Cubs 2017 Rule 5 Draft & Minor League Free-Agent Watch List (Updated 11/2)

LAST UPDATED 11-2-2017 

As things stand right now...

At present, eleven Cubs minor leaguers (ten 6YFA and one second-contract FA) are eligible to be MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agents at 5 PM Eastern on Monday November 6th (the 5th day following the final game of the 2017 World Series), and 72 Cubs minor leaguers (including nine players who are on the AAA Iowa Restricted List) are eligible for selection in the December 2017 Rule 5 Draft.
NOTE: Rule 5 Draft-eligible players on the Restricted List of a AAA affiliate do not count against the reserve list roster limit for that affiliate, and they are only eligible for selection in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft. 

So the Cubs have until Monday November 6th (five days after the final game of the World Series) to either sign a post-2017 minor league free-agent to a 2018 minor league successor contract or add the player to their MLB 40-man roster, otherwise the player will automatically be declared a free-agent.
NOTE: As of October 27th, INF Gioskar Amaya, RHRP Pedro Araujo, OF Jeffrey Baez, HRP Justin Hancock, C-1B Alberto Mineo, SS Carlos Penalver, RHP James Pugliese, C Ali Solis, and RHRP Daury Torrez have signed 2018 minor league successor contracts. (Prior to signing their successor contracts, these players were eligible to be minor league free-agents post-2017).    

Then the Cubs must decide by November 20th which 2017 Rule 5 Draft-eligible players (including any player who signed a 2018 minor league successor contract) to add their MLB 40-man roster (to keep the player from being eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft). 

The Cubs also must decide by November 20th whether to place a post-2017 Rule 5 Draft-eligible minor league player who is not added to the MLB 40-man roster on 11/20 on their AAA Iowa reserve list or on the reserve list of an affiliate of a lower classification. At most 38 of the 2017 Rule 5 Draft-eligible Cubs minor leaguers can be placed on the AAA Iowa Reserve List on 11/20. However, although the AAA Reserve List limit is 38, probably more like 32 or 33 of the Rule 5 Draft-eligible players will actually be placed on the AAA Iowa reserve list on 11/20, because slots need to be left open for players the Cubs might want to select in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, as well as for free-agents signed to minor league contracts or players outrighted to the minors prior to the Rule 5 Draft. (Any Rule 5 Draft-eligible player who signs a 2018 minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft will be eligible for selection). 
Any 2017 Rule 5 Draft-eligible Cubs minor leaguer who is not placed on the AAA Iowa Reserve List on 11/20 will be eligible for selection in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft.  

GROUP 1 (Eligible to be Minor League FA post-2017): 
1. , RHRP
2. , OF 
3. , CF 
4. , INF 
NOTE: Carasiti and maybe Andreoli are probably the only two in this group who have any chance to get added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster post-World Series (as happened with post-2016 World Series), but Andreoli is a long-shot. The Cubs are more likely to offer each of the players listed above a 2018 minor league successor contract, but the player doesn't have to sign it. Also, if a player in this category signs a 2018 minor league successor contract, he will become eligible for selection in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft. (That's how the Cubs were able to select RHRP from the Cleveland Indians in the 2012 Rule 5 Draft after Rondon had signed a 2013 minor league successor contract with the Tribe).    
5. , SS
6. , IF-OF
7. , RHSP 
8. , RHSP 
9. , 1B-3B
10. , INF  
NOTE: These six players were essentially AAA "insurance policies" carried by the Cubs in case of injury to MLB guys during the 2017 season... 
11. , OF 
NOTE: Kalish was signed to a 2017 minor league UPC while rehabbing from knee surgery at the Cubs UAPC in Mesa  

GROUP 2 (Eligible for selection in 2017 Rule 5 Draft):
1. , RHSP 
2. , RHSP
3. , INF (is playing for Mesa Solar Sox in AFL)
4. , RHRP (is playing for Mesa Solar Sox in AFL)
5. , IF-OF 
6. , RHSP
7. , LHSP 
8. , RHSP
9. , OF (is playing for Mesa Solar Sox in AFL)
10. , INF (is playing for Mesa Solar Sox in AFL)  
11., RHRP (signed 2018 minor league successor contract - is playing for Mesa Solar Sox in AFL)
12. , RHRP
13. , OF
14. , RHRP (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
15. , RHRP  (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
16. , RHSP
17. , RHRP
18. , RHRP
19. , RHRP (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
20. , RHRP (February 2017 TJS)
21. , RHRP (signed 2018 minor league contract after being released in September)
22. , RHSP (June 2017 right shoulder/torn rotator cuff)
23. , RHRP  
24. , RHRP
25. , LHP (second-contract player - signed 2018 minor league contract)
26. , 1B-OF
27. , OF-1B (ex-LHP)
28. , C-1B
29. , C (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
30. , INF  
31. , INF (February 2017 knee surgery - signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
32. , OF (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
33. , INF (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
34  , C 
35. , LHP 
36. , LHP 
37. , LHP 
38. , RHP 
NOTE: Any of the 30+ Rule 5 Draft-eligible players listed above would be good candidates to get selected in the AAA Phase of the 2017 Rule 5 Draft if not added to the MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) or placed on the AAA Iowa Reeerve List by 11/20. 

So far this season, the Cubs have added four players to the 40 who were eligible for selection in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft (RHP , RHRP , RHSP, and OF ), although Floro was subsequently claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers. NOTE: IF-OF was also added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster during the 2017 season, but he would not have been eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft until post-2018. 

In addition, C-1B , IF-OF , RHSP and LHRP (all four eligible to be minor league 6YFA post-2017) were added to the 40 during the course of the 2017 season, although Rosscup was subsequently traded to the Colorado Rockies in June, Frankoff was claimed off waivers by the Seatle Mariners in September, and Freeman was sent outright to AAA Iowa on November 3rd. 

The Cubs added RHRP (eligible to be a minor league FA post-2016) to the 40 after the 2016 World Series, and 2016 Rule 5 Draft-eligibles C-1B , OF , RHSP , and LHRP were added to the 40 on 11/18. (Leathersich was eligible to be a minor league FA post-2016, but he signed a 2017 minor league successor contract in September that kept him from being a free-agent after the World Series but made him eligible for selection in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft, and then the Cubs added Leathersich to the 40  on 11/18 so that he would not be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft).

Some of the Cubs minor leaguers who are Rule 5 Draft eligible (Alzolay, Araujo, Bote, Burks, Stinnett, and Vosler) are playing for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) post-2017. The Cubs will often assign a Rule 5 Draft-eligible player to the AFL to help the club decide which (if any) to add to the 40 on 11/20, as the AFL is often used as a "proving ground" for pitchers and position-players who are under consideration for promotion to an MLB 40-man roster. (Players who are eligible to be minor league free-agents after the World Series cannot be assigned to the AFL unless the player has either been added to an MLB 40-man roster or has signed a 2018 minor league successor contract).    

Carasiti could get added to the 40 if he declines to sign a 2018 minor league successor contract just to keep him from becoming a minor league free-agent, but Andreoli is a long-shot to get added to the 40 even if he declines to sign a minor league successor contract. But the bottom line is, if a player eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent (either 6YFA or second-contract FA) is not added to an MLB 40-man roster or does not sign a 2018 minor league successor contract by 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the 2017 World Series, the player will be declared a free-agent and the player's former club receives no compensation if the player signs elsewhere. So Carasiti and Andreoli (as well as the other players eligible to be a minor league FA post-2017) have leverage other Cubs minor leaguers do not have.  



The MLB Rule 5 Draft is presently the last order of business at the MLB WINTER MEETINGS in December, and it is a mechanism that allows MLB clubs to select (draft) players off minor league reserve lists.

There is a "Major League Phase" where an MLB club can select Rule 5 Draft-eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs (any minor league classification) for $100,000 ("Major League Phase" Rule 5 Draft price increased from $50,000 to $100,000 beginning with the December 2016 draft), and a "AAA Phase" where a club's AAA minor league affiliate can select Rule 5 Draft-eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs of a lower classification (below AAA) for $24,000 (Rule 5 "AAA Phase" draft price increased from $12,000 to $24,000 beginning with the December 2016 draft).
NOTE: Effective December 2016, the "AA Phase" (where a club's AA minor league affiliate could select Rule 5 Draft-eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs of a classification below AA for $4,000) has been eliminated.

There is no limit on the number of rounds in each phase (there could be one, there could be three, there could be five or more). As long as at least one club is still selecting players, the phase will continue, but as soon as all 30 teams have a full reserve list (so that clubs can no longer make selections) or have passed, the phase is over.

There is no limit on the number of Rule 5 Draft-eligible players any one organization can lose in a Rule 5 Draft.


1. A minor league player who was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract is eligible for selection starting with the 5th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season, and a minor league player who was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract becomes eligible for selection starting with the 4th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season.

2. If a player signs his first contract after the conclusion of the season of the MLB or minor league club to which he is first assigned (even if he signs prior to the Rule 5 Draft), the next season is considered to be the player's "first qualified season" for Rule 5 eligibility purposes. (Depending on the minor league, the conclusion of a minor league club's season could be as early as the first week of August, or as late as the second week of September).

3. A player eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent who signs a minor league successor contract prior to being declared a free-agent and a free-agent with prior MLB and/or minor league service who signs a minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft is eligible for selection if the player was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 5th Rule 5 Draft since he signed his first contract, or the player was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 4th Rule 5 Draft since he signed his first contract.

4. Any player on a minor league reserve list who has either been released or had his contract voided and then re-signs with the same MLB organization within one year is eligible for selection.

5. Any player on a minor league reserve list who has been outrighted to the minors previously in his career is eligible for selection.

6. A player on the Voluntary Retired List, Disqualified List, or Ineligible List is not eligible for selection.

7. An MLB club can designate any player on a minor league reserve list "eligible for selection" in the Rule 5 Draft even if the player would not normally be eligible, but once a player is designated "eligible for selection," he remains eligible for selection in all subsequent Rule 5 drafts. NOTE: A club might do this if the club is planning to release the player during the off-season. 

8. A minor league player-manager who would be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft if he was only a player can be selected, but if he is selected, the player-manager can reject the selection and retire. He has 30 days to decide. If he rejects the selection and opts to retire as a player, the player-manager is ineligible to be reinstated as a player for a minimum of one year.  


Players likely to be added to MLB 40-man roster by 11/20 are highlighted in bold, italics, and underlined

Players "on the bubble": to be added to MLB 40-man roster by 11/20 are in italics and underlined

Players likely to be placed on AAA Iowa Reseve List on 11/20 are underlined 

Tyler Alamo, C-1B
Adbert Alzolay, RHP
Gioskar Amaya, INF (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
Luis Aquino, RHP (previously released by CLE - second-contract player signed for 2018)
Pedro Araujo, RHP (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
Delbis Arcila, 1B (AAA Iowa Restricted List - last active in 2013)
Luis Ayala, OF
Jeffrey Baez, OF (signed 2018 minor league successoor contract)
Yasiel Balaguert, 1B-OF
Corey Black, RHP
David Bote, INF
Cael Brockmeyer, C-1B
Charcer Burks, OF
Stephen Bruno, INF
Roberto Caro, OF
Erick Castillo, C 
Trevor Clifton, RHP
Kevin Cornelius, INF
Oscar de la Cruz, RHP
Yan de la Cruz, RHP (previously released by HOU - second-contract player signed for 2018) 
Enrique de los Rios, RHP
Elvis Diaz, RHP (previously released by BAL - second-contract player signed for 2018)
Rafael Diplan, RHP (AAA Iowa Restricted List - last active in 2013)
Andrew Ely, INF
Luiz Escanio, RHP
Miguel Estevez (previously released by CIN - second-contract player signed for 2018)
Jean Garcia, RHP (previously released by SD - second-contract player signed for 2018) 
Robert Garcia, OF
David Garner, RHP
Izaac Garsez, OF (AAA Iowa Restricted List - last active in 2012)
Yapson Gomez, LHP
Michael Hamann, RHP (AAA Iowa Restricted List - last active in 2013)
Justin Hancock, RJHP (signed 2018 minor league successsor contract)
Zach Hedges, RHP
David Henrie, RHP (AAA Iowa Restricted List - last active in 2012)
Luis Hernandez, RHP
Jesse Hodges, INF
Erick Leal, RHP
Mark Malave, RHP (ex-C)
Brad Markey, RHP
Joe Martarano,1B
Ryan McNeil, RHP
Jordan Minch, LHP
Alberto Mineo, C-1B (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
Erling Moreno, RHP
James Norwood, RHP
Chris Nunn, LHP (previously released by SD - second-contract player signed for 2018)
Adonis Paula, INF
Amaury Paulino, RHP (AAA Iowa Restricted List - last active in 2012)
Jose Paulino, LHP 
Tyler Pearson, C
Henrry Pedra, C-IF
Carlos Penalver, INF (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
Stephen Perakslis, RHP
Jhonny Pereda, C
Chris Pieters, 1B-OF (ex-LHP)
James Pugliese, RHP (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
Bijan Rademacher, OF
Will Remillard, C
Manuel Rondon, LHP
Jose Rosario, RHP (signed 2018 minor league contract after being released)
Carson Sands, LHP
Brian Smith, LHP (AAA Iowa Restricted List - last active in 2013)
Ali Solis, C (signed 2018 minor league successor contract - Article XX-D player in 2018)
Jake Stinnett, RHP
Tommy Thorpe, LHP
Daury Torrez, RHP (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
Roberto Vahlis, C (AAA Iowa Restricted List - last active in  2015)
Dilson Vasquez, RHP (AAA Iowa Restricted List - last active in 2014)
Jason Vosler, INF
Ryan Williams, RHP
Chesny Young, INF

any player eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 Six-Year Minor League Free-Agent (6YFA) post-2017 who signs a 2018 minor league contract or a 2018 minor league successor contract prior to the December 2017 Rule 5 Draft will be eligible for selection, and any player eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 Second Contract Minor League Free-Agent who signs a minor league contract or a minor league successor contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft will be eligible for selection if the player was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 5th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season, and a minor league player who was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract becomes eligible for selection starting with the 4th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season. 


John Andreoli, OF
Scott Carroll, RHP (Article XX-D player in 2018)
Chris Dominguez, 1B (Article XX-D player in 2018)
Mike Freeman, INF (Article XX-D player in 2018)
Ryan Kalish, OF (Article XX-D player in 2018)
Trey Martin, OF
Ozzie Martinez, INF (Article XX-D player in 2018)
Williams Perez, RHP
Elliot Soto, INF
Jemile Weeks, INF (Article XX-D player in 2018)

Matt Carasiti, RHP (previously non-tendered by COL)



1. A minor league player eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft cannot be added to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), traded to another organization, or transferred from one minor league reserve list to another within the same organization, starting with the filing of MLB & minor league reserve lists on November 20th up through the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft.

2. A Rule 5 Draft-eligible player cannot be sent outright to the minors beginning at 5 PM (Eastern) on the third day prior to the Rule 5 Draft through the conclusion of the draft.

3. A club must have as many slots open on its MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) prior to the Rule 5 Draft as the number of players it selects in the Major League Phase, and an MLB club's AAA affiliate must have as many slots open on its reserve list prior to the Rule 5 Draft as the number of players the affiliate selects in the AAA Phase. 

4. A club can select a player off the reserve list of one of its own minor league affiliates, but if the player is selected in the Major League Phase, the club is bound by the same Rule 5 roster restrictions as if it had selected the player off the reserve list of another club's minor league affiliate. NOTE: This actually happened at least once a number of years ago, after a club inadvertently left one of its top prospects off its MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) when it was submitted to the MLB Commissioner on November 20th.

5. A player eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft cannot be "covered up" from selection, either by agreement between two clubs or by effect (such as by concocting a phony injury and placing the player on the disabled list in an attempt to decrease a player's value when the player is not really injured). Also, a player selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft cannot be "hidden" on a disabled list to help the drafting club fulfill Rule 5 roster obligations (such as by leaving the player on the DL after he is healthy enough to play). If the MLB Commissioner believes a club "covered up" a player to avoid losing the player in the Rule Draft or "hid" a selected player on a Disabled List, the offending club or clubs are subject to a penalty (TBD by the MLB Commissioner).


Thanks Phil, this info is a keeper.

thanks to whomever added the BA top 10 to the Wiklifield database I updated the John Sickels Top 20 as well for 2017 Did Baseball Prospectus or Fangraphs put out theirs yet? Post a link and I'll update them as well.

ROB G: That was me. I also back-filled/completed the missing BA Cubs Top 10 rankings from the 1980's and 1990's a few months ago after I found my old BA collection in the back of a closet.

Both BP and FG are on the NL Central right now, so both should be out within the next week or so.

geo soto signed a minor league deal with the wsox.

Puff Cough Cough

Great work as always Phil. This info is a keeper.

The Cubs have released RHP Juan Carlos Paniagua (2012 IFA - Dominican Republic - $1.5M signing bonus).

Paniagua went by the name "Juan Callado" when he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks ($17,000 bonus) in 2008, and he spent two seasons with the DSL Diamondbacks playing on a "pending contract" (the contract could not be approved until Callado could provide the required identity documention). Then once it was determined by MLB that Paniagua (Callado) signed his contract using a false name and DOB, the contract was voided, the Diamondbacks released him, and MLB suspended him for one year.

He was signed by the Yankees in 2011 ($1.1M bonus) after his suspension was lifted, with Callado now calling himself "Juan Carlos Paniagua" and using a different DOB (04-04-1990) than the one he used when he signed with the D'backs, but that contract was voided by MLB because MLB said that the birth certificate provided by Paniagua was not a legal document.

Paniagua was cleared by MLB in 2012 and subsequently signed with the Cubs ($1.5M bonus), even though he was still unable to provide a legitimate birth certificate. Clubs were warned by MLB that Paniagua's identity and age could not be verified (and probably never will be verified), so any team wishing to sign him could do so, but "buyer-beware".

Paniagua(?) is now 27 years old (apparently) and was most-recently working as a SP/RP "swingman" at AAA Iowa, going back & forth and on & off the I-Cubs "phantom" DL as needed.

When he was younger he featured a 95-97 MPH fastball and a hard-breaking "swing & miss" slider, but the FB velo has dropped a couple of MPH is the past couple of years and the slider was replaced with a curve. He has had command problems throughout his career and that was ultimately his downfall, although his mysterious past, questionable identity, and uncomfirmed age hasn't helped his cause.

Can't say they didn't give him enough of a chance. And I hope he saved some of his bonus money.

Hi there...I really enjoy your reporting and also the way you explain answers to questions. I wish there were more reporters like you. I would like to ask what you think is the likelihood that Juan Carlos Paniagua gets picked up by another MLB team. Do you think he will get picked up? Or do you think he is better suited for Japan or an Independent League? I am just curious what you think. Thanks buddy!

A flurry of roster moves in Cubs minor leagues today. Besides RHSP Jose Albertos getting moved-up to Eugene from AZL Cubs, C Tyler Payne was moved up from Eugene to South Bend, RHSP Duncan Robinson was moved up from South Bend to Myrtle Beach, RHSP Adbert Alzolay was moved up from Myrtle Beach to Tennessee, and RHRP Justin Hancock was moved-up from Tennessee to Iowa. Also, Iowa RHRP Conor Mullee and RHRP Andury Acevedo were released, and C-1B Michael Cruz was moved-down from South Bend to Eugene. Expect more moves tomorrow to make room for the 2017 draft picks who have to be activated.

The Cubs have signed three second contract minor league free-agents.

RHP Anyel Beato (previously released by AZ), RHP Jean Garcia (previously released by SD), and INF Ignacio Otano (previously released by MIL) were assigned to Cubs affiliates in the DSL, although all three played in the AZL last season.
Because they are second-contract players, the three would be eligible to be a free-agent after the 2017 season. However, with mutual consent (player & club), a second-contract minor league player who has accrued fewer than seven minor league seasons (six contract renewals) can be signed to a multi-year minor league contract with club control extending up through the player's seventh minor league season. So it is possible that one or more of three are signed beyond the 2017 season (TBD).  

If signed beyond the 2017 season, Garcia would be eligible for selection in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft, but Beato and Otano are not yet eligible for selection (Otano will be eligible post-2018 and Beato will be eligible post-2019).  

Eugene INF Edgar Rondon has been released, and more moves will be needed to make room on the AZL Cubs and Eugene active lists for 2017 draft picks who need to be rostered within 15 days of the player's contract being filed with MLB.

AZL Cubs RHRPs Jed Carter and Jose Leidenz and LHRP Jose MacDonna have been released. More to come.

Eugene LHRP Andin Diaz and RHRP Holden Cammack have been released, making a total of six players released from Eugene or AZL Cubs over the past two or three days.  

The Quintana trade will probably indirectly save additional players from having to be released from AZL Cubs or Eugene to provide roster slots for the five remaining 2017 Draft picks (Lange, Velazquez, Estrada, Vasquez, and Miller) not yet assigned to short-season rosters.

PHIL: What is the liklihood the released players will be offered contracts by other teams? It seems like many were released by other clubs already. Will they go back to their original countries to play pro ball?

E-MAN: Some released players go back to their country of origin and play winter ball and hope to get the attention of an MLB organization or maybe a professional club in Mexico, Japan, South Korea, or Taiwan. (And pitchers have a better chance of resurrecting their careers than do position players). A few will stay in the U. S. and play independent ball. Others will get jobs with Sears or Home Depot or Subway or work on the grounds crew at the Cubs minor league facility in Mesa (and that's no joke).

PHIL: Thank you. I guess there is ALWAYS a pitching coach or front office type that believes they have the magic potion to "fix them".

Casey Kelly released. Magic potion didn't work.

...and nothing of value was lost.

I have no idea why management did not listen to me in March. I tried to save them money. They need to get a clue.

After blowing a six run lead in the eighth inning yesterday, the Iowa Cubs follow that up with 7-5 loss today. Recently demoted Eddie Butler got the start and did Eddie Butler type of things, e.g. allowed 10 hits (1 HR), 4 runs (all earned) and more walks (2) than strikeouts (1) but did manage to pitch into the six inning leaving with a two run lead. Recently promoted Dilon Maples channeled his inner Pierce Johnson in the 9th by allowing two hits (1 HR), two runs (both earned), one walk with two strikeouts and getting tagged with the loss in the process - hopefully bounces back strong soon.

AND BOTH the Brewers and Fards lost

Cards loss was awesome. McCarver nearly wet himself.

Tommy Birch (Des Moines Register Iowa Cubs beat reporter) reports RHRP Dillon Maples and IF-OF Mike Freeman are among the September 1st call-ups for the Cubs. 

AZ Phil, how many players are still in Mesa working out in case they are needed to be called up as per Tseng?

HAGSAG: Other than the Rehab Group, I don't think anybody else is down here right now. The minor league guys have a break until Instructs starts. 

Another question for Phil, does Matt Carasiti have options left? If so, do we know how many?

BRADSBEARD: If and when Matt Carasiti is added to the MLB 40-man roster, he will have three minor league options. 

Good to know! Wondering if the Johnson DFA makes him any more likely to be rostered in November.

BRADSBEARD: The thing about Matt Carasiti isn't a matter of the Cubs not wanting to take a chance that he might get selected in the Rule 5 Draft, it's that he will be declared an MLB Rule 55 minor league FA if he isn't added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster by 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series.

Carasiti was non-tendered by the Colorado Rockies last December 2nd, and then he signed a 2017 minor league contract (with an NRI to Spring Training) for "minor league split contract 40-man roster money" with the Rockies after the Rule 5 Draft, making him what's known as a "second-contract" minor league player, and second-contract minor league players are eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league free-agent after every season. (A second-contract minor league free-agent is different than a six-year minor league free-agent, but it's all covered under MLB Rule 55, and both types of minor league free-agency under Rule 55 have the same effect). 

It's likely that the Cubs will offer Carasiti a 2018 Minor League successor contract for "40-man roster money" and an NRI to Spring Training (and successor contracts can be offered beginning tomorrow) to see if he'll bite, but he doesn't have to sign, and even if he does sign a successor contract, he then becomes ekligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft, and he would be a good candidate to get plucked, too, because most every MLB club is looking for cheap relievers with some upside.  

So if they can't convince Carasiti to sign a 2018 minor league successor contract, I would think the Cubs will roster Carasiti a day or two after the conclusion of the World Series just to keep him from being a minor league FA (as they did with Jose Rosario last season to keep him from being a minor league FA). 

The only other minor league FA the Cubs might think twice about losing is OF John Andreoli. If he was just Rule 5 Draft eligible the Cubs would just take their chances, but Andreoli is the type of minor league FA who would probably NOT be intereseted in signing a minor league successor contract. Rather, he's probably actually looking forward to being a FA so that he can sign with another organization (of his choice) where he would get more of a chance to be an MLB 4th OF (and Andreoli - WILL - be an MLB 4th OF with somebody). But I don't think the Cubs will allocate a 40-man roster slot to Andreoli. They'll just let him walk and wish him well. But Carasiti is a different case, because he was a AAA closer, he has some big league time, and he has some upside.

As things stand right now, the Cubs MLB 40-man roster is full, but Jake Arrieta, Alex Avila, Wade Davis, Brian Duensing, Jon Jay, John Lackey, Rene Rivera, and Koji Uehara will be declared Article XX-B free-agents and will be automatically removed from the MLB 40-man roster at 9 AM on the day after the final game of the World Series - UNLESS - the player signs a contract extension in the meantime. So that gets the 40-man roster roster down to 32.

Mike Freeman will likely be dropped from the 40 a day or two after the World Series (he's just insurance while Russell is on the DL), so that gets the roster down to 31.

Matt Carasiti will probably be added to the 40 by the deadline to roster a minor league FA (5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series), so now the roster is back to 32.

The Cubs will have until 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the final game of the World Series to decide whether to extend a Qualifying Offer (a guaranteed one-year 2018 major league contract for $18M+) to any of their MLB Article XX-B free-agents. (John Lackey cannot be extended a Qualifying Offer because he has received one previously in his career, and under the terms of the new CBA, a player cannot receive a Qualifying Offer more than once). However, Jake Arrieta will certainly receive a QO, and it's possible (probably 50-50 at this point) that Wade Davis will receive one too. (The Cubs will have about $50M in 2018 payroll to spend on new players next season, and that's even after factoring in likely salary raises for the arbitration-eligible players). 

A player receiving a QO has ten days (formerly seven days) to decide whether to accept, and if the player does accept a QO, he must be added back to the MLB 40-man roster immediately. If the player declines the QO, the player's former club gets draft pick compensation in the next First-Year Player Draft if the player signs a major league contract with another MLB club prior to the draft. 

Arrieta has already scoffed at the idea of accepting a QO, but it's possible that Davis would accept a QO if offered. (Again, not for sure he would even be offered one, and even if he is offered a QO, this is the first time Davis has been a FA, and he and his agent might see this opportunity as possibly his one big chance to score a multi-year big bucks contract, probably a Mark Melancon-type deal).     

So let's say all eight MLB Article XX-B free-agents walk and nobody accepts a QO.

So eight slots open on the 40. 

The Cubs will have to decide by 11/20 how many and which Rule 5 Dtraft-eligible players to roster, while keeping at least one or two slots open for a waiver claim or a free-agent who might be signed between 11/20 and 12/2 (the contract tender date, when more 40-man roster slots will become available after players are non-tendered).

So let's say the Cubs decide to add six minor leaguers who are Rule 5 Draft-eligible to the 40 on 11/20 (leaving two slots open for possible free-agent signings or waiver claims between November 20th and December 2nd).

So who are the six?

Reasonable possibilities would include RHSPs Adbert Alzolay and Oscar de la Cruz (who at this point are virtual locks to get added to the 40), and probably four from amongst (listed alphabetically) OF-OF David Bote, OF Charcer Burks, RHSP Trevor Clifton, RHSP Erling Moreno, LHP Jose Paulino, OF Bijan Rademacher, RHRP Jake Stinnett, 3B-1B Jason Vosler, and IF-OF Chesny Young, 

Bote, Burks, Stinnett, and Vosler have been assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL to a large extent to help the Cubs determine which if any of the four will get rostered on 11/20. So the six who will get added to the 40 on 11/20 are very much still TBD. 

Then on 12/2, I would expect the Cubs to tender 2018 major league contracts to all players on the 40 except OF Leonys Martin and RHRP Felix Pena, possibly LHP Rob Zastryzny and/or C-1B Taylor Davis, and maybe RHRP Justin Grimm, INF Tommy LaStella, RHRP Hector Rondon, and/or LHRP Justin Wilson.  

If non-tendered, Martin, Pena, Zastryzny, and/or T. Davis would almost certainly be offered a 2018 minor league contract (for "40-man roster money") and an NRI to Spring Training, The player does not have to sign, but if he does the contract would be signed AFTER the Rule 5 Draft.  

The thing to remember about Martin (in particular) is that because he is making $4.85M in 2017, he cannot be tendered a 2018 major league contract for less than $3.88M (and that's with a maximum 20% cut), and there is no way the Cubs will want to pay Martin $3.88M for what his role on the team would be in 2018 (presuming the Cubs feel he even has a role). Plus, if he is tendered a 2018 major league contract, he could request salary arbitration if he is not happy with the salary offer, and there is no way to predict what an arbitration panel might do.

Same goes for the other seven Cubs who are eligible for salary arbitation post 2017: 3B Kris Bryant ("super two"), RHRP Justin Grimm, RHRP Kyle Hendricks, INF Tommy LaStella, SS Addison Russell ("super two"), RHRP Hector Rondon, and LHRP Justin Wilson. Obviously Bryant, Hendricks, and Russell will be tendered and the Cubs will bare whatever the cost in 2018 payroll, but Grimm, LaStella, Rondon, and/or Wilson could get non-tendered or possibly traded prior to the 12/2 tender date, depending on how much the Cubs think the player might command if he wins in an arbitration hearing - AND - how much the Cubs value the player in 2018. If any of this group is non-tendered, it is not likely that the player would re-sign with the Cubs for less money. He'll just walk, and the Cubs get no compensation if the player signs with another MLB club.    

For Pena, Zastryzny, and/or T. Davis, non-tendering the player on 12/2 and then re-signing him to a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training isn't about salary arbitration, because these players are not arbitration-eligible post-2017. Rather, it's about opening up additional slots on the MLB 40-man roster for free-agents and for waiver claims in December, January, February, and March.

Taylor Davis is an MLB Rule 6 Draft-Excluded Player because he was added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster after August 15th, so he cannot be sent outright to the minors beginning with the conclusion of the MLB Rule 5 Draft up until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day, and so if the Cubs think they might need his 40-man roster slot sometime during the off-season, the best way to get him off the 40 and still retain him for 2018 would be to non-tender him on 12/2 and then re-sign him to a 2018 minor league contract after the Rule 5 Draft. NOTE: Mike Freeman, Dillon Maples, and Jen-Ho Tseng are the other Draft-Excluded Players presently on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster, but Freeman will likely be long-gone by December 2nd, and the Cubs aren't about to drop Maples or Tseng from the 40 (Maples and Tseng are two of the Cubs top pitching prospects). 

December 2nd is the one time a club can remove a player from its MLB 40-man roster without exposing the player to waivers AND without taking the risk of losing the player in the Rule 5 Draft (presuming the non-tendered player waits until after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft to sign the minor league contract). But again, the player has to agree to this arrangement. There is nothing to compel a player to sign a minor league contract after being non-tendered, so the club and the player hopefully have a verbal agreement in place prior to the player being non-tendered. 

That's some great info AZ Phil... thanks for taking the time to make that post.

Seriously, this was outstanding, Phil. Always full of useful information. Thanks for writing it all up!

Az Phil, you continue to amaze.

Phil, have players reported for instructional league yet?

RHRP Justin Hancock has signed a 2018 minor league successor contract (probably got an NRI to Spring Training, too).

Hancock was acquired from the San Diego Padres for OF Matt Szczur in May and would have been a minor league 6YFA post-2017 if he had not signed the successor contract. 

One of the Tweets said he received a MLB S-T assignment. Consider the source, though.

TIM: It's common for a player with AAA experience (and sometimes even players with no more than AA experience) to get an NRI to Spring Training after signing a minor league successor contract. Hancock probably also got "first-year 40-man roster split contract" money (about $50,000.... up from his 2017 salary of about $18,000) as part of the deal 

BTW, Hancock is now eligible for selection in the December Rule 5 Draft. And this is actually how the Cubs ended up with Hector Rondon.

Rondon was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2012, but he signed a 2013 minor league successor contract with the Indians prior to hitting the open market, and then the Cubs took him in the December 2012 Rule 5 Draft. 

RHRP Jose Rosario (who was signed by the Cubs to a 2018 minor league contract after being released last month) probably got the same type of deal as Hancock (about $50,000 and an NRI to Spring Training)  Like Hancock, Rosario will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft, but the fact that nobody claimed him off Outright Release Waivers (for $1) last month would tend to indicate that he almost certainly won't get taken in the Rule 5 Draft (unless he lights it up the first month of Winter Ball).  

Having a mild sad. The Reds added the Greeneville Appalachian League affiliate. The strength of the Cubs seems to be getting players improved, regardless where they are in their development. Having another affiliate would have helped in that. That a division foe gets to upgrade talent, instead, in eastern TN makes it somewhat worse. Detroit is adding a second DSL squad. The Reds will be in both the Pioneer and Appalachian League. I'm a bit mystified why low-end affiliates aren't more thought of as "ways for pipeline players to get better" and "opportunities for coaches to develop their craft", as well. This is the first sign I've heard that Cincinnati doesn't want to be "fifth place forever". Perhaps the Cubs add a second squad in Mesa. About the same, but I' prefer a "road trip league" for players better than the talent level in the Arizona League.

"The strength of the Cubs seems to be getting players improved" My Theo Fan Club card hasn't arrived in the mail yet, so I can't possibly have signed it, so I can still say this: The strength of the Cubs seems to be in all those losses that yielded four top-ten draft picks in four years. I do think the team management is bold, decisive, sure-footed. For example, many teams (like the Bulls) can't ever reconcile themselves to losing a lot of games, and so never get the high picks.

One key difference -- Theo's picks can play. Cubs #1 draft picks in groups of five: 2011-2015: Happ, Schwarber, Bryant, Almora, Baez. 2006-2010: Hayden Simpson, Brett Jackson, Andrew Cashner, Josh Vitters (#3 overall), Tyler Colvin. 2000-2005: Mark Pawelek, Ryan Harvey (#6), Bobby Brownlie, Mark Prior(#2), Luis Montanez (#3). No pick in 2004. And, who can forget this impressive group of 4 consecutive top-10 picks: Derrick May (#9, 1986), Mike Harkey (#4, 1987), Ty Griffin (#9, 1988), and The Earl of Cunningham (#8, 1989). High draft picks don't guarantee MLB success. 100% contributing at the MLB since 2011 (I'm fudging at bit because Javy wasn't on Theo's watch.)

If you're talking about first-round picks then McLeod is your man. The problem is we don't get top-of-the-draft picks any more, and may not for a while. What major-league players has McLeod drafted in June beyond the first ten picks in the draft? There's Zack Godley, with 62 major-league games, whom they obviously should not have traded. Who else? Zagunis, 7 games. Pierce Johnson, 1 game. Who am I missing? I realize it's early days for McLeod's Cub draftees. Some will have to marinate for a while before they reach the majors. But when I go to Myrtle Beach games, which I can do locally around DC every year, I see guys who are smart and disciplined, who work the count, who try to adhere to the Cub way. What I don't see are major-league bodies. The guys with discipline and with ML bodies go very early in the draft. You can sometimes acquire the discipline, however slowly and painfully--think Castro or Baez--but never the physical prowess. I suppose the Cubs would say that only the top of the first round matters. The rest of the draft is so you have bodies to pack off to Myrtle Beach. Just for the record, though, and for perspective on the draft, here is a list of Cub draftees from 2001 through 2011. These players, the large majority of whom were not first rounders, have notched a total of 12,296 major-league regular season game appearances. Prior, Nolasco, Harris (Brendan), Mitre, Theriot, Hill (Rich), Fox, Marshall, McGehee, Fuld, Blevins, Colvin, Samardzija, Clevenger, Parker (Blake), Donaldson, Barney, Guyer, Russell (James), Cashner, Flaherty, Harrison, Campana, Coleman, Beliveau, LeMahieu, Rusin, Bour, Szczur, Zych, Baez, Vogelbach, Maples, Lopez In this group I see 9 all-star selections, an ROY, an MVP, 2 Silver Sluggers and 2 GGs.

Dissenting in part... I think for the purposes of this question we should also consider how draft picks turn into major league talent. In that case, here are an additional four: Cease (2014, R6) >>> part of Quintana trade James Farris (2014, R9) >>> Eddie Butler DeWees (2015, R2) >>> Alec Mills Blackburn (2012, R1S) >>> part of Montgomery trade (Sure the jury is still out on Mills & Butler). Clearly some notable whiffs on pitchers in the 2012 & 2013 drafts. Obviously, they don't expect every/many pick in that Round 3-10 range to develop, but it is totally disheartening to trade the lone one that does (Godley). I think that the coming year will be really telling in terms of final verdicts on '12 & '13 and a pretty good read on '14.

Re: Major-league bodies... For me, I think that this is a "Type I / Type II error" sort of thing. The front office makes their choice about what they are going to value and then deals with the imperfections of that choice. I'm tired of hearing about tools that don't play IRL, so I'm good with drafting the discipline over the specimen. But I think it's easy for it to become a greener-grass sort of thing when the system has lots of one but not of the other. Interesting debate to be had about best way to construct the farm system... hedge bets by drafting some specimen-types & some discipline types? A diversified portfolio is good. Or focus on one area (in this case discipline) & try to tailor coaching, etc. to best develop that area?

Clarification... when I wrote "Tired of hearing", I wasn't meaning you (VirginiaPhil) in particular. It's more of a case of Post Traumatic Corey Patterson Disorder.

How could you forget Rob Z?????


I do have to agree with Virgina Phil about the poor drafting. You can also make the case for the poor handling. Example Ian Happ- Didn't have to be on the roster until after 2018. They brought him up, given he did pretty good, but it created even more of a log jam at the middle infield and OF. They're going to need good young talent when the kids have to get paid, and overpaid (thanks Boras) and Zobrist is gone and they start the clock early on Happ. Another example is Pierce Johnson. Given he wasn't doing the strongest of job, but he had draft pedigree and options left. Instead they put him on waivers to see what Dillon Maples (5 Games)/Tseng (2 games)/Taylor Davis could do in September. They easily could have waited a month, then added those 3 after the season and given Pierce one more year before he ran out of options. Maples/Tseng are going to have to fight for a spot in Chicago in spring training, Davis might not even be back. They also seem to "kid glove" the pitchers too much. You can use the Fergie Jenkins/Bob Gibson view of never coming out of a game, but I wouldn't go to that extreme. Still look at the box scores of the minor league pitchers how often does a Cub minor leaguers makes it past 5ip. How are the kids suppose to learn how to pitch when you think you have nothing left and can they? I know "development," but you'd learn a lot quicker about players plus it is depressing to the kids to spend forever in the minors. Dillon Maples dad had to talk him into continuing to play. The Tommy John Surgery factor comes into play, but that is usually how the players are used in high school and travel teams and kids in the south. But that comes back to drafting/scouting I feel as they don't look north enough to find players. Out of the players they drafted last year (signed) the highest were Canada (1), Illinois (2), Michigan (1), Massachusetts (1), Pennslyvania (1). Everybody comes from the south where they play year around wearing out their arms at a young age and compiling numbers and are maybe more "advanced" because they get to play year around where the kids in Iowa turn to basketball in the winter and are essiently more like pro athletes as they get a break from playing. They may take longer to develope because they don't have the experience the south kids do. I know a lot of rambling on, but still they have got to do a better job drafting/handling the kids both business (Happ/Pierce) and developement. Period.

Where does the WAR come from, here though? I'm using Fangraph's numbers because they're easier for me to get to right now. 1st round: 31.5 Prior 16.3 Colvin 1.4 Cashner 9.2 Baez 4.6 Supplemental round: 36.8 Donaldson 36.8 Round 2: 9.7 (for these purposes it makes little sense to deduct negative WAR) Lemahieu 9.7 Vogelbach -0.6 Round 3: 7.2 Theriot 7.2 Fox -1.0 Round 4: 42.9, more than half of which belongs to Nolasco Nolasco 24.7 Rich Hill 5.2 Barney 6.9 Flaherty 1.6 Rusin 3.4 (but not making a career until he was nearly 30) Zych 1.1 Round 5: 6 if you don't count Samardzija, who was considered a round 2 talent, 24.7 if you count him Harris 0.5 Samardzija* 18.7 Guyer 5.5 Round 6: 21.1 Marshall 9.3 Szczur 0.5 Harrison 11.3 Round 7: 0 Clevenger -1.7 Round 10 and below: 21 McGehee 3.6 Fuld 5.0 Russell 0.2 Parker 2.2 (didn't post a positive MLB WAR until his age 28 season) Blevins 4.0 Campana 1.3 Coleman 0.5 Beliveau -0.2 Bour 4.1 Maples 0.1 Leaving aside Samardzija, whose signing circumstances are no longer possible under the current CBA, Nolasco is the big difference maker in the middle rounds. That and the failure of so many 1st rounders during the time covered in this list skew the results in favor of later rounds, beyond 1 and 2. I'd love for the Cubs to pick up a Nolasco in round 6 again soon. But I'd rather hit big on 1st and 2nd round picks every once in a while than have them produce the occasional starting pitcher or role player from the later rounds. [A better argument would limit this to value produced before free agency or Rule V eligibility, or it might set an age cutoff. That would cut deep into the numbers for Nolasco, Samardzija, and of course Donaldson.]

It is interesting how the Cubs seem completely inept at drafting pitchers, but have been able to pick up under-valued pitchers - most notably Arrieta, Hendricks and Strop -- who have been vital to their extremely successful 3-year run. You could probably throw in the 2015/6 version of Rondon as well. Maybe seeing pitchers throw against professional hitters, rather than college or high school hitters, gives them a better sense of their true potential? Dunno. But, given that they picked up the 2015 Cy Young winner and the 2016 NL ERA champ in trades where they basically gave up nothing of real value...maybe they should just draft hitters and trade for pitchers.

Inept seems a bit harsh. Paul Blackburn and Zack Godley have had degrees of success elsewhere. However, since Pierce Johnson is Patient Zero, it seems it would have been nice to have had an "acceptability over/under" for his career to judge him on. By some measure. (Maybe career MLB IP?) Other than, "Better than that." Really not trying to be a b***h or a wet blanket on ideas. Having a valid expectation level on drafted pitchers would be a useful starting point. But, nobody usually likes going further than TINSTAAPP.

Pierce Johnson - Additional Thoughts... I'm not somebody that deifies Theo-Jed-Jason as above reproach, so please don't read this comment through that lens. The loss of PJ definitely made me scratch my head, but I also think that TJJ have demonstrated enough competence to get some benefit of the doubt. It's not like there was a group concussion and they forgot that having an extra cost-controlled power-arm in the pen is a good thing. So there must have been other factors that worked into their calculus on the decision. Maybe they wanted to see Taylor Davis in the bigs b/c they are thinking about him as the 3rd/4th Catcher that can ride the Iowa shuttle for the next 3 years (stop the Rivera-Federowicz-Teagarden-Whiteside type carousel). Or maybe they felt like PJ was the 4th/5th/6th best "high ceiling, low floor" type arm on the 40-man, so they made a call in favor of roster balance. Or maybe it was a straight dice roll on him clearing waivers (a bummer when you lose, but I appreciate the need from time-to-time). Or it's a combination of all of those things (and more) that equates to an overall calculus where the decision makes sense, even though the cost/benefit for any one reason doesn't seem to square.

I agree the timing of the injuries, plus the ineffectiveness of Wilson wiped out the trio of Leathersich/Pena/Johnson. And it kinda sucked that all three were lost over it. B-bye bullpen-innings depth.

Yeah, it's interesting that they can spot talent like the names you mention--I would add Carl Edwards to your list. The Cubs probably find the draft very frustrating, because you can't go after particular players (who won't be available when your turn comes up), and you can't predict what other teams will do, except maybe at the top of the first round. After players are drafted and in minor league uniforms, you can try to pick them off individually at the winter meetings and at the trade deadline. So maybe I'm making too much of what you refer to as their ineptness. Maybe they are being careful not to fill their organization with million-dollar bodies and ten-cent heads (like Castro), even though Hendry and Wilken were able to find a few like that who succeeded in the big leagues. I just don't think the June draft is going to be much fun for Cub fans, post-Happ.

The June draft is always fun. The months and years following the draftees, on the other hand, not always as enjoyable.

Years ago I started calling the June draft an inexact science. At some point in the last year and a half, I heard Ron Coomer use the same term. I was amused. The Cubs are much better at locating David Bote/Taylor Davis/Jason Vosler/Vimael Machin types in the draft on the late second day and third day (Guys that will work their behinds off to become better/more professional hitters over a stretch of years) than find first and second day pitchers who will stay healthy and dot the eye with a 95 MPH slider that Ron Kulpa will call a strike out of he zone in the seventh or eighth inning. which is why they continue the "quantity over quality thing. Until they hit on both halves. It's easier to tell if a hitter will hit than a pitcher will be healthy/effective. That's life.

You might have noticed that a smattering of minor league players (including five Brewers minor leaguers) have elected free-agency this week.

These are Article XX-D minor leaguers, players who were sent outright to the minors during Spring Training or during the MLB regular season who had the right to elect free-agency if outrighted (player has accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time and/or has been outrighted previously in this career), but who accepted the outright assignment and deferred the right to elect free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season. (An Article XX-D player who is sent outright to the minors during Spring Training or during the MLB regular season will usually accept the outright assignmernt and defer free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season, because otherwise the player's contract is immediately terminated and he receives no termination pay). 

Article XX-D minor leaguers who defer free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season have unitl October 15th to file, so they don't have to wait until after the conclusion of the World Series to be declared an MLB Rule 55 second contract FA or 6YFA. (It is possible to be an Article XX-D player without being eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 FA post-World Series, but that is uncommon).  

The Cubs have no minor leaguers eligible to be an Article XX-D free-agent post-2017, but if they did, the player would have to decide if it would be better to not elect free-agency right away on the off chance that he might be an injury replacement in the post-season, or get about a month head-start on post-World Series Rule 55 minor league free-agency and file ASAP after the conclusion of the MLB regular season.

Brewers Article XX-D minor leaguers don't have to worry about that. 

Ha! Suck it, Brewers minor leaguers!

Happy to see my man Daury Torrez has signed a successor contract for 2018.

Looks like a plan Phil. Have you talked to Theo and Jed yet?

Cubs minor league 2B David Bote continues to mash for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League, with two more rocket hits on Wednesday.

The 24-year old had one of the best exit velocities among Cubs minor league hitters in 2017, as he settled into the everyday 2B job at AA Tennessee after being a utility IF-OF the first five years of his pro career (he is well below-average defensively at every position except 2B and 1B). He hit 272/353/438 in 127 Southern League games, with 14 HR (he had never hit more than seven in a season previously) and 30 doubles (the most two-baggers he has hit in a single season).

Bote is the early favorite to win AFL MVP, as he leads the AFL in Hits, AVG, and OBP, is 2nd in HR, SLG, and Runs, and is tied for 5th in RBI.  

Eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft in December (he was also eligible post-2015 and post-2016), Bote has almost certainly played himself onto the Cubs MLB 40-man roster with his performance in the AFL. He credits AA Tennessee hitting coach Jacob Cruz (new to the Cubs organization in 2017) with helping him to change his launch angle and get more loft when he hits the ball into the air. (Cruz is serving as hitting coach with the Solar Sox, and he could be a candidate to replace Eric Hinske as the Cubs MLB Assistant Hitting Coach). 

Bote reminds me of position players the Cardinals routinely develop seemingly out of nowhere on a regular basis.

His swing reminds me a little bit of Mark DeRosa's. Similar utility type player. That might not be a terrible player comp.

BRADSBEARD: Mark DeRosa is an OUTSTANDING comp for David Bote. Spot-on.

D-Ro! Loved that guy!

So, D-Bo then?

AZ PHIL: After looking at the Minor League rosters and the Rule 5 list, I have to ask "Where are Daniel Lewis and Jose Zapata?" I know that Zapata was mostly a coach last year and has probably been officially released as a player to be a full-time coach, but what about Lewis?

A-DIMM: Jose Zapata is now a full-time coach (or at least he was at AZ Instructs), and last I heard Daniel Lewis was involved or was possibly going to become involved in the Cubs Mental Skills Program (he was in USAF Special Forces when he was in the U. S. military, and he is very highly-regarded throughout the Cubs organization). I haven't seen any official voluntary retirement or outright release announcement or notice for either of them, but they are no longer signed to player contracts. Of course that could change.

Makes sense on both counts. Thank you!

And, Daniel Day Lewis did quite well in his stint.

AZ Phil, Any thing surprise you here: Chicago Cubs Chicago Cubs Signed: RHP Pedro Araujo (re-signed) | RHP Daury Torrez (re-signed) | C Alberto Mineo (re-signed) | C Ali Solis (re-signed) | SS Carlos Penalver (re-signed) | OF Jeffrey Baez (re-signed)

that solis signing doesn't bode well for t.davis unless they want to keep him around as a "super utility" guy...or he's ready to take on coaching.

CHILDERSb3: From that list, only Daury Torrez surprised me, because I know how much he hated being moved to the bullpen in 2016 and I had figured that he would bail as soon as he could  (as soon as he was eligible for minor league free-agency) . 

James Pugliese just re-upped a couple of days ago, and I had thought that he would want out ASAP also, since he is seemingly stuck in AA with the Cubs. 

I would think in order to get them to sign successor contracts that the Cubs hprobably offered Pugliese and Torrez a substantial raise (to first-year 40-man roster minor league split contract money -- around $50,000) and an NRI to Spring Training with the big club

Also, when a player who was eligible to be a minor league free-agent signs a successor contract, he gives up free-agency, but he does become eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft. (That's how trhe Cubs ended up with Hector Rondon). So there is always the possibility that Pugliese and/or Torrez could get plucked in the Rule 5 Draft.

If the Cubs decide to start putting up Academies in various other countries (Not rumored, except by me, and I have no information at all.) after Zell is entirely past-tense, Mineo would be a great option to have in a European Academy. Not that it will happen. Also, still trying to figure a way to figure out in which countries $10,000 USD is a life-changing amount of money. The D.R. and Venezuela, obviously. However, any other country where 10 K USD would encourage athletes to play baseball instead of being the second-best soccer player on a 15-and-under team is where an Academy makes sense. A bonus of 10 K or less doesn't count against the international spending limit. So, where a 10 K amount can bring in players by the dozens, create a facility, and get developing.

Maybe they see bullpen openings in Chicago. Torrez had a solid year and has a good arm. I liked him in Spring Training.

I've never seen him. Don't know a thing about him. But if he doesn't walk guys I like him.

Torrez does not walk guys.

Well then I like him. Unless he texts while driving. That's worse than walking people.

Torrez stats 2017: IP-77.2,ERA 1.40, K-56,BB-13,IBB-2, at Tenn.

joe ricketts is shuttering DNAinfo and Gothamist because they dared to attempt to unionize. they seem to have suddenly become expendable to billionaire ownership who doesn't rely on these outlets for their livelihood. the timing that it happened immediately after voting to unionize is surely coincidental and not the whim of a billionaire owner who doesn't desire the 100s of people they employ to carve a more livable piece of the money pie that sustains them. oh yeah, go cubbies. woo.

Any examples of 5 year old unprofitable businesses undergoing unionization? If there's a market it will get picked up. The immediacy and not having the archive immediately available were bad looks no doubt but the later was rectified.

he's not even attempting to sell the organizations. this is joe ricketts we're working with over here. it wouldn't be as much of flash point if it wasn't for his documented history on a variety of subjects that he, himself, inserts himself into. one can stand behind the "unprofitable" stance suddenly leading to a closure of those 2 after unionization (even though there's no realized loss in collectively bargaining, especially before it even begins). one can also point to other things, and many are. this dude barely owned the better performing Gothamist not even a year and he knew what he bought. him even purchasing the Gothamist was a really "side-eyed" viewed thing when it was happening. it's also worth mentioning that after his closure announcement he immediate had both site's history and access erased. they were re-established a day later thanks to massive outcry. archivists are aggressively backing up the sites currently (and the sister-DNA sites like SF/DC/etc). for full disclosure, a friend of mine worked full time for the Gothamist. ultimately, "both sides" can lay a claim to being "correct" about the whole closure. this grey area can make some lean one way or another, but a majority of this 2-sided conflict lives in the unwavering black and white (including me). this isn't necessarily a problem with discourse absent of some overwhelming or damning new evidence, but nonetheless it is a reality.

DNA and Chicagoist, Gothamist, etc. were terrific because they covered local, neighborhood stories. The writers got paid. Not like the “old days” of journalism, but paid. There is little coverage like this in the big cities. Less now. It is really something that a billionaire can snap his fingers and shut the whole thing down. Immediately. Some of the Chicagoist writers are gonna get absorbed into another local news feed, but that is all I heard. A friend of mine was the Chicgoist Editor two years ago. Fortunately for him he found another stable writing gig.

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  • crunch 44 min 39 sec ago (view)

    (c) hendricks gives up at least 60 homers in the regular season

    seriously, though...wisdom has "slowed down" the past 10 days or so, but he still managed a couple homers.  he's got a damn good shot at 20+ even if bote+duffy come back to steal a little time from him.


  • Charlie 1 hour 8 min ago (view)

    This Mets series is going poorly, so... off-topic question. Which of these outcomes do you currently think is more likely in 2021: (a) Javy hits at least 40 homeruns in the regular season, (b) Patrick Wisdom hits at least 20 homeruns in the regular season.


  • crunch 19 hours 58 min ago (view)

    wow...and he's done for the night.  that's not good...well, for mets fans.

    "right shoulder soreness"


  • crunch 20 hours 14 min ago (view)

    meanwhile...degrom with 8 Ks through 3 perfect innings.  he's also got a RBI single.


  • crunch 20 hours 53 min ago (view)

    and d.smith gets HBP.

    this is high end next level strategy.  you beat degrom by injuring everyone until they have to forfeit the game.  moneyballs.


  • crunch 20 hours 58 min ago (view)

    ow...villar got nailed in the ear and the back of the head by a throw from lobaton on a stolen base.


  • Arizona Phil 21 hours 18 min ago (view)

    CHARLIE: You are absolutely right.

    Granted there are existing rules prohibiting pitchers from using foreign substances, but you don't change enforcement protocols suddenly in the middle of the season. Pitchers should be given an opportunity to make adjustments during the course of Spring Training before any new enforcement policy is implememted.

    This can and should be addressed in the upcoming CBA negotiations. Not now. 


  • Charlie 22 hours 16 min ago (view)

    That was definitely my position prior to this year. But I am starting to buy into the claim that almost all pitchers are using something, even if it is rosin and sunscreen in many cases.


  • crunch 22 hours 57 min ago (view)

    brews did the cubs a solid by losing before the cubs have to take on degrom.


  • crunch 1 day 16 min ago (view)

    *laughs nervously looking over at craig kimbrel*


  • Jackstraw 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    Guys who haven't been cheating don't need to change a thing.


  • crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    dude can barely move behind the plate these days.  i wouldn't trust him to stop a passed ball or a wild pitch even with his advanced skill.

    that said, all the cubs in-house options kinda suck.

    hey d.ross, grab a glove and get to work.


  • Charlie 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    Tyler Glasnow sprained his UCL and is pretty openly objecting to the MLB pushback on use of "sticky stuff," saying he thinks not using his "substance of choice," rosin and sunscreen, lead to his injury and will lead others to injury. I will be interested to hear a more open discourse on what pitchers use to get a grip on the ball, what will be permitted, and what adjustments pitchers will make.


  • Hagsag 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    Time to sign Wilson Ramos.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    Beginning today (June 16th), post-2020 Article XX-B MLB free-agents who signed a 2021 MLB contract will no longer have an automatic "no trade" right, so Arrieta, Chafin, Marisnick, Pederson, and Romine can now be traded without restriction. 


  • KingKongvsGodzilla 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    Thanks, esp didn't know he was at instructs last year. I saw this clip in 2019:

    with ugly swings and some whiffs, plus yeah remember him being regarded some

    Anything new on velocity? Should be some more 90s by now