19 Cubs Minor Leaguers Declared MLB Rule 55 Free-Agents

NOVEMBER 10th UPDATE: BA transactions reports that the Cubs have re-signed RHP Starling Peralta to a 2016 minor league contract. So now the Cubs have re-signed eight of their 24 2015 Rule 55 6YFA (RHP Frank Batista, OF Pin-Chieh Chen, C Willson Contreras, INF Ryan Dent, RHSP Felix Pena, RHRP Starling Peralta, RHP Jose Rosario, and INF Logan Watkins). Unless added to an MLB 40-man roster by 11/20, each of the eight re-signed Rule 55 6YFA will be eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft.    

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NOVEMBER 9th UPDATE: Baseball America reports that the Cubs have signed minor league 6YFA RHP Felix Pena and OF Pin-Chieh Chen to 2016 minor league contracts, meaning they are no longer free-agents, but they will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft next month if not added to the MLB 40-man roster by 11/20. 

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Nineteen Cubs minor league players were declared MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agents at 5 PM (Eastern) this past Friday. 

Among the more notable Cubs 6YFA are 2015 Cubs minor league strikeout leader RHSP Felix Pena, 2015 PCL Pitcher of the Year RHSP Carlos Pimentel, RHRP Starling Peralta, RHP (ex-OF) Jae-Hoon Ha, OF Pin-Chieh Chen, and RHRP Blake Parker.  

Six other players (OF-1B Mike Baxter, OF Quintin Berry, INF Jonathan Herrera, LHRP James Russell, RHRP Brian Schlitter, and C Taylor Teagarden) had previously elected to be an Article XIX-A or Article XX-D minor league free-agent as the resuilt of being outrighted to the minors either during or after the conclusion of the MLB regular season, because the player either had accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time and/or had been outrighted to the minors previously in his career

Five Cubs minor leaguers who were eligible to be a Rule 55 6YFA (RHP Frank Batista, C Willson Contreras, INF Ryan Dent, RHP Jose Rosario, and INF Logan Watkins) signed minor league successor contracts prior to being declared free-agents. (Both Rosario and Watkins missed the entire 2015 season with injuries, Rosario undergoing TJS in April, and Watkins suffering a ruptured achilles tendon prior to the start of Spring Training, so they probably re-upped so as to maintain the continuity of their long-term rehab with Cubs trainers and staff at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa).  

So the five players who signed 2016 minor league successor contracts now become eligible for selection in the 2015 Rule 5 Draft, which will be held on December 10th. (A potential minor league free-agent who signed a 2016 minor league successor contract prior to 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series and a free-agent who signs a 2016 minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft are eligible for selection in the draft, unless the player is added to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the 11/20 deadline for filing MLB and minor league reserve lists). Contreras is the only one of the five who is likely to be added to the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) by the 11/20 deadline (Rosario and Watklins are rehabbing major injuries, and F. Batista and Dent are organizational guys), and in fact Contreras is a virtual lock to get added to the 40.   

FWIW, MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agents from other organizations who were originally signed and developed by the Cubs include LHRP Jeff Beliveau (TB), IF-OF Russ Canzler (PHI), OF Tyler Colvin (CHW), RHRP Alberto Cabrera (DET), RHRP Rafael Dolis (DET), C Chadd Krist (MIA), SS Hak-Ju Lee (TB), C Blake Lalli (AZ), RHRP Carlos Marmol (CLE), LHRP Clay Rapada (SF), INF Nate Samson (LAD), INF Marquez Smith (CIN), and 2B Tony Thomas (CHW). 

CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS DECLARED MLB RULE 55 FREE-AGENTS AT 5 PM (EASTERN) ON 11-6-2015:
Jeffry Antigua, LHP
Daniel Bard, RHP
Emilio Bonifacio, IF-OF
Drake Britton, LHP
Ryan Buchter, LHP
Luke Carlin, C
Adron Chambers, OF 
Pin-Chieh Chen, OF (re-signed by Cubs on 11/6)
Fernando Cruz, RHP 
Wes Darvill, INF
Jae-Hoon Ha, RHP (ex-OF)
Jonathon Mota, INF
Blake Parker, RHP
Felipe Paulino, RHP 
Felix Pena, RHP (re-signed by Cubs on 11/6) 
Starling Peralta, RHP (re-signed by Cubs on 11/6)
Carlos Pimentel, RHP
Andres Santiago, RHP
Chris Valaika, INF

POST-2015 ARTICLE XX-D MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT
Mike Baxter, OF (filed on 10/15)
Quintin Berry, OF (field on 10/28)
Brian Schlitter, RHP (filed on 10/15)
Taylor Teagarden, C (filed on 10/30)

POST-2015 ARTICLE XIX-A MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT
Jonathan Herrera, INF (filed on 10/29)
James Russell, LHP (filed on 10/5)

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So the following 54 57 Cubs minor league players are presently eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft, unless the player is added to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) by the November 20th deadline for filing MLB and minor league reserve lists with the MLB Commissioner. 

CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS ELIGIBLE FOR SELECTION IN DECEMBER 2015 RULE 5 DRAFT (updated 11-10-2015):
Gioskar Amaya, INF-C
John Andreoli, OF
Julian Aybar, RHP  
Pedro Araujo, RHP
Jeffrey Baez, OF
Frank Batista, RHP 
Corey Black, RHP
David Bote, INF
Matt Brazis, RHP
Stephen Bruno, INF 
Jeimer Candelario, INF
Ben Carhart, INF
Erick Castillo, C
Pin-Chieh Chen, OF (re-signed by Cubs 11/6)
Gerardo Concepcion, LHP 
Willson Contreras, C 
Josh Conway, RHP
Blake Cooper, RHP
Taylor Davis, C
Ryan Dent, INF 
Andin Diaz, LHP
Shawon Dunston Jr, OF
Kevin Encarnacion, OF
P. J. Francescon, RHP
Anthony Giansanti, OF
Michael Heesch, LHP
Michael Jensen, RHP
Pierce Johnson, RHP
Danny Lockhart, INF
Mark Malave, RHP (ex-C)
Dillon Maples, RHP
Ricardo Marcano, OF
Trey Martin, OF
Jonathan Martinez, RHP
Alberto Mineo, C
Yomar Morel, RHP
Yoanner Negrin, RHP
Ariel Ovando, LHP (ex-OF)
Juan Carlos Paniagua, RHP 
Jose Paulino, LHP 
Felix Pena, RHP (re-signed by Cubs 11/6) 
Carlos Penalver, INF
Steve Perakslis, RHP
Starling Peralta, RHP (re-signed by Cubs 11/6) 
Chris Pieters, OF (ex-LHP)
James Pugliese, RHP 
Bijan Rademacher, OF
Jasvir Rakkar, RHP
Austin Reed, RHP
Jacob Rogers, 1B
Jose Rosario, RHP 
Alexander Santana, RHP 
Tayler Scott, RHP
Daury Torrez, RHP
Roberto Vahlis, C 
Dan Vogelbach, 1B
Logan Watkins, INF

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Just to review... 

A minor league player can become a free-agent five ways:

1. Outright Release
2. Per Article XX-B of the CBA 
3. Per Article XX-D of the CBA
4. Per Article XIX-A of the CBA
5. Per MLB Rule 55 

OUTRIGHT RELEASE
: Unlike for players on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), Outright Release Waivers are not required to release a minor league player. A released minor league player receives two weeks termination pay if he is released during Spring Training or during the minor league season, but the player receives no termination pay if he is released during the off-season before the next season's salary addendum has been added to the player's contract. A minor league player who is injured during the course of Spring Training (Minor League Camp) or the minor league regular season receives two weeks termination pay if he is released no later than the 14th day of his club's regular season, but the injured player receives a full season's salary if he is released after the 14th day of his club's regular season.

ARTICLE XX-B: 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.

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.

ARTICLE XIX-A: Any MLB player who has accrued at least five years of MLB service time (or any international player with Article XIX-A contractual rights) has the right to be a free-agent if the player is optioned or outrighted to the minors. The player can exercise this right upon being optioned or outrighted to the minors, or he can defer the right until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season (he is given three days to decide if he is optioned or 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 XIX-A elects to be a free-agent immediately after being optioned or 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 XIX-A 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 player accepts the Optional or 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. However, an Article XIX-A  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" (6YFA), an unsigned minor league player is automatically declared a free-agent at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series if the player has had his first contract renewed six times and has spent all or any part of at least seven separate seasons on a minor league roster (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. For purposes of determining eligibility to be a free-agent, a player does not accrue a minor league season if the player spends the entire season on an MLB Active List, MLB Disabled List(s), and/or other MLB Inactive List, or if the player spends an entire season on the Restricted List, Disqualified List, Suspended List, Ineligible List, Voluntarily Retired List, and/or Military List. Also, participation in a post-season instructional league or winter league and/or the Arizona Fall League (AFL) does not count toward a minor league season if the player otherwise did not accrue a minor league season that year. 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 the 5th day after the final game of the World Series. (The deadline is 5:00 PM Eastern on October 15th if the World Series is canceled).

If an unsigned player on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) is sent outright to the minors prior to January 15th, the player must be tendered a minor league contract by 5 PM (Eastern) on January 15th (or by 5 PM Eastern on January 13th if January 15th falls on a Sunday, or by 5 PM Eastern on January 14th if January 15th falls on a Saturday). If the unsigned outrighted player is not tendered a minor league contract by the deadline, the player will be automatically declared 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 Article XX-B, Article XX-D, Article XIX-A, or MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent.

 

Comments

Wow. I am somewhat surprised at several of the names. Piementel and Antigua for sure.

"Paul Sullivan and Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune report that David Price and Zack Greinke are "high on (the Cubs') wish list" this offseason." neat. "Paul Sullivan and Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune report that the Cubs "plan to explore" signing Jeff Samardzija." okay.

In the Cubs Top 10 Prospect "chat" last Friday, Baseball America's John Manuel answered a question about RHP Felix Pena... 

Don (Chicago): Does a guy like Felix Pena make your Top 30? He lead the organization in strikeouts in 2015, but was never really a potential prospect prior to this year.

John Manuel: At least two of the scouts I talked to believe he should be in the 30. Frankly, I’ll wait until the last minute and see if the Cubs put him on their 40-man roster. He’s been Rule 5 eligible before and gone unpicked, but he’s up to 95 regularly as a starter, had a strong season, and I think he’d be popped this year if left unprotected. If they protect him, he’ll make the 30. If not I’ll have his writeup ready to go for whatever team picks him.

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NOTE: Manuel was apparently unaware that Pena was eligible to be a minor league free-agent when he answered the question, but now that he is a free agent, Pena should be one of the most highly-pursued minor league 6YFA this off-season. It is odd that the Cubs (with ten open slots on their 40-man roster) could not find room for Pena, since he was apparently not interested in signing a 2016 minor league successor contract that would have kept him under club control for another season (presuming he wasn't selected in the Rule 5 Draft).
 

I am not sure I understand why you let the PCL Pitcher of the Year walk away at age 25.

You'd have put him on the 40 Man?

Sun-Times reporting that Rick Renteria is close to being named WSux bench coach. http://chicago.suntimes.com/sports/7/71/10840...

Most Rule 55 minor league free-agents fall into one of three categories: 

1. Itinerant veteran "4-A" players with some MLB experience who are kept at AAA for injury insurance, guys like Chris Valaika, Adron Chambers, Felipe Paulino, and Luke Carlin.

2. Veteran minor league organizational players who provide leadership and mentor the younger prospects coming through the system. That would be players like Jonathon Mota, Frank Batista, and Ryan Dent.

3. Players who just ran out of time and didn't develop as expected. That would be guys like Starling Peralta and Wes Darvil. 

But then occasionally you will find an actual prospect among the minor league free-agents. These are usually "late bloomers" in their mid-20's who suddenly and unexpectedly move into prospect status after being mainly ignored for most of their minor league career, guys like Willson Contreras and Felix Pena, and possibly Carlos Pimentel. 

In this particular case for this particular category of player, it is incumbent upon the MLB club to make sure to retain the player one way or another, either by signing the player to a minor league successor contract for the next season (where the player would still be Rule 5 Draft eligible, just not a free-agent), or if the player declines to sign a successor contract, by adding the player to the club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) prior to the minor league FA deadline (5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series).

About seven or eight minor league players eligible to be Rule 55 minor league free-agents who did not sign minor league successor contracts were added to MLB 40-man rosters last week prior to Friday afternon's deadline, but the Cubs did not add either Pena or Pimentel.  

And I've mentioned before what happeneed with Hector Rondon post-2012. He was eligible to be a Cleveland Indians MLB Rule 55 minor league 6YFA, but he agreed to sign a 2013 minor league successor contract with the Indians prior to the deadline. But then he was selected by the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft anyway. (Same thing happened with Marcos Mateo the very next year, when he was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft after signing a 2014 minor league successor contract with the Cubs, although the Cubs were able to re-claim Mateo the next Spring Training when he failed to make the D'backs Opening Day 25-man roster).  

So getting a player to sign a minor league successor contract only keeps the player from walking away as an unrestricted Rule 55 6YFA, it doesn't prevent the player from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft. But losing a player in the Rule 5 Draft (where a club has about a 50-50 chance of getting the player back) is better than losing the player as a free-agent, with nothing to show for it (not even the $50,000 Rule 5 Draft payment).

I'll wager that there is something about the guy they know that we don't.

I might also add that one of the reasons a club might want to sign a minor l;eague 6YFA to a minor league successor contract rather than adding him to the 40-man roster immediately, is to kick the 40-man roster decision further down the road. 

EXAMPLE:

Let's say Willson Contreras did not suffer a season-ending hamstring pull last week, but instead suffered a torn ACL and broken ankle in a collision at home plate, or a torn labrum in his right shouder that reqired surgery, sometime over the last two weeks of the AFL season. By getting bim to agree to a minor league successor contract prior to becoming a minor league 6YFA and then waiting until November 20th to add him to the MLB 40-man roster, the Cubs gain an extra couple of weeks before they need to make a 40-man roster decision regarding Contreras. This type of sudden change in circumstances would be more-likely to impact a pitcher, but I think you get the idea. 

The point is, you never know what might happen. It's always good to to be able to wait as long as possible to make a roster decision, in case something unexpected happens in the interim.

Baseball America reports that RHP Felix Pena and OF Pin-Chieh Chen have signed 2016 minor league contracts with the Cubs. 

tommy hanson (former ATL, LAA) is in a coma in ATL...no reason given. the seemingly random tweet that broke the story hours before media confirmation links drugs (coke), though that is not confirmed as fact.

tommy hanson has died. 29 years old.

Just terrible news. RIP.

Pirates claim Guido Knudson from Tigers. Damn, was looking forward to a Cub named Guido. https://s3.amazonaws.com/rapgenius/sarduccisf... https://politicalfilm.files.wordpress.com/201...

Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat 3h3 hours ago Theo: "If we want to do 2 things, we have to get pretty creative. Even if we want to do 1 really big thing, we have to get creative" Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat 3h3 hours ago #Cubs will have money down the line when they get big TV deal. Now, Theo says they have to still be creative ...uh no. spend some f'n money ricketts. ol' man ricketts can find an extra 20-40+ million somewhere. not asking for a 200-300m team over here, but yeah...this is chicago and this is the cubs, don't even try to play poor.

They donated Scott Walker a decent middle relievers salary this year.

Not that ESPN is right that often but Jesse Rogers is down at the GM meetings and said his sense is that the Cubs could still sign a big name and that being creative could mean structuring the contract right so it's backloaded for when the TV deal kicks in. So we'll see.

Still have to wait for the Soriano deal to come off the books. /it was for 18 years right?

I was pretty sure the Cubs would get Lester last year and this year I'm more sure they'll land Price. I think he wants to be part of this. The FO has said, in addition to what Rogers is saying, that from what they can tell the attraction of playing for a team that hasn't won in a hundred years is huge. This is more true now than last year, when it was only a possibility you could be on a winner. Now, it's likely the team makes the playoffs. So the pitch has some real merit. II doubt that means an Andre Dawson contract is on its way, but they should be able to do that back loaded contract.

"Cardinals pitching prospect Alex Reyes has been suspended 50 games for a second positive test for a drug of abuse." ...for weed. dude's a top-50 MLB prospect, easy. this one stings a bit for the cards (hurrah). getting popped a 2nd time is as stupid as the f'n rule, though.

At least he wasn't driving. /cardinal way

So how does that work out for Colo Rockies players? MLB rules supersede State law?

federal laws beat state laws even if the feds aren't beating down what the states are doing. also, they don't test for weed in the bigs...go figure. it could be interesting if a minor leaguer in colorado springs (AAA) decided to try to defend themselves with that point, though. i get it...they want the kids to have discipline and hopeful not pick up "bad" habits (or risk getting busted). that said, it's a crap punishment that's on par with how they punish roiders.

Well, in thinking after posting like I usually do, if the stipulations against pot use and associated penalties are part of the CBA, then my thinking is that that agreement would rule over State law....yes DJ LeMahieu (e.g.) State law says you can smoke pot recreationally but our union agreement says you can't, nothing keeping you from pursuing a different line of work and smoking to your heart's content.

It has nothing to do with law, either federal or state. The testing is required by the current union contract.

sometimes i miss the upvote button...not often...sometimes.

Everybody wants a CF to bridge the gap between Almora/McKinney/Happ, but do they already have one in Castro or Baez?? Alcantara, Watkins, Lake, all moved to OF because they were blocked by Castro?? It'd solve the log jam problem, but not make the Castro haters happy.

Lance Lynn TJ Surgery Out for 2016 or until he miraculously recovers to pitch in the playoffs or dies in a car crash. /those are the only options

Oh, man... Jacos is having a career day.

Jacos es en fuego!

BBWAA @officialBBWAA NL Rookie of the Year, top 3 (alphabetically): Kris Bryant, Matt Duffy, Jung Ho Kang. Winner announced Nov. 16 ...yeah, bryant's got this. hell of an amazing joc pederson collapse...from early front runner to not even in the running.

I am glad to see that Starling Peralta has signed a futures contract.

"Russell is the guy to watch. Coming up during the year, Russell split his season between both positions around the bag, starting off playing second base before getting to move back to his natural position at shortstop in early August. Between the two positions he accumulated an impressive 19 Defensive Runs Saved, but it’s his 10 DRS in just 53 starts that suggest that, given a clean shot at playing short every day in 2016, he’ll be contending consistently for top honors in the NL. If you look at his performance per 1,200 innings, his value (25 DRS) rates with Simmons’ (23), Ahmed’s (23) and Crawford’s (20)." http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/6...

Lance Lynn The Lynn injury complicates things for my handicapping. Theo is well-trained in Yankee-Red Sox gamesmanship, so I am wondering now if there is extra incentive to really go after Price or Grienke, just so the Cardinals don't get him? Until this news, I had them 90% leaning towards Zim + making a trade for one or two younger guys. I still have an optimistic view that they'll find a viable trade partner for the latter. It may indeed be the White Sox. The team will be known as : "Cubs South".

Actually, that was my thinking about why they may go after Heyward, too. I still pretty much doubt they will go after Heyward, but I'm pretty sure they're gonna take a legit shot at Price. I think on Grienke they will pass - he's due for an injury and he's a little older.

cubs officially announce Wscr-670 for games next year. Kinney also mentioned "Cub media network" in 2020. I'm guessing they will partner w Blackhawks

"The Cubs reportedly will meet with the agents for pitchers David Price, Zack Greinke and Jordan Zimmermann, and they were expected to meet on Wednesday with Dexter Fowler's agent, Casey Close, to discuss possibly bringing the outfielder back." "Hoyer and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein also were to talk with representatives for free-agent pitcher Jeff Samardzija about possibly returning to the North Side of Chicago." http://m.cubs.mlb.com/news/article/157006302/...

If he comes back, think of all the nicknames you can resurrect! Ninja, Sminja, Sammy, Smarj, Smjsnin. Just for starters...he he

Smarmy. Jeff-zilla. Mos Jeff. El Jeffe. Samardzija Glad I Didn't Say Orange.

Overpaid #4

Mos-Jeff. HA! Nice work.

i'll just stick with samarjeraksfhsafhaskjhfkjsahcjksaehfiuwehfyuisafv...keeping it simple.

It would be a great signing as far as if I get my old jersey's lettering re-stitched again. I obviously won't be needing my Chicago Cubs #29 Rafael Soriano jersey anymore. I didn't even want a damn Soriano jersey but I sure as hell didn't want the stupid Mike Baxter jersey hanging in my closet anymore. Nobody ever wanted a Mike Baxter jersey ever, but it was early 2015, and what the hell else was I going to do with the Cubs Samardzija jersey in my closet?

Wasn't terribly sad to see him traded away, not terribly excited about the prospect of him returning. Seems like a great guy, but kind of overrated and likely to be overpaid.

"My strong suggestion to Mr. Boras is that instead of resting on his 5 percent that he collects from his stable of players, he write a check and buy a team," Samson said.  

Agreed.

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/14108935/mi...

Any interest in Chapman? Rumor du jur .

lotta cost for 60-70 innings (in trade and $$ to pay him), especially to fill a role that involves coming into a game with a lead already established. it's nice to get those last 3 outs, but giving up talent + $12-$15m for those outs is a heavy price.

Totally agree. Nowayman. It seems probable that as early as 2018, these things may be more likely as the debt will be paid down and the new tv deal be on the horizon.

Not interested at the price tag he has on him.

He had a 2.7 WAR vs Rondon's 2.2 WAR and a higher WHIP. Not worth the money.

Cool, thanks for the thoughts. Now hearing alot closers are being made available right now-Chapman, Kimbrel, Melancon. Wieters accepts qualifying order. (3 points for me!) /cmon Samardzija

Wieters signs. I changed the edit function on the doc to end the predictions early.

I'm thinking one year flier on Span. That's if hes willing

unfortunately he's a boras client...fortunately he had hip surgery in september after missing most of the season...though that last one might not be so fortunate.

Colby Rasmus becomes the 1st mlb player to accept a qualifying offer. $15M.8 for .238/.314/.475 and 25 HRs.

Seems like a good call on Rasmus's part.

"According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Colby Rasmus will accept the Astros' one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer." there goes one of the CF'rs of value (not high end, obviously) from the FA market. also, he's the first guy ever to accept a QO... this could be a way to force HOU's hand into a longer contract. he obviously likes it there (the no-income-tax thing helps, too). 16m is a hell of a lot for 1 season of c.rasmus.

Tony Clark is flying down to Houston to break his legs

BP writeup on AZ Fall league prospects included Jeimer Candelario: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...
Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Chicago Cubs One time, Bret literally (literally) wrote a sonnet about Jeimer Candelario. It’s on the internet and everything. Look it up. Candelario enjoyed one of his best seasons in recent memory in 2015, despite an uninspiring start in High-A. The Cubs bumped him to Double-A anyway, and the move seemed to work wonders, as he slashed .291/.379/.462 in the 46 games he played in Tennessee. It was the best performance he had since a breakout 2012 put him on the map as a hitter with patience who could easily develop some power. He’ll only be 22 to open the 2016 season, so there’s reason to believe in the talent, if not the production in a limited sample. The reality is that he hasn’t hit more than 11 home runs in a single season, and he’s going to need to find a way to access his average raw power more often if he’s going to make a case for a starting job. There are tools here, but so far he’s been less than the sum of his parts. —Craig
here's the link to the Sonnet... https://twitter.com/dynastyguru

two mid-tier SP gone... "Blue Jays re-signed RHP Marco Estrada to a two-year, $26 million contract" "LHP Brett Anderson has accepted the Dodgers' one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer." samarjaharahablah rejected his QO, btw.

Just got my season ticket invoice. I think prices are going up about 15%. http://cubs.brochure-mlb.com/2016/plans/Daily... I give them credit for holding the line for many years while the team was bad. That's a mighty big jump.

Kimbrel to BoSox Pads get Margot, Guerra, Asuaje, Allen. /quite the haul

of all the issues to address on that team with that crew of talent for bait...wow.

A comparable package from the Cubs would have been Gleyber Torres, Albert Almora Jr, Jeimer Candelario, and Justin Steele... something like that.  

Ohh man, thanks for the comparison AZ Phil

I was wondering about that when I read the news on my phone. Now, watch. Kimbrel will end up on the surgeon's table in, like, mid-May.

AZ Phil, I assume you are matching more by position before rank. I read that the Redsox prospects ranked (per Boston Globe): 5- Guerra (SS); 7- Margot (CF); 12- Allen (L/P); 25- Assuage (IF/OF) Using the most recent BA Cub rankings: 5 = Dylan Cease, 7 = Billy McKinney, just below the top 10 = Mark Zagunis, and one more throw in but around rank 25 (Alcantara?). Glyber Torres is now ranked by BA as #1. Almora is #6. Candelario is #10. So if Torres were considered it would probably have been only 2 prospects. But I know what you did there by matching more by position and rank was the 2nd variable. Still that would be quite a haul of prospects when using the Cubs farm to do this exercise. https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/11/13...

CUBSTER: My comp was based partly on position and partly on prospect ranking.

Baseball America hasn't released their 2016 Top 100 Prospects list, but they did rank Margot as the #24 prospect in baseball in their mid-season Top 50, and Torres was #28, so that was the comp there (although they don't play the same position). 

Then in his Cubs BA Top 10 Prospects chat, John Manuel said that the Cubs would probably place between three and seven of their post-2015 BA Top 10 prospects in the 2016 BA Top 100, so that means Almora (the Cubs #6 prospect) is a borderline Top 100 prospect, and so I comp him with Guerra (although like with Margot and Torres, they don't play the same position), but if you compare Torres & Almora (combined) versus Mardot & Guerra, (combined), you get two CF with Gold Glove defensive skills  (although Margot is a better prospect than Almora) and two Lo-A shortstops with high ceilings (although Torres is a better prospect than Guerra). But again, it works if you combine the players into a pair (Torres & Almora versus Margot & Guerra).   

I comp Steele with Allen because they have a similar draft pedigree and pro background (although I could have just as easily replaced Steele with Carson Sands), and Candelario is the closet comp I can find to Asuaje, mainly because both play 3B (although Asuaje also plays 2B), and Candelario and Asuaje both moved from Hi-A to AA at mid-sseason. 

Obviously a 100% comp is not possible, but I believe the four-player Cubs "package" i listed is the closest one that can be found when compared to the four-player package the Red Sox gave up in the deal. Again, it's not an exact match, but it's as close as possible. 

Now, if they could get Sonny Gray for that substituting Baez for Almora.... Done.

supposedly Davey Martinez didn't make the Dodgers next round of managerial choices. The final round: Black, Kapler and Roberts.

Roto reporting that Frank Batista re-signed to a minor league contract with the Cubs. At this point he looks more like organizational filler although one never knows with relievers.

Roto reporting that Mark Buehrle is considering not retiring if he returns it would be for StL. Hmmmm.

STL fans been waiting on that since his very early CWS days...long time STL fan...but now he's rolling into his late 30s. that said, it's STL...so he'll probably sign a low-priced 1yr deal and throw cy young quality ball...because STL.

Thank you Arizona Phil for that astute comparison. I would not have given up Gleyber Torres, Albert Almora Jr, Jeimer Candelario, and Justin Steele for Kimbrel by any means. I would give them up for Sonny Gray.

AZ PHIL: Any particular reason why you'd choose Justin Steele over Dylan Cease (TJS recovery great), Carson Sands, Paul Blackburn, Pierce Johnson, Duane Underwood, Bryan Hudson, C.J. Edwards etc. Just trying to get a sense of how you'd rank our pitching prospects.

CUBBIES-4-EVER: I was looking for a "short season" LHSP to comp with Allen, and Steele and Sands are the closest, although again, not an exact comp.

As for who the Cubs top pitching prospects are, Duane Underwood Jr has the highest ceiling among the Cubs who pitched in full season ball in 2015, but he is probably a couple of years away. I saw Underwood throw in Advanced Instructs post-2015, and he was very inconsistent from outing-to-outing. He racked up strikeouts and got lots of swings & misses with his chase stuff but then he was also very hittable when he threw pitches in the strike zone. He would sometimes get on a roll and retire a number of hitters in a row, but then he would lose focus and get into a big mess. I';m not even sure he will begin the 2016 season at AA, although I'm sure the Cubs would like to move him through the pipeline as quickly as possible.  

Dylan Cease was rated a 1st round talent going into the 2014 high school baseball season until he hurt his elbow, and even though they knew he would require TJS, the Cubs took Cease anyway (in the 6th round) and gave him "1st Round Money" to sign, He has a TOR celing, but he also has significant ciommand issues that need to be ironed-out before he can be fast-tracked, and so I would not be surprised if he begins the 2016 back at Extended Spring Training and then goes to Eugene. 

Lefties Justin Steele and Carson Sands were taken in the same draft (2014), but Sands was a more-advanced 19-year old HS senior who will be Rule 5 draft-eligible a year earlier (post-2017) than the other Cubs pitchers taken in that draft. So while Sands was a bit more-polished when he was drafted, Steele has a slightly higher upside and thus probably has more value. 

You probably read about RHSP Oscar de la Cruz quite a bit during Extended Spring Training, and he has been developing fast. He grew about two inches between the 2014 and 2015 seasons ()he's now 6'6)  and I believe he has has TOR stuff. But like Steele and Sands, he pitched at Eugene in 2015, so he is quite a ways away.

So four of the five best Cubs pitching prospects have yet to throw in full season ball, and the fifth one may or may not be ready for AA at the start of the 2016 season.  

The problem is that the Cubs have a five or six year "contention window" with the current core (Rizzo, Bryant, Schwarber, Russell, Soler, Baez, Castro, Lester, and Hendricks), and they need pitchers that fit into that window, and none of the Cubs five best starting pitcher prospects fit. So I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs include one or two of their Top 5 pitching prospects (plus one of the position players from the core, more-likely Soler because he probably has the most-value among the players they would be willing to trade, but it could be Baez or Castro if that's who the other team wants back in the deal) in a package for an established MLB starter who is either under club control and/or signed through 2020-21. 

gawwwwwwdamn this surprise vs salt river AFL game on MLB Network is awesome. 4 run bottom 9th to bring a tie out of nowhere. b.starling with 2 outfield assists in the game (6th of the AFL playing RF). ...and surprise scores 1 in the top 10th going unanswered for the win. woo, mid-november baseball. at least MLB Network seems to be showing more AFL games every year.

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  • crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    "Jeff Passan of ESPN writes that the players and league agreed that the 2020 season won't start until "there are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans, there are no travel restrictions and medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans." Passan does add that the two sides "will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums" and also at neutral sites.

     

  • crunch 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    i miss baseball.  it could happen in june...it may happen in late may...it might not happen either way.

    there's so many things getting messed up right now i would get lost making a list.  there's some college guys making a serious "okay, we need to look at that guy" push that's dead.  former cubs draft pick russell smith (2017, LHP highschool) took last season off for injury (TCU college) and returned with a low 90s fastball, impressive control, and a MLB-quality changeup.  his "comeback" was 4 games and done thanks to this current situation...

     

  • JustSayin' 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    COVID 19 + a short draft + Manfred's obsessive drive to shrink the minor leagues will change baseball forever.  It WAS still America's grass roots sport.  Where I live, from June through August, you could see a quality live game any day of the week, within an hour's drive.  I believe that era is over.  What's going on will have ripple effects, contracting serious college ball, college summer leagues and independent pro ball just as much as the MiLB systems.  With those changes, some of the game's charm will also go.  I've seen a kid from Cape Cod play in the Ca

     

  • crunch 2 days 11 hours ago (view)

    fyi for anyone who bought MLB.tv

    for "some reason" getting a cancel+refund via phone is like pulling teeth, but if you contact them via a webpage contact request many people are getting a cancel+refund confirmation within an hour or 2...

     

  • bradsbeard 2 days 18 hours ago (view)

    I imagine because the new labor agreement freezes rosters as of whenever the agreement is approved by the owners and it might affect what those guys are paid under the agreement. 

     

  • Hagsag 2 days 20 hours ago (view)

    AZ Phil. what was the reason that a whole bunch of teams optioned or assigned players to the minor leagues yesterday on March 26 ? Thanks.

     

  • Arizona Phil 3 days 34 min ago (view)

    jdrnym: Ordinarily, players on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) who are on Optional Assignment to the minors do not accrue MLB Service Time, are paid at the minor league rate rather than at the MLB rate if the player has a "split" contract, and if the player gets hurt or becomes sick after being optioned, he can be placed on a minor league IL instead of on an MLB IL (so that he cannot accrue MLB Service Time or be paid at the MLB rate while he is on the IL). Also, a player who is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days will burn an option year.   

     

  • jdrnym 3 days 13 hours ago (view)

    AZPhil, what are the technical ramifications of optioning/not optioning guys during this period of no baseball? Seems like some teams are more eager than others to trim their roster down.

     

  • crunch 4 days 16 hours ago (view)

    "Major League Baseball has agreed with the MLBPA to grant a full year of service time to players in 2020 regardless of how many games the schedule includes.

    Rosenthal adds, however, that the two sides have agreed to "table discussions" on how much service time the players would receive if the worst-case scenario plays out and the 2020 season has to be canceled entirely due to the coronavirus pandemic."

    ---

     

  • bradsbeard 6 days 11 hours ago (view)

    This one has me scratching my head too. Surely they knew Lakins would have a hard time clearing waivers. Hate to just lose Pereda like that. Feels like they gave up more for Lakins than for Sadler, and I'm guessing Sadler might have been slightly more likely to clear waivers since he's out of options. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 6 days 11 hours ago (view)

    I think the most puzzling aspect to the Travis Lakins Caper is that the only plausible reason for the Cubs to have struck a pre-emptive trade with the Red Sox instead of waiting and hoping to win a waiver claim is that the Cubs believed that another club with a better waiver claim priority would almost certainly claim him. So to ensure that they would be able to acquire Lakins, the Cubs must have offered the Red Sox something more than the $50,000 waiver price, otherwise there would have been no point in the Red Sox agreeing to the deal. 

     

  • crunch 6 days 14 hours ago (view)

    RedSox acquire catcher Jhonny Pereda from the #Cubs, completing the January 21 trade for RHP Travis Lakins

    ...cubs lost lakins on waivers to BAL, btw

     

  • erich081 1 week 3 hours ago (view)

    I wore my Rick Wilkins #2 shirsey today and kept thinking real baseball was only a week away. And then I remembered this weird alternate reality we've seemed to have slipped into. Hope everyone stays healthy and safe.

     

  • Hagsag 1 week 7 hours ago (view)

    I am installing a padded room to sit in until this hell is over.

     

  • Charlie 1 week 12 hours ago (view)

    Watched it yesterday with my girlfriend and while Skyping my dad. It was fun to give her running commentary since she's only been a Cubs fan for the last five years.

     

  • crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    MLB is sidestepping this "to the surface" pushing issue by choosing to "finacially support" minor league players according to a press release from a couple days ago.  minor league pay has been a recent source of embarrassment for MLB...

    i have no idea how robust this assistant will be, but anything less than 100% for most players (no matter the source) would be a disservice to future of the game.