge Soler. (Even with the 4th minor league option he will get in 2015, Soler will be out of minor league options as of Spring Training 2016). BTW, that's what happened with Wily Mo Pena. He was signed to a major league contract as a teenager, and then he ran out of minor league options before he was actually ready for the big leagues.   

bryant 1-4, 1bb, 2k soler 1-3, 1bb almora 0-4

Kris Bryant's single was a swinging bunt that landed about five feet in front of home plate, and the catcher was unable to throw out Bryant at 1st.

Jorge Soler's single was a grounder that went under the third-baseman's glove. It was initially scored an error, then it was changed to a hit.


The Cubs Way

On "Swinging Bunts" So, I have heard this term for 40 years - "Swinging Bunt". To me, this implies something intentional. I have never witnessed this coached in H.S. ball, and I never have seen this practiced during IF or BP at Wrigley before a game. Is this something actually taught in the Minors - or does this actually mean "a muffed contact that luckily is well placed"? I think of it like maybe taking a fat divot in golf - where the shot ends up luckily well-played (think the sand shot that you would have hit over the green on to the next tee if you had picked it clean, but instead makes it 10 feet from the hole luckily). When I hear this Swinging Bunt an announcer states this as if it was a "Heads' up play", or "nice work", even, where I am thinking, "Geez - the guy was lucky to make contact there..."

I've always understood it to be more like "a muffed contact that luckily is well placed" -- i.e., he took a full swing but it (the ball) acted like it was a bunt. This would be a much more difficult skill than an actual bunt, which seems to be too much of a challenge for most major league players. If anybody can do this on purpose, more power to them. I don't think it could be a teachable (or repeatable) skill -- at least not against a major league 90+ mph fastball.

I think an "intentional swinging bunt" would be almost impossible. If you have that much bat control and hand/eye coordination, then just hit a line drive into the gap instead!

BTW, there are a bunch of baseball terms I've heard over the years that imply something different than the way they are used by baseball people. Other examples would be when they talk about a pitcher's command and control or when a pitcher has a "tailing fastball". To me, a "tailing fastball" implies that it moves farther away from the batter as it comes in towards the plate -- but most of the places I have heard that term being used, it describes a pitch that comes in on the batter's hands. That seems counter-intuitive to me, but there you have it. On "control" and "command", I would think "control" meant "putting the ball where you want it" and "command" meant "getting the ball to do what you want it to do" but that's not how baseball people use it. For them, "control" means "can you throw it for a strike" and "command" means "can you throw it to a certain spot within (or outside of) the strike zone?" I would bet that precision in language is not a big thing in the baseball industry. Once an incorrect usage takes hold, good luck in getting the usage to change by arguing that it the now-accepted usage doesn't make sense. I'm guessing a large number of baseball people also say "I could care less".

Control is being able to throw strikes. Command is being able to place pitches in different parts of the strike zone, i.e., commanding the strike zone.

Almora now one for his last 16. Next!

muffed contact

Once your married you rarely get this.

You bad boy!

In my experience, the contact gets more muffed when you get married.


Lou Brock Part Deux Cards interested in Castro?

stocked system at the upper levels...

Shelby Miller is trade bait they'll most likely be dangling which is a good get in and of itself...

I would imagine another pitching prospect (Tyrelle Jenkins?) and maybe Kolten Wong? I could see Kozma or Descalso coming over just as a temp fix until Baez is ready to be called up. Darwin Barney seems destined to end up in a Cardinals uniform at some point in his career, might as well do it now.

Carlos Martinez initially signed with the Red Sox btw in 2009, mix-up in his last name and Red Sox voided contract, but presume they may still like the talent. Still could be a very effective starter or dominate reliever in his future.


2014 will be 50 years since the Brock trade. I wonder if Theo or Jed know this part of Cub history. I don't think Castro is going anywhere . . . except, maybe 2nd base after Baez gets called up.

Cub prospect Soto too juicy or too smokey 50 game pinch

elliot soto...and nothing of value was lost.

"Astros claimed LHP Darin Downs off waivers from the Tigers." shoulder soreness to end the season or not, nice score for a freebie.

So - then (other than "muffed contact" which I enjoy with my wife) it is akin to a golf "shank" - but stays in-play and doesn't go out of bounds or in the water. Or a fucking lucky hit...

"Or a fucking lucky hit..." Which explains why the term "swinging bunt" has hung on for all of these years.

Dave McKay signs as 1st base coach for DBacks. Brad Ausmus seen at Theo's Starbucks...Bruce Levine says Ausmus was interviewed today.

"According to Peter Gammons, the Dodgers strategy this offseason is to acquire both David Price and Masahiro Tanaka." kershaw, grienke, price, ryu,

bryant + soler, day off almora 2-4, double, triple, 1bb darvill 0-3, 1bb

Bryant practicing "swinging bunts".

"The Nationals announced Friday that they will hire Mark Weidemaier to serve as an advance coach, focused solely on defensive alignments." wow...a team has invented a coaching position for defensive alignments. wtf?

sweet...AFL games for those of us in need of a televised baseball fix on MLB Network. plus, they're going to be trying out a new "instant replay" system... Nov. 5: Mesa at Salt River Nov. 6: Salt River at Scottsdale Nov. 7: Scottsdale at Salt River Nov. 8: Glendale at Scottsdale Nov. 9: Peoria at Salt River "All the games start at 7 p.m. Eastern time except for the Nov. 9 Military Appreciation Game, which will start one hour earlier." unfortunately, there's only 1 mesa game...hopefully bryant + soler will be in the lineup.

good info Crunch, thanks for that.

also, AFL all-star game tonight, 8pm Eastern. bryant + soler starting.

"Masahiro Tanaka suffered his first defeat of the 2013 season during Game 6 of the Japan Series on Friday, surrendering four runs on 12 hits over his nine innings of work." ...and it only took him 160 pitches to do it.

BA minor league transactions oct 24-30 "Chicago Cubs Released: RHP Juan Francisco, LHP David Villegas"

almora comes in bottom 6th to replace soler in the field...0-2 bryant 1-4, single, 1k...2 errors, 1 glove/1 arm (had a few good plays with both glove and arm aside from the errors) soler 1-1, single, bb...out of the game. b.nicholas, 25yo AA 1st baseman w/ TEX, pretty much sealed up his AFL AS-game MVP going 3-4 with 2HR in this game.

Bryant muscles a single to center in his 4th AB. edit: damn and now he has the only TWO errors in the game.

they both were ugly was a ball right under his glove, the other a low/wide throw to 1st...

I saw his first play he made, the ball he threw looked like it was shot out of a bazooka.

@Ken_Rosenthal Source: #Tigers to hire Ausmus as manager

no managerial experience...can't speak spanish...neat. that said, it's yet another team adding to the recent trend of not overpaying for a "name brand" manager. either we're seeing the new crop of future high paid managers coming into game all at once or the days are numbered for the $2-3m+ a year superman manager.

TheoEpstein to talk to Koyie Hill about Cubs managerial opening.

Koyie Hill --- at least Hector Villaneuva speaks Spanish

Theo Epstein in heated talks with Hector Villanueva

the twitter verse (post Ausmus to Detroit) seems to say the Cub manager job is Renteria vs Lovulio, assuming Lovullo gets interviewed soon. I think I'll be more interested in who the rest of who gets picked for the coaching staff. Any predictions based on who is buddies with Renteria or Lovullo that probably joins them (not counting Bosio) ?

Thought I saw some where that Lovullo gets interview tomorrow.

This all sounds eerily familiar. Didn't TheoCorp go through a similar painfully long process before they picked Sveum? And make them all go through 17 hours straight of interviewing and all kinds of other tests? Jeezus Christopher, folks, it's a fucking baseball team, not the next head of the NSA. Just pick somebody already.

fwiw, Renteria's been getting over surgery and i don't think he's even been on a plane since recovering...all the interviews have been by phone...and Lovullo's been busy with BOS. the fact they're probably going to spend less than $1m a year on whoever they pick is fine by me, though.

Jed and Theo's first interview with Renteria was in Southern CA, right after they spent a few day in AZ. They did this because Renteria had recent hip (replacement) surgery. So they did a face to face interview but traveled to meet him. The 2nd interview was supposedly by phone. The Tigers also interviewed Renteria in Southern CA, for the same reason.

sweet, thnx. overall, i don't even have a preference out of any of the supposed candidates, though i'm glad they passed on awesome-o solely because of the spanish thing. since he's a catcher i'm sure he speaks "baseball spanish" but i get the feeling castro needs a little supplemental supervision coming from a team authority figure.

as of now he probably won't slip to 4th (expected to go 2nd/3rd on a lot of recent lists), but it's still too early know where he'll go so here's a BA writeup on jeff hoffman from ECU scout day... historically, i haven't been a huge fan of his, but this article has helped me understand a bit more why he's coveted aside from his fastball and being a lefty.

CRUNCH: Jeff Hoffman is a RHP.

Rays pick up $6.5M option on DeJesus...bye, bye Kim.

You can watch her on the amazing race.....if that's your cup of tea(boobs).

Did they ever say what the Cubs got from the Nats for DeJesus? If not, when do they have to decide?

don't think anything has come of it yet...if anything but a salary dump was planning to be done. it was done for either a PTBNL or a "conditional deal" (whatever that entails) depending on source. either way, WAS got practically nothing from TB for him (m.spann...high 80s lefty fringe-starter/reliever with change+curve that he can't seem to get Ks with). also, TB is expected to work out some multi-year deal with dejesus. i can't believe they want to pay him $6.5m (well, technically, $5m since he had a $1.5m buyout). whatever...hell of a way to spend limited resources, though.

CUBSTER: If a PTBNL is part of a deal, the player must be named within six months (February 19th in the case of DeJesus) and the PTBNL cannot have been on an MLB Active List (25-man roster) anytime between when the trade was made (August 19th) and when the PTBNL is named.

If the clubs cannot agree on a PTBNL within six-months (and a PTBNL is usually chosen from a pre-arranged list that was mutually-acceptable to both clubs), cash may be substituted (typically $50,000 if the player traded was on an MLB 40-man roster). Since $50,000 is the price for a Rule 5 Draft selection, and $50,000 would also cover the cost of two players claimed off waivers (with $10,000 left over), taking the money instead of the player could be the better option. 

Red Sox owners still being asshats...

won't let Lovullo interview with Cubs citing previous agreement when Theo left that Theo couldn't poach anymore personnel...even though Lovullo wasn't there when Theo was there, he came on with Farrell.

player trade for manager imminent.

Maybe that's why Theo wanted to talk to Koyie Hill.

s.drew got a qualifying offer today. he's worth 14.1m? even if "just" for a single season? great D and a passable bat, but wow. he's never made more than 9.5m (2013).

Surprising. But probably indicates what the Red Sox think of Middlebrooks as I imagine Bogarts has one of the spots on the left side of their infield sewn up.

-deleted- forgot the AFL games start tomorrow night, not tonight. sigh. soler/bryant in the lineup tonight batting 3rd/4th.

Why watch an AFL game when you can watch the slaughter rule get invoked for the first time in NFL history? God it's gonna be an ugly night. The middling teams are going up and down at will on the Bears. Can't imagine what will happen with Rogers and Co. EDIT: I love being wrong. I need to make more predictions like this.

Rules to live by:

1. hurt the opposing team's franchise QB on the first drive

2. Let the wookie win

....better to be lucky than good

Jorge Soler rifled a two-out two-run double down the LF line to drive-in the tying & go-ahead runs and give Mesa a 5-4 lead, as the  Solar Sox rallied for three runs in the 5th and then hung-on to edge the Salt River Rafters in a game that was called because of heavy rain & lightning with one out in the bottom of the 8th. (The game had been halted by rain earlier for 25 minutes in the middle of the 6th).

Kris Bryant went 0-2, drawing a walk on a 3-1 pitch his first time up, grounding out 4-3 in his second AB, and then striking out swinging with two outs and runners at 2nd & 3rd to end the 5th. He was striding up to the plate with one out and a runner at 2nd in the bottom of the 8th when the rain suddenly returned and washed the game away. 

RHP Matt Loosen worked one inning for the Solar Sox before the first rain delay, allowing a run on two hits and two walks with a strikeout. He loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the 5th, walking the first two men he faced on nine pitches and then surrendering a line-drive single (outstanding throw home by Jorge Soler kept a run from scoring). Loosen then induced an infield pop up for the first out of the inning, before giving up a line-drive bases-loaded RBI single to right (another laser throw home by Soler to keep the bases loaded). Loosen then got out of the inning on a strikeout (strike three called) and another lazy pop up.

With the victory the Solar Sox now take a 2-1/2 game lead (three game lead in the loss column) over the Rafters in the AFL East with nine games left to play.

The two teams play each other again Tuesday night at Salt River Fields (the last game between the two rivals), and the game will be televised on the MLB network.

The Soler Sox!

the ninja-to-ARZ trade rumor machine is a bit concerning... i'm assuming ARZ isn't stupid enough to include a.bradley, but unless it involves t.skaggs as a starting point...or c.owings (SS that can play 2nd) and d.holmberg as a starting point then meh... j.barrett is interesting, but he's a pen guy...not much on the high interest tier for me besides these guys and their 2013 1st round pick b.shipley.

Unfortunately, Shamadizia seems like he has Cubbery written all over him. Toiling away for several years, the Cubs committing way too much money for a rookie, etc., showing flashes of brilliance wedged between rounds of poor pitching performances, just enough flash to make you think he could be something. Then, the Cubs trade him, don't get much, and he spends the next 3 or 4 years lighting up the league. Hopefully this prediction will go the way of my prediction RE: The Bears slaughter that never happened thanks to a real football coach managing the offense, but we'll see.

You made your prediction in the first six minutes of the game? And - you have not mentioned the sighting of the rare "Shea Mc Clellin" sack (3). It appears as if is not held or tangled-up by O-Line players, he has the speed to put a literal hurt on a QB.

or "blocked" even.

No, I made the prediction a couple hours before the game. I really almost decided not to watch, but I decided to try anyway, much against my better judgement, which obviously doesn't count for much. Mc Clellin did look good - I did a little comment on Cubbyblue's post.

I would think the D'backs see the Samardzija situation as the Cubs not being able to sign him long-term because they won't give him the NTC he supposedly wants, so knowing that he probably won't sign a long-term deal with the Diamondbacks, either, Arizona would probably offer something like Randall Delgado and either Tyler Skaggs or David Holmberg (but not both, and certainly not Archie Bradley), and the Cubs might even have to include a young pitching prospect (somebody like Ben Wells or Paul Blackburn) as part of the deal to cover the likelihood that Samardzija will leave AZ via free-agency post-2015. 

And if the Cubs really think it's important to exchange their RH hitting catcher for a LH hitting one, the deal probably could be expanded to include Welington Castillo for Miguel Montero. (Montero is signed through 2017 and W. Castillo will be a FA post-2017, but while both are under club control for exactly the same number of years, Montero will be making a LOT more money over those four seasons... but since the Diamondbacks are operating with a limited payroll and would be taking on a substantial salary for at least two years if they acquire Samardzija, exchanging the high-priced Montero for a younger and cheaper catcher like Castillo would probably be an appealing proposition for AZ GM Kevin Towers). 

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  • Hagsag 6 hours 23 min ago (view)

    Is AZ Phil okay?


  • crunch 8 hours 41 min ago (view)

    gene clines has died.

    he was with the organization on/off for a notable amount of time as both a player and coach.


  • crunch 2 days 5 hours ago (view)

    sammy sosa off the HOF ballot after 10 years.  he finishes up with a 18.5% vote, highest in any year.


  • crunch 2 days 7 hours ago (view)

    cubs sign 31 year old eric yardley to a minor league deal.

    he's a 31 year old righty that throws sub-90mph junk.


  • Sonicwind75 2 days 9 hours ago (view)

    Thank you for sharing Mike.  Sounds like the former owner was a high character human being and should be celebrated.  Haven't had a chance to attend a game there since I moved away from Des Moines in 2007 but recall it being a great ballpark experience.  Has there been any word of the new owners making any major changes?


  • crunch 5 days 2 hours ago (view)

    a 22 month old.

    a'ite.  i'm done with Earth.  going to Pluto.  don't bother visiting or calling.  later.


  • JoePepitone 5 days 4 hours ago (view)

    Ex-Cub Sergio Mitre convicted of rape and murder of a young child, per a news story from SI --


  • Cubster 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    Jason Schmidt signs with Dodgers, 3/44.


  • crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    20 year, 800m contract incoming...front loaded 150m over the first 2 years with a player opt out after that...


  • videographer 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    Darth Vader to rescue Carlos Correa's bruised ego. 


  • crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    carlos correa has hired scott boras...


  • bradsbeard 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    The IFA market isn't exactly an equal access thing. Not only do the Cubs have a slightly smaller bonus pool than some teams, players are often linked to teams through their trainers well before they are able to sign. It's not like when these kids are 14 that the teams know for sure that they have a top of the class player on their hands two years in the future.


  • Wrigley Rat 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    Cubbies.4ever - I read that the Cubs strategy with international free agents has been to spend most of their bonus money on young, position players and then take chances on cheaper, older pitching prospects who have been late bloomers (taller, stronger, more command of pitches, etc.). They are also grabbing guys at the end of the international signing period and signing them to future service contracts. They have six pitchers that were signed last year to future service contracts, and only one position player.


  • cubbies.4ever 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    Cubs IFA Signings are heavy on SS (given SS usually can play many positions as the develop), but only 1 pitcher.  Given it's still early.  Also disappointing that their best signing is #18.  Gone are the days of Soler, Eloy, Torres, Marquez, Amaya etc.  I believe Christian Hernandez last year was highly rated though.


  • Wrigley Rat 1 week 3 days ago (view)

    One more international free agent signing announced today: Daniel Benschop, OF, Aruba


  • bradsbeard 1 week 3 days ago (view)

    I hope all is well with AZ Phil. Hasn't posted in a few weeks and typically would expect him to have a post up tracking IFA signings. Maybe he's waiting for something official from the Cubs (who don't seem to have announced any of the signings officially)?