Rule 5 Draft Roster Decisions Loom for Cubs

11/18 UPDATE: The Cubs have selected the contracts of LHP from Iowa, C-1B and OF from Tennessee, and RHP from Myrtle Beach, and all four have been added to the Cubs (40-man roster).

The Cubs also claimed LHP off waivers from the Seattle Mariners today, so the Cubs MLB Reserve List now stands at 39 (one slot is open).


Next Friday is the deadline for MLB clubs to file off-season MLB and minor league reserve lists with the MLB office.

These reserve lists are used to determine eligiblity for selection in the December 2016 , and once the reserve lists are filed, Rule 5 Draft eligible players on minor league reserve lists are essentially "frozen," meaning the player cannot be added to the MLB 40-man roster, transferred to a different minor league reserve list, traded, or released until the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft. However, MLB and minor league free-agents can be signed throughout the "quiet" (frozen) period (and free-agents who meet Rule 5 Draft eligibility who sign a minor league contract can be selected in the Rule 5 Draft), and players can be sent outright to the minors during most of this "quiet" period as well. (Rule 5 Draft-eligible players can be outrighted to the minors up until two days prior to the Rule 5 Draft, and all players sent outright to the minors prior to the Rule 5 Draft are automatically eligible for selection in the draft, even if they otherwise would not be Rule 5 Draft eligible).   


At present, the Cubs have six slots open on their (40-man roster), so they could add as many as six Rule 5 Draft-eligible players to the 40 without removing any players. However, it is more-likely that the Cubs will add no more than four (maybe five), and the players most-likely to be added are (in this order): 

1. , RHSP  
2. , C-1B  
3. , RHRP    
4. , LHRP  
5. , LHSP  
6. , OF 
7. , OF 
9. , RHRP 
10. , RHRP 

All it takes is one MLB organization to like a particular Rule 5 Draft-eligible player for the player to get selected, so useful MLB-ready (or near-MLB ready) Cubs minor leaguers like OF John Andreoli, C-1B Taylor Davis, C-1B Cael Brockmeyer, and/or RHSP Jordan Pries could very well get selected, but you can figure that the ten minor leaguers listed above are probably the ones the Cubs would least-like to lose.  

In addition to deciding which players to add to their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) to protect them from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft, the Cubs also must decide which Rule 5 Draft-eligible players to place on the 38-man AAA Iowa reserve list, as well as which ones to place on the 37-man AA Tennessee reserve list, and which ones to assign to the 35-man reserve lists of their Myrtle Beach, South Bend, Eugene, AZL Cubs, DSL Cubs #1, and DSL Cubs #2 affiliates.  

The decision whether to place a Rule 5 Draft-eligible player on the AAA Iowa reserve list or on the AA Tennessee reserve list matters because players on AAA reserve lists can only be selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft ($50,000 draft price with a right to re-claim player for $25,000 if the player doesn't make the drafting club's MLB 25-man Active List), while players on the AA reserve list can be selected in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft ($12,000 draft price with no right to re-claim).  

The Cubs have actually lost many more players in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft (including 1B Justin Bour) than they have in the Major League Phase over the past few years, a testament to the depth of their farm system. They are likely to lose a few more players this year as well.  

At present there are 55 Cubs minor leaguers eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft. If (let's say) five of them (Underwood, Caratini, Rivero, Leathersich, and Paulino) are added to the MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) next week, that would leave 50 players eligible for selection. At most 38 can be placed on the AAA Iowa Reserve List, and clubs usually leave around five slots open on their AAA affiliate's reserve list for minor league free-agents who are signed and for players who might be outrighted to the minors during the 20-day "quiet" (frozen) period prior to the draft, and for players the Cubs might select in the AAA Phase (the Cubs selected three players in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft last year, and a club must have as many slots open on its AAA affiliate's reserve list prior to the start of the draft as players selected by the club in the AAA Phase of the draft).

So figure about 17 of the Cubs minor leaguers eligible for selection in this year's Rule 5 Draft will probably be available for selection in the AAA Phase of the draft, and once drafted, players lost in the AAA Phase are gone for good. NOTE: There is also a AA Phase where Rule 5 Draft-eligible players on Class "A" reserve lists can be selected for $4,000, but players available in this phase are usually injured, playing another sport, serving a prohibited substance suspension, and/or about to be released, so even getting $4,000 for the player is better than nothing. (No players were selected in the AA Phase last year). 


NOTE: Players in CAPS bold & underlined are likely to be added to the MLB 40-man roster, players in bold (but not underlined) are likely to be placed on the AAA Reserve List (eligible for selection in the Major Phase only), and players in italics are likely to be placed on the AA Tennessee reserve list or on the reserve list of one of the Class-A affiliates. 

Andury Acevedo, RHP 
(Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if drafted & then later re-claimed by Cubs)
Gioskar Amaya, C-IF-OF 
John Andreoli, OF
Jeffry Antigua, LHP 
Luis Aquino, RHP 
Pedro Araujo, RHP
Jeffrey Baez, OF
Yasiel Balaguert, 1B-OF
Dallas Beeler, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if drafted & then later re-claimed by Cubs)
Corey Black, RHP
David Bote, INF
Cael Brockmeyer, C-1B
Stephen Bruno, INF
Roberto Caro, OF
Erick Castillo, C
Josh Conway, RHP
Taylor Davis, C-1B
Andin Diaz, LHP
Elvis Diaz, RHP 
Greyfer Eregua, RHP
Luiz Escanio, RHP (on Resrtricted List) 
Bryant Flete, INF
Robert Garcia, OF
David Garner, RHP
Jake Hannemann, OF
Luis Hernandez, RHP 
Erick Leal, RHP
Danny Lockhart, INF
Mark Malave, RHP (ex-C)
Dillon Maples, RHP
Trey Martin, OF
Jonathan Martinez, RHP
Ryan McNeil, RHP
Alberto Mineo, C-1B
Jose Paniagua, 1B-OF
Juan Carlos Paniagua, RHP
Manny Parra, LHP (Article XIX-A player - can elect free-agency if drafted & then later re-claimed by Cubs)
Adonis Paula, INF
Carlos Penalver, INF
Steve Perakslis, RHP
Chris Pieters, 1B-OF (ex-LHP)
Jordan Pries, RHP
James Pugliese, RHP
Bijan Rademacher, OF
Will Remillard, C
Alexander Santana, RHP
Nick Sarianides, RHP 
Tyler Skulina, RHP
Daury Torrez, RHP
Michael Wagner, RHP


AZ PHIL: Good article! What can you tell about Armando Rivero? You seem to think the Cubs like him well enough to protect him. I felt he was a sure thing in 2014, but thought he was less effective in 2015 and 2016. What are you seeing that I'm missing?

obligatory "not phil"...nonetheless... he throws regular mid-90s (not just "touching" mid-90s) and messes with a slider + other offspeed stuff like a meh changeup. his main issue seems to be tendencies to be erratic from appearance to appearance...command and an ability to repeat. when he just sits on his fastball it tends to be hit (like it was during spring training this past season). someone would take him if he hit the market even with his advanced age.

ALEXANDER: Armando Rivero was a closer for Industriales in Series Nacional (the Cuban major league) before defecting in 2011 (he missed two full seasons) and signing with the Cubs at the age of 25 in 2013 ($3M+ signing bonus). He was a teammate of Cubs LHRP Gerardo Concepcion with Industriales. He is eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft for the first time this year. 

He has a similar body-type as Carl Edwards Jr (lanky 6'4) and pitches a lot like Justin Grimm, in that he throws a 94-95 MPH four-seam fastball and a hard-breaking 12-6 slider that acts like a splitter. He depends on using his fastball to get ahead of the hitter, and then uses his slider/splitter as a wipeout chase pitch (sky-high 14.0 K/9 rate in 2016).  

His main negative is commanding the breaking ball. Too many walks & wild pitches, because he bounces the breaking ball a lot. So his strikeout pitch is somewhat unstable and requires a catcher who can block balls in the dirt. 

Rivero induces a lot of weak-contact fly outs & pop ups, so he doesn't surrender as many home runs (0.4 HR/9) as would normally be expected from an extreme fly ball pitcher. He was mostly unhittable in 2016 (.169 OppBA).

If he is not protected (added to the 40), Rivero will be selected in the Rule 5 Draft. And he's MLB-ready, so if he's drafted the Cubs won't get him back.  

I follow! Makes more sense. Thank you all!

former cub paul blackburn is on the move again...this time to OAK for danny valencia. nice pickup for SEA, but i imagine he was going a bit cheap after putting his teammate billy butler on the DL with a smack upside his head (which he kinda earned by screwing with valencia's money).

...and piling onto the former cub effect...valencia is expected to platoon with vogelbomb at 1st.

So, if you choose to look at it that way, Seattle ended up with two part-time first basemen in return for Montgomery. If Montgomery excels as a full-time starter next year, this is looking to be a great trade for the Cubs but a good trade for both sides. However, by putting Montgomery in the rotation the Cubs lose a left handed arm in the bullpen. I have faith in Zastryzny, but is there a chance Wood might be resigned?

I think Travis Wood coming back is a real possibility, maybe depending on how important his teammate ties are to him (which is nearly impossible to know). But I think the Cubs may also take a run at Bret Cecil. Also, I think even if Montgomery makes a fair number of starts, he ends up in the bullpen for the stretch run to keep his innings down.

Anyone know if Eloy got hurt? He came out after one AB Monday and hasn't played since.

MLB Network Radio @MLBNetworkRadio Montgomery: "I'm coming into spring training as a starter" #Cubs

Lester, Neocon, Hendricks, Montgomery, Lackey... seems like a solid rotation.

Very conservative.

Love it!!!!!!

Needs at least one more serviceable arm. Montgomery and Lackey are significant question marks to contribute, since Lester was really just league average last year (adjusting for defensive contributions) and is old and Montgomery doesn't have much of a track record as a starter. I'm sure the front office will be trying to build depth.

along with zastry backing things up (as of now the main dude), at a minimum they'll probably snag 1-2 AAA/MLB fringe dudes for insurance or competition for the 5 slot. aaron brooks and jake buchanan also exist.

Is Jordan Pries in the conversational at all, you think? ST invite at least?

CHARLIE: I think it's likely that projected AAA Iowa starters Jordan Pries, Ryan Williams, and Dallas Beeler will get NRIs to Spring Training.

Thanks, Phil!

In other news -- the Bears comedy show is back! Chris Conte starts the scoring with a pick-6 off of Cutler, the Bears never recover and lose 36-10 to an awful team. Their only touchdown was on a Hail Mary before halftime. Cutler had 3 turnover in the first half.

I wonder if Lovie Smith was able to make it north up I-57 to see the game. I also wonder if I am the only person on the planet who wondered about that. Here's hoping.

Actually the game was in Tampa

Shows my level of attention.

Despite saying he is coming into Spring Training as a starter, Mike Montgomery needs to remember that Travis Wood, Trevor Cahill, and Clayton Richard came into Spring Training as "starters," too, but were moved back to the bullpen once the season started.

So although I think it's very likely that Montgomery will end up in the Cubs starting rotation eventually (certainly by 2018), I also think it might be a bit premature to anoint Montgomery as the Cubs new #5 starter, because he might have more value as a reliever than as a starter AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW.

Which is why declining Hammel's 2017 option is a bit puzzling, because the Cubs had five solid starters (and probably the best 1-5 in baseball) in 2016, and that's one of the reasons they had the best regular season record in MLB, even though the #5 starter (Hammel) wasn't needed in the post-season (although he might have been needed if one of the other four starters had gone down with an injury).

Again, this is not to say that Montgomery won't be a starting pitcher in the near-future (because I believe he will be), just that he might have more value working out of the pen right now.

I think you will see a Soler-Almora package for pitching

Soler-Happ seems more likely to me. I can't see where Happ plays on this team.

He won't play for the Chicago Cubs in 2017. Or, likely, 2018. However, he isn't eligible for the Rule 5 Draft until 2018, so he can be planted in Des Moines for two full seasons before he needs to take a roster spot. The first like that the Cubs have ever had.

I'm assuming he starts the season at AA. He didn't really dominate AA pitching this year.

Could be. That will be determined in Mesa. Either way, there's no rush with Happ.

well, i guess it's not HAPPening. HAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHA seriously, is mike trout a cub yet?

If Happ plays well in 2017, I assume he could be on the MLB team in 2018 as a utility guy (or, he could be the next Zobrist if age starts to catch up with Ben in 2018/19).

I guess my point was that Alomar and Happ both have value to the Cubs and other teams. That said, Alomar likely to play in the majors in 2017, while Happ may play for the big league club in the future. So if I were to include one in a trade for pitching this off season I would rather trade Happ. Of course, Alomar likely have more value in the market place than Happ at the moment.

Auto-correct? Alomar = Almora.

No just ordinary dyslexia.

I agree with you, Jacos, about Soler and Almora separately or in a package. I don't agree with those who think they should be looking to trade Happ. Hitting with power from both sides of the plate is an elite tool. Historically, the Cubs have not had many players with that tool--has there been a single one?--but then the Cubs historically have been the Cubs. Like Eloy and Gleyber, Happ is too young to trade. Wait till you have a better idea what he's capable of. (Obviously, they traded Gleyber, but with reluctance and in a different context than obtains in the winter.) I like Almora, but unfortunately his deficiencies are irritating, because many if not most CFs are better than he is at getting on base and then at getting to the next base. To replace Fowler and junk like Coghlan they need a CF with the standard package.

Re switch hitter with power: *cough* Mark Bellhorn *cough*

Would you believe that Almora is only 4 months older than Happ and won't turn 23 until after opening day? He's still got a lot of room for growth.

Patience will probably never be part of his growth though outside of maybe a few % like Russell has shown.

Which is OK. Honestly, I'm surprised how quietly Almora put up a league average offensive line as a 22 year old, with more power than he showed in the minors even. With his defense, he just has to keep his offense around league average to be an above average regular. Similar to Addison Russell this year.

As I've said here before, I project an Albert Almora Jr = Curt Flood comp. 

A .308 OBP isn't league average. It's .002 points better than Heyward's in Heyward's worst year ever and a year when people were complaining Heyward could never get on base. Sure his power is fine but that OBP is really not good.

The OBP is below average, sure, but his overall batting line was league average (101 wRC+ or 102 OPS+ if you prefer, with 100 being league average). I'm not sure he hits for as much power as he did this year going forward (never did in the minors), but on the other hand he is just 22 and has time to grow into a little more power. He doesn't have to be much more than 90% of league average on offense, really. His defense is good enough that he can be a 3+ WAR player even with slightly below average offense I think.

Russell didn't spend enough time in the minors to get a good read on his typical BB%, but he did post near a full season (500 PAs) at A+ where he walked 12.1% of the time. He also posted decent walk rates in 2012 at Rk and A-. Patience isn't an entirely new element of Russell's game. The best we've seen out of Almora so far is his 7.1% in 451 PAs at AA. An improvement to 5 or 6% in BB% for Almora would be nice, though that would still leave him significantly below the league average. But my bigger concern is that poor command of the strike zone might also significantly depress his batting average and power production such that they don't translate to a big league regular role.

That's all fair. What strikes me as positive is that Almora really held his own in his pro debut. He didn't strike out that much (17.1%), he walked at about the same rate as he did in the minors (4.4% career minor league rate, 4.3% in MLB), and he showed a little bit of power. He's managed to hit around league average at each stop in the minors despite always being young for his levels. He did it in his MLB debut too (in an admittedly small sample). He didn't fall on his face the way Brett Jackson or Josh Vitters or Javier Baez did. He may never be much more than what he's shown so far (although I wouldn't rule it out), but he doesn't really have to be more than that to be very valuable.

I'm a defender of Heyward but even if he turns his swing around like I think he will be is never going to be an elite OBP guy and I'm not sure we can have two of those side by side defense or no. Three if we throw Russell into the mix. My prediction if Heyward does turn it around and they don't keep Fowler is Heyward in center with Zo in right and Schwarber in left. Almora can certainly fit in as a spot starter and defensive replacement but from a long term stand point him as an every day starter just isn't attractive to me at all. Especially in comparison to what Fowler brought to the table.

If you look at Heyward's 2014, you see a line that is almost identical to 2016 aside from his BABIP 2014: .271/.351/.384 (109 wRC+), 10.3 BB%, 15.1 K% .308 BABIP 2016: .230/.306/.325, 9.1 BB%, 15.7 K%, .266 BABIP. A few more hits fall in and a few more HRs, and Heyward can be right back where he was 2 years ago with an above average OBP and overall batting line. I do think a Heyward/Almora platoon in CF makes some sense, but the defense with Almora and Heyward in CF/RF could justify a little less offensive production. I also think Russell is going to improve going forward, so I'm not too worried about having all 3 in the lineup together. The top of the lineup is so stacked as it is that they can afford it.

It's unfortunately not as simple as BABIP with Heyward. His soft contact % for the year was up to 27% from 22.4% the previous year which the eye test bore out with seemingly lots of soft grounders at the start than fly balls at end. I remember reading the Cubs were getting him to upper cut his swing more mid-season and it worked to reduce his GB% from 47.4% the first half to 44.8% the 2nd but instead it caused his FB% to jump from 30.4% to 37%. He cut his DPs in half this way but the balls still weren't dangerous in a way BABIP would affect. Whether because of his wrist injury or something else his swing had a lot of moving parts and wrist movement which caused a lot issues catching up to fastballs this year and because of this he faced a massive amount of them. Pitchers threw him FBs 65.2% of the time this year (3rd in MLB) up from 60.1% the previous year (23rd in MLB) and his value against them was a terrible -.58 wFB/C (135th in MLB) vs a 1.19 wFB/C the previous year (37th in MLB). Probably because he had to start his swing earlier his value against changeups was a -1.76 wCH/C (137th in MLB) vs 1.16 wCH/C the previous year (43rd in MLB). So while I was all for the Heyward signing and I think if he can get back close to his career #s his defense fully makes his contract completely worth it (and he made a lot of great defensive plays this last year that helped the team a lot, including in the playoffs), I don't think his poor offensive #s this last year were a fluke that we can attribute to BABIP.

heyward's inability to get around and make good non-late contact on fastballs this past season, especially the second half, is alarming. he shouldn't be late on fastballs at all, and not squaring them up well isn't helping much either.

Yet his soft contact in 2014 was 24.3%, and his hard contact was the same as 2016 (26.4%). I agree Heyward's swing was out of whack, and I also think he may have been playing with a sore wrist (which explains a drop in power and difficulty with fastballs). But I think even if he has the same batted ball profile again next year, he is likely to come out with a bit better luck. That's just the way BABIP works.

Agreed--his approach hasn't failed to translate to MLB yet. Even CPatt pulled a slash line similar to what we might project for Almora and managed about 12 fWar from 2003-2007 (age 24-28 seasons), largely on the merit of his D and his legs. I guess it's reasonable to hope for 2-3 WAR a year (in a full-time role) from Almora during his peak, even without significant improvement in power or discipline. I read a Fangraphs piece a few weeks back about the typical peaks in power and patience as players develop, and they both tend to happen around 24. So if Bryant, Baez, Russell, Schwarber, and Almora follow the trends, they'll all be at peak within the next 2 years and we'll have a good sense of what to expect going forward from there.

bradsbeard, I like Almora for the same reasons you do, but on a team that will have to replace the leadoff hitter, Almora doesn't meet that need, whereas a lot of other centerfielders would. If they had another leadoff guy inhouse, then Almora would be okay hitting 6 or 7 or 8. I'm not sold on Zobrist hitting leadoff, but Russell might work, now that I think about it. His OBP was only .321, but that was 83 points higher than his BA (.238), which means he gets on base by other means, which Almora doesn't. (Russell's 12 HBP's help.) Russell's BA will get better. Plus Russell is aggressive on the bases and has some untapped potential there.

There's no reason the leadoff hitter needs to be a speedy CF. Zobrist is tailored made for that role, but they could just as easily spot Schwarber there or Contreras. Maybe Russell could do it eventually, but I wouldn't expect that out of him next year. In general, the Cubs do not need a leadoff guy who runs a lot. Just need someone to get on base ahead of Schwarber/Bryant/Rizzo.

Also a plus if the leadoff sees a lot of pitches (not even necessarily walks a ton). Zobrist and Heyward both do well in that department.

"no reason the leadoff hitter needs to be a speedy CF" That's twisting my logic. The leadoff hitter doesn't need to be a CF, but speed is an asset. Bryant's speed accounted for two runs in game 7, decided by one run. Bryant could bat anywhere but Maddon likes him near the top of the order, in part because of his speed. Centerfielders usually bring that asset for an obvious reason: the distance they have to cover. Almora isn't slow but he isn't fast. He runs better than he walks, that's his real problem. Zobrist didn't hit well (.220-ish) hitting leadoff in the month that Fowler missed, and his career BA leading off isn't much better (.238). I like when he comes to the plate with RISP. One solution is to acquire a CF and deal Almora. There's also Russell, as I mentioned. Maddon used to like to bat him ninth. That's not too distant from leadoff.

If you want some speed at the top why not have: 1. Bryant 2. Schwarber 3. Rizzo and if you like you could have the pitcher hit 8th. As often as Bryant gets on, this would certainly open up the right side for Schwarber.

Willson Contreras could hit lead-off in games where he's catching or playing LF. He runs well (especially for a catcher), and while he doesn't steal bases like Fowler, he does hit doubles & HR.  

Interesting idea. He has a few tools, doesn't he?

There's some reason to believe Willson may not post that .350+ OBP in his second year.

Yeah. Kris Bryant sure had a crappy slash line in his 2nd year.

I don't really anticipate a sophomore slump. I just doubt he'll post a career .339 BABIP. I still like him plenty as starting catcher and a 5-7 hitter. But I don't think a .340-.345 OBP Contreras would be worth batting leadoff over Zobrist based on an advantage in foot speed.

Speed is a good thing in general, but it's just not as important in front of two of the best hitters in baseball. If Almora plays CF defense at an elite level, I wouldn't push him out of the lineup to get a little extra speed in front of Bryant/Rizzo/Schwarber at the cost of losing his glove in CF. I don't think that's a good tradeoff.

joe maddon is also in play for this. he's let melvin (bj) upton and desmond jennings lead off in TB even though better ob% guys were available. historically, he's had a thing for "speed leads"...but joe also isn't as predictable and un-moving as some of his contemporaries.

I like Schwarber batting leadoff or 2nd so that you can maximize his reps after a full year missed (unless he doesn't produce, of course). I also wonder if it gives you a better chance of forcing a manager to decide whether he wants to let his starting pitcher face Schwarber, Bryant, Rizzo (followed by some combo of Zobrist, Contreras, Russell, Baez, Heyward) for a third time or have to go to the bullpen in the 5th inning. I could see Almora batting 9th, on days he starts, in front of that crew.

That kinda shocked me as well. My guess is that a trade is largely already engineered. For instance, Soler, Candelario, and an arm (maybe Stinnett) for a pitcher that appears a bit generic. But with good walk numbers. And multiple years of team control. If he keeps the ball in play, he ought to succeed. Then, Zastryzny, Williams, Underwood, Pries, Buchanan, and Brooks can position themselves to be the next guy as needed.

AZ Phil, you reported the other day that Munenori Kawasaki had elected free agency. However, he's still listed on the 40 Man roster and their transaction page doesn't state that he declared FA. However, ESPN and Fox Sports both have him listed as a FA. Any idea why there is a discrepancy?

BRADSBEARD: This exact same question was asked here about four or five days ago, so I'm just going to re-post the question & reply if that's OK with you. Please let me know if it doesn't answer your question.  


Submitted by Alexander Dimm on Thu, 11/10/2016 - 3:47am
Can anyone explain why the Official Chicago Cubs roster includes Kawasaki? I get why Fowler was returned. He will disappear once he declines the QO, but why is Kawasaki still listed?


Submitted by Arizona Phil on Thu, 11/10/2016 - 6:47am
ALEXANDER: Dexter Fowler and Munenori Kawasaki are both free-agents and should not be listed on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster. The fact that Fowler was extended a QO did not automatically put him back on the 40. However, if Fowler were to accept the QO, he would immediately go back on the 40.

Normally Article XX-B free-agents are automatically declared free-agents at 9 AM (Eastern) on the day after the final game of the World Series (and that means the next day after the day that the last World Series game began, not when the game was completed, so even though Game #7 of the World Series ended early Thursday morning after midnight, it actually began Wednesday night, so Thursday is considered the day after the final game of the World Series for free-agency purposes).

As a vested NPB player, Kawasaki is eligible to sign a non-uniform major league contract where he can receive Article XX-B contract rights (if the player and club agree) and can elect to be a free-agent, or, he can not file and (in his case) be eligible for salary arbitration instead. But he did file (but not right away), so he became an Article XX-B free-agent (just like Cahill, Chapman, Coghlan, et al), but he didn't become a FA at the same time as the others (because they were automatically declared free-agents, whereas Kawasaki had to actually file). It was only after he filed that he was removed from the Cubs MLB 40-man roster, but the transaction apparently went unnoticed at, although it was recorded & noted at the MLBPA site (which is authoritative).

In the case of Fowler (and Hammel, too), they did not become free-agents automatically at 9 AM (Eastern) on the day after the last game of the World Series (like Cahill, Chapman, Coghlan, et al) because they had contract options that had to be exercised or declined, and the options were not officially declined until three or four days later, and it was only when the options were declined that Fowler and Hammel were removed from the 40, but again, one of the two transactions (Fowler declining the mutual option) was apparently missed at, although it was recorded & noted at the MLBPA site.


Submitted by Alexander Dimm on Fri, 11/11/2016 - 3:41am
Thank you AZ Phil! It's odd because Fowler was removed for a few days but then returned when he was offered the QO. That's why I thought they put him back was because of the QO. I hadn't heard that Kawasaki had been offered a QO. I think this tells me to stop looking at the site for roster news and pay more attention to the Cub Reporter site. You guys have it right most of the time anyway.

That clears it up. Thanks! I found the MLBPA site too, and figured the page was maybe just slow to update but didn't know for sure.

jeremy hellickson agrees to get overpaid by 3-5m, accepting the PHI's QO. neil walker also accepted the QO from the mets.

joe thatcher has retired. he latched onto AAA iowa mid-August last season and he seems to have no further interest in the AAA/MLB old-guy up/down pipeline.

"J.J. Cooper of Baseball America reports that Japanese right-hander Shohei Otani is unlikely to be posted this offseason." boo. dunno if the cubs would even enter into that kind of bidding war (mega-huge when it happens), but i was hoping the dude could go ahead and make it into MLB (though doubtful this offseason given the international signing rules hiccups he would run into unless it's changed this December). he's a pitcher and a hitter...and very successful at both...and he's 22. if you've seen the video going around lately of the dude who hit a ball through a gap in the roof of the Tokyo Dome stadium, that was him. he's an even better pitcher. crazy talent.

dave roberts wins NL MOY over maddon and dusty. all 3 managed teams with high expectations, but i guess sending 500 players to the DL and still winning the division counts for something a bit extra.

The Cubs have signed Mario Meza, a veteran of the Mexican League, to a minor league contract. I do not believe he is Chappy's replacement as a closer.

he's expected to start out in AA...throws 91-93mph...turns 26 next week. he was evidently working out in AZ for the cubs before the cubs decided to sign him so they at least have a decent handle on what the guy might be capable of.

PHIL: I'm so sorry, during the season I had asked you to rank 5-6 of the Cubs best arms. I can't find that anywhere, my friend. Could you be so kind as to do this again - maybe your list is updated via AFL? BTW, how is David Berg doing?


The Cubs Top 10 best SP arms in the system right now are:
1. Dylan Cease
2. Trevor Clifton
3. Oscar de la Cruz
4. Duane Underwood Jr
5. Jose Paulino
6. Ryan Williams
7. Bailey Clark
8. Thomas Hatch
9. Jose Albertos
10. Bryan Hudson
NOTE: Paulino and Hudson are the only LHSP in the Top 10, but Rob Zastryzny would be there too (at about #9) if you still consider him to be a prospect rather than an "established" MLB pitcher.

THe Cubs Top 5 RP arms (all are RHRP) would be:
1. Pierce Johnson (found his niche as a reliever at Iowa)
2. Armando Rivero (has cut-down his walks working out of the pen in Venezuela)
3. Corey Black (is pitching "lights out" as a closer in Puerto Rico)
4. Ryan McNeil (Myrtle Beach closer, but has struggled in the AFL)
5. James Norwood (was outstanding in AZ Advanced Instructs)

Just to expound a bit on Pierce Johnson... here are his numbers at Iowa after moving to the bullpen in July:

11 games
22.1 IP
3.22 ERA
1.16 WHIP
.178 Opp BA
13 BB
35 K (14.2% K/9)
3 HR (but only one double and no triples)

Obviously still too many walks & HBP, but his 14.2% K/9 rate (after he was moved to the bullpen) was the second-best in the Cubs system among relievers, and all of his numbers (including K/9, BB/9, OppBA, WHIP, and ERA) were better than what Carl Edwards Jr put-up in a similar number of IP at AAA prior to being recalled.

So don't be too surprised if Pierce Johnson (yes, Pierce Johnson) pops up (seemingly) "out of the blue" as a stud reliever in 2017.

As for David Berg, he was hit hard (he got clobbered) at AA, and so his future is a bit murky right now. He actually pitched worse & worse the longer he was at AA. 

Phil, you forgot my favorite Daury Torrez.

Thanks PHIL: This is great. Looks as if the arms are starting to catch up with the bats. Very good. Pierce Johnson has had real issues with control, so I am glad to see they "re-purposed" him in a role he can have success in. Too bad about David Berg. Perhaps there is a future in the hot dog business for him. And, if Corey Black ever pans out for the Cubs, it could be the best value Soriano gave us.

Glad this is no longer the week that was the highlight of the Cubs season

scherzer won the NL CY...porcello won the AL CY... also, this... Kate Upton @KateUpton Hey @MLB I thought I was the only person allowed to fuck @JustinVerlander ?! What 2 writers didn't have him on their ballot? lulz.

2015 Wild Card Game Winner Rookie of the Year Manager of the Year Cy Young 2016 Division Winner Pennant Winner World Series Winner MVP (assumption) So basically, a clean sweep of all levels and awards over 2 years. I'll take 2016 if I had to choose one :-)


josh reddick gets 4/52m to play frustratingly random bad and good baseball for HOU. they picked up brian mccann in trade earlier in the day.

bryant wins the NL MVP! trout gets the AL MVP.

Nice! Trout just turned 25 -- he has 2 MVPs and 3 runner-ups. Wow.

1 vote from being unanimous. Kinda lame.

Waiting for comment from Kate Upton on this.

Shockingly the schmuck who didn't vote

Seems rare that being a homer impacts a vote this obvious. Just sets himself up for ridicule, but he probably wanted to stand out and get attention, and that is exactly what is happening.

Lol There's not an argument for anyone but Bryant this year, but Daniel Murphy is not even close.

ny post writer...not surprised.

2013 - College Player of the Year 2014 - Amateur Player of the Year 2015 - Rookie of the Year 2016 - World Series, and MVP That's absurd. Kid's had a tough life.

2017 - Cy Young 2018 - Manager of the Year 2019 - Executive of the Year 2020 - Comrade Trump's Bigly Award For Baseball Excellence

Cubs claim LHRP David Rollins from SEA.

David Rollins has no restrictions as far as being outrighted during the off-season (he isn't a Rule 55 player so he doesn't have to sign a 2017 contract before being outrighted, he isn't an Article XX-D player so he can't elect to be a free-agent if he is outrighted, and he didn't end the season on the DL so he didn't need to be outrightred prior to 11/20), and since the Cubs have the last waiver claim priority and were able to claim Rollins, it should be fairly obvious that no other club was interested, so look for the Cubs to almost immediately try and outright Rollins to the minors, just like the Rangers did with RHRP R. J. Alvarez after claiming him off waivers from the Cubs in September.

So there is no reason for the Cubs to keep Rollins on their MLB 40-man roster. They just need to put him back on Outright Assignment Waivers and wait a couple of business days for the waiver to be secured, and then they can send him outright to Iowa. If he wasn't claimed off waivers, he certainly won't be selected in the Rule 5 Draft. And if outrighted, he will remain under club control through the 2017 season (just like Dallas Beeler). 

Just as an FYI, today is the last day that most injured players can be outrighted to the minors, which is why the Cleveland Indians were able to claim Tim Cooney off waivers from the Cardinals. It's also why the Cubs would have to outright Aaron Brooks today, unless they intend to non-tender him on 12/2. 

An injured player on an MLB 40-man roster who has Rule 55 status (like Zac Rosscup and Connor Mullee) cannot be outrighted until the player signs a 2017 contract, so this class of player is always a good candidtate to be non-tendered on 12/2, and then the club will usually try and re-sign the player to a minor league contract for "rehab money" (usually about $50,000). So look for the Cubs to non-tender Rosscup and Mullee on 12/2 and then try an re-sign them to 2017 minor league contracts. 

Oh, a lefty with a 7.00+ ERA. I have been missing Felix Heredia of late...

CT STEVE: That's how desperate the Cubs are right now to find LHRP. 

Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat #Cubs add Underwood, Leathersich, Caratini, Hannemann to 40-man roster in advance of Rule 5 Draft hannemann's ability to play CF is probably what pushed him into the mix.

No huge shock. I assume Rivero is gone. The Cubs have never been as high on him as it seems some outside the organization might be. I hope Paulino doesn't go away for good.

I think Hannemann is a major-league prospect. He's a little old, but he lost a couple of years to a Mormon mission, if i remember correctly. Always interesting for his athleticism. Good on-base guy: .326 OBP is not eye-popping but you have to compare it to BA, which was about 80 points lower. He finds a way to get on, including getting hit. Hannemann had 10 home runs in 327 PAs, so could have had fifteen over a full season's worth of PAs. Stole 26. Somebody should grab Andreoli in the Rule 5. Showed a little pop this year to go with his 43 SBs and .374 OBP.

andreoli did great considering the very slow start he he can play all 3 OF positions adequately. you probably wouldn't want him in CF as an everyday player, but he doesn't project for an everyday player anyway. i was a bit surprised no one took a chance on him last rule-5.

AZ PHIL: What do you think of the Cubs choice of selecting Hannemann over Paulino? I feel like Rollins took Rivero's spot but I'm surprised that they would pick an outfielder over a lefty starter. We've got a surplus of outfielders but a good lefty is hard to find. Also, just to confirm, the Rule Five list is set after today?

Just saw Carrie Muskat's comment that Crunch posted. I still think Paulino would be more valuable.

ALEXANDER: I think the Cubs made a mistake not protecting Jose Paulino, if Paulino's slot went to Jacob Hannemann.  I suspect the Cubs are gambling that even if Paulino is selected, they will get him back because the drafting club will probably not be able to keep Paulino on its 25-man active list for an entire season. But I don't think it's worth the risk.  

The Rule 5 Draft list is almost set, although Rule 5 Draft-eligible free-agents who sign minor league contracts over the next three weeks (up until the Rule 5 Draft) will be eligible for selection, as will any player sent outright to the minors prior to the Rule 5 Draft.(players can be sent outright to the minors up until two days prior to the Rule 5 Draft). 

Otherwise, starting at 5 PM (Eastern) yesterday (Friday 11/18), Rule 5 Draft-eligible players on minor league reserve lists cannot be added to an MLB 40-man roster, traded, released, or transferred from one minor league reserve list to another until the conclusion of the draft. So they are (in effect) "frozen" for almost three weeks. 

Thank you, sir. Does that also mean the AAA and AA rosters are frozen until the draft?

ALEXANDER: Yes. All minor league rosters are now "frozen" (it's actually called a "Quiet Period") as far as the movement of Rule 5 Draft-eligible players are concerned. So (for example) the Cubs can't move a Rule 5 Draft-eligible player from the AAA Iowa reserve list to the AA Tennessee reserve list (or vice-versa) until the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft. What's done is done. 

Also, players who are not Rule 5 Draft-eligible are not placed on the AAA reserve list, so as to leave as many slots available for Rule 5 Draft-eligible players on the AAA reserve list as possible. So players who are not yet Rule 5 Draft-eligible (like OF Mark Zagunis and RHSP Ryan Williams, both of whom finished the season on the Iowa DL) are placed on the AA Tennessee reserve list when the rosters are filed (even though both of them finished the season at Iowa), so that more Rule 5 Draft-eligible players can be placed on the Iowa reserve list (where they can only be selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft).    

And again, clubs typically leave at least five of the 38 slots on the AAA reserve list open when rosters are filed, providing room for Rule 5 Draft-eligible free-agents who sign a minor league contract and for players sent outright to the minors prior to the Rule 5 Draft, and for players selected in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft (there must be as many slots open on a club's AAA affiliate's reserve list PRIOR TO THE START OF THE RULE 5 DRAFT as the number of players selected -- last year the Cubs selected three players in the AAA Phase, so to do that they needed at least three slots open on their AAA Iowa affiliate's reserve list PRIOR TO THE START OF THE DRAFT). That's why slots are left open on the AAA affiliate's reserve list when rosters are filed in November. 

Az Phil - Thanks as always for your timely and detailed posts. I'd like to ask if you have access to the frozen Iowa and Tennessee rosters? Just wondering who the Cubs are protecting at those levels.

HOOK: The minor league reserve lists are treated confidentially like the waiver lists (distributed to MLB clubs only), meaning they are not supposed to be released to the public. Why? I don't know. I guess it's because they've always done it that way. I probably could try and get the lists, but I don't want to get somebody I like in trouble. 

I did list the players I thought the Cubs would likely place on the AAA Iowa reserve list in the body of the post above, but that's just my best guess. Take it for what it's worth.  

608-17-1993 birthday for Cratini? If that's meant to be 08-17-1993, then he's exactly 5 years older than me!

Thanks Phil. It would be interesting, but I guess we won't ever know. Could a change making them public be addressed in the next players agreement? The major leaguers might want to know where they stand if sent back to the minors while still under control.

FWIW, Jacob Hannemann is Jason McLeod's cousin (McLeod is Cubs Senior VP - Scouting & Player Development).

Another interesting thing about Hannemann (besides him spending two years on an LDS mission after high school and then playing football at BYU) is that he has plus raw power (he won the HR Derby at Instructs post-2013), and then he was sent to Instructs post-2015 to learn to drive pitches to the opposite field (with an "inside-out" swing) because the Cubs felt he had become too "pull-conscious."  

But despite the inherent raw power, Hannemann's game is speed and defense, although it would be nice if he had a stronger throwing arm. (It's not "Juan Pierre bad," but it's pretty close)  

So in summary, while all it takes is one MLB club to like a particular player for that player to get selected in the Rule 5 Draft, in general, the Cubs players most-likely to get selected in the Major League Phase of the December 2016 Rule 5 Draft are: RHRP Armando Rivero, LHSP Jose Paulino, OF Bijan Rademacher, RHRP Corey Black, RHRP Ryan McNeil, RHRP Daury Torrez, and OF John Andreoli.  

Rivero and Andreoli are MLB-ready and if drafted, they are gone and the Cubs won't get them back. Probably same thing with Rademacher, even though he only spent half a season at AAA.

Black features high-octane gas and a killer breaking ball, but he also has big-time problems trying to command his filthy stuff and that could hurt his chances to stick on an MLB 25-man roster for an entire season. He is pitching "lights out" right now as a closer for Santurce in Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente (Puerto Rican Winter League), however.

McNeil struggled in the AFL (facing primo prospects), but was very good as the Myrtle Beach closer in 2016 and proved he is 100% back from TJS, and Torrez has spent two seasons at Myrtle Beach without advancing to AA (getting converted from starter to reliever this past season, but not really getting it together as a reliever until the final month of the 2016 season).

And Paulino (a lefty ground ball machine with an 92-94 MPH sinker & hard-slider combo) could get stashed in the back of a bullpen of a rebuilding team for a year, and then once his Rule 5 obligations are met, he gets the rare four minor league option years, so he could be brought along very slowly.

And it's always possible some club might want a C-1B-DH type like Taylor Davis.   

Great summary Phil. Thanks.

I agree! Thanks Phil! Let's hope the Cubs farm system doesn't get raided come December.

I suppose there could be some corresponding rule changes that offset this, but there was a report yesterday that rosters may expand to 26 under the new CBA. If that's the case, it seems like a lot more of these fringe players could be picked. Nervous for Paulino especially, but we'll just have to see.

I used to think a guy like Paulino couldn't be lost in the Rule 5 because a team (even a re-building team) couldn't hide such a raw player for a whole season. Then Lendy Castillo happened, and now I know how hard a team will work to keep someone.

Surprise Saguaros vs Mesa Solar Sox (Cubs AFL affiliate) in the Arizona Fall League Championship Game this afternoon (1 PM MST) at Salt River Fields east of Sottsdale, AZ, and it will be televised on the MLB network for those of you who are unable to attend the game in person.

The Solar Sox have the longest drought since winning an AFL Championship (last won in 2003), so maybe the Cubs players can help end it.  

And while Kyle Schwarber will not be in the lineup, Cubs C-1B Victor Caratini, RHRP James Farris, 2B Ian Happ, OF Eloy Jimenez, RHRP Ryan McNeil, and RHRP Steve Perakslis are on the MSS active roster. (RHSP Duane Underwood Jr was shut-down last month, so he will not be pitching in the game). 

The game is also available on

happ in LF, jimenez DH. mesa has an early 3 run lead going into the top 2nd.

happ 2r HR...fastball right down the middle from the righty pitcher mcrae. bottom 3rd, 1 out, mesa up by 5.

happ hits a solo HR in the 7th (along with a double and single earlier) off of a lefty pitcher this time.

Talk about a high finish. Burnitz-esque.

mesa wins!

Former Bluejay lefty Brett Cecil to Cardinals, 4 yr deal. $ not disclosed yet. Travis Wood smiles.

not a bad plan-B after losing z.duke to injury...also, woo for STL losing z.duke to injury. also, cecil's deal supposedly has a full no-trade. also also, the marlins are supposedly looking at t.wood as a starter...they have also been linked to b.cecil and b.logan for LH relief help.

speaking of AFL...tim tebow finished relatively strong... .268/.405/.333 in his last 10 games of the season. he had 6 of his 8 total walks in those last 10 games. he's still a non-prospect, but he at least managed to show a touch of being something more than an attendance side show. fwiw, the mets outright own some of their lower-tier minor league teams on which tebow will be's an assumed win/win for both sides in that respect.

former cub g.torres win the AFL MVP...youngest ever.

The trade was a big gamble, but it paid off. With the injuries/ineffectiveness for Rondon & Strop, Cubs probably don't get to the WS without Chapman. After the 9th inning rally in Game 4 against SF, he put them away.

i dunno if i'd go that far with it, as if chapman was the only guy who could bail the team out available on the trade market. they got their man they wanted and paid a heavy price. i'm not thrilled, but it's not like chapman was going to be cheap, even for a 40 inning season+post-season rental. it was an expected expenditure for a guy like chapman, but a chunk of me would rather see that level of talent used to pick someone with more club control (especially SP).

World Series champs

"as if chapman was the only guy who could bail the team out available on the trade market" that part is kinda important. chapman wasn't going to win any post-season awards with what he was doing, but he did play well. my point is while i understand why they made the move, he could have also snagged the cubs a lot in the way of controllable talent. it's a "that's cool, but..." situation. it was highly unlikely that without chapman the cubs wouldn't win their division...they had that in the bag. the extra talent assured for the post-season came at a very large cost, but that's what chapman was going to cost.

My attitude at the time was the same as yours. It was basically, "wait till next year or the year after, when Gleyber and Russell will be certified studs and we can trade one of them for any starting pitcher we like." In contrast, Theo said, If not now, when? He was right, obviously. (I seem to recall a recent parade.) That's why he is where he is--and we're down here!.

Happ.... we got to find a spot for him soon. Had a day today and I think I saw AZ Phil in the stands keeping score. Very handsome lad.



I can't believe it! 

The Cubs and the Mesa Solar Sox win championships the same year, just about two weeks apart. Now I can die happy.  

AFL Campionship Game MVP Ian Happ 4-4 with two HR (one RH and one LH), a double, and a single, and three runs scored.  

Kyle Schwarber didn't even show up. What a slacker. 

I'm going on a bender for the next couple of weeks. (Of course, I was going on a bender anyway, but still...)


Ok , that was you in the stands with a scorebook in one hand and a brew in the other hand!

AZPhil on a bender! I seriously can't imagine anything more enjoyable than that.

Phil, it's fun to see you so excited. I guess "never before" beats 108 years. And it happened in Arizona!

Eh. In hindsight, given the late season injuries to Rondon and Strop, I'm glad the Cubs picked up two relievers at the deadline. But I don't think that trade reveals any genius on the part of the front office. You could build a very simular argument that the real secret to the Cubs playoff success was having Schwarber on the DL until the WS so that he couldn't get injured in September and miss out on the highest stakes games in the post season. Just cause things worked out great doesn't mean we live in the best of all possible baseball franchises.

Hey, winning the World Series is supposed to put you in a GOOD mood.

I'm psyched about the state of the franchise, the front office, and the vast majority of the players. Still not an Aroldis Chapman fan or any rationale that equates success to the correctness of every decision along the way. The front office makes way more good and great decisions than meh decisions or obviously bad decisions, which is what counts. Also other things in the intervening weeks have dampened the world series glee a little.

Gives new meaning to "There's always next year"!

If you knew beforehand that you would win the WS by pulling the trigger on either of these trades -- Schwarber for Miller or Torres for Chapman -- which trade would you do? I'd still do the Chapman deal. Love me some Schwarber and love the fact his name has become a verb (adverb? - my grammar sucks)

Oh, I'd definitely give up Torres before Schwarber.

AZ Phil: before you wobble away into the sunset... Can Ian Happ wind up the 2017 season as the Cubs lead off hitter (and Zobrist his way into the lineup between 2B and CF)?

CUBSTER: It's possible.

Spring Training is mostly a matter of veterans getting into game-shape and to help pitchers build up pitch counts and stamina going into the regular season, but Ian Happ could possibly win a job in Chicago with a super-hot Cactus League performance and a disappointing performance by Albert Almora Jr and/or an injury to one of the main cogs in the lineup. But it's still a long-shot. 

Now, if the National League implements the DH in 2016 (and Kyle Schwarber is the Cubs DH), and Almora and Heyward platoon in CF, and Zobrist plays RF, then LF (and the lead-off slot in the order) could be Happ's for the taking... 

"According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Cubs have done "background work" on free agent reliever Kenley Jansen." neat.

Well, we DO need a closer.

Well as far as closer go I don't think Spencer Patton going to be available. On the Cubs Hot Stove tracker on it has him "pursuing options in Japan" anyone know anything about that?

CUBBIES-4-EVER: I believe it is very likely that the Cubs will be releasing Spencer Patton so that he can pitch in Japan. It has been reported at least two places on the net. He was supposedly placed on Outright Release Waivers on Thursday, so the transaction will probably be announced tomorrow (Monday).  

BTW, when placing Patton on Release Waivers, the Cubs will note that he is being released so that he can sign with an NPB club.That way, no other MLB club will claim him and interfere with his deal.   

If Patton is released and signs with an NPB club (as appears imminent), the Cubs could receive as much as $1M from the NPB club as part of the deal, although it will probably be more like $500K.   

Also, if Patton is released and signs with an NPB club and then later returns to play in the U. S. at some point, the Cubs would NOT control his rights. He would be an unrestricted free-agent. 

Patton played with Matt Murton at AAA Iowa this past season, so he probably got the low-down on Japanese baseball from Murton, who spent six seasons there and had a really good run (he broke Ichiro Suzuki's single-season hit record one year, and won a batting championship in another year).   

Another 2016 Iowa pitcher (RHSP Stephen Fife) was scouted by a Japanese team while he was at Extended Spring Training in May and the deal was almost completed, but it fell through at the last minute after Fife aggravated an oblique injury in an EXST rehab start. 

Spencer Patton has proved he shitted his pants - for the most part - in the MLB. As a reliever, ya gotta be able to pitch in at least some high-leverage situations. Great arm but...

Confirmed RHRP Spencer Patton has been released so that he can sign with an as yet unidentified NPB (Japanese) club. Given the way these deals are made, the Cubs should get substantial $$$$ as part of the deal. 

Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) now stands at 38. 

That then brings up the question: If they knew they were releasing him and wanted to keep one spot open for a possible Rule 5 pick, why would they not use that other spot to protect Jose Paulino (etc) and still have one spot open to maybe make a pick or since Patton was still under team control try to trade him (maybe they did)

CUBBIES-4-EVER: The Cubs could have rostered-protected at least one or even two more Rule 5 Draft-eligible players on Friday if they were so inclined. 

The Cubs MLB Reserve List is at 39 right now. Releasing Spencer Patton will get the roster down to 38. 
The Cubs had the last waiver claim priority and were able to claim David Rollins, meaning all 29 other MLB clubs passed on him. So the Cubs should be able to secure Outright Assignment Waivers this coming week and send Rollins outright to the minors (like the Texas Rangers did after they claimed RHRP R. J. Alvarez off waivers from the Cubs in Ssptermber). That would get the MLB Reserve List down to 37. NOTE: Rollins is not an Article XX-D player so he does not have the right to elect free-agency if outrighted, he is not a Draft-Excluded player so he can be outrighted during the off-season, and he is not an MLB Rule 55 player so he doesn't have to sign a 2017 contract before he can outrighted. 

Also, the Cubs will probably non-tender at least three players (Gerardo Concepcion, Conor Mullee, and Zac Rosscup, and maybe Aaron Brooks, too) on 12/2, so that would get the MLB Reserve List down to 34, and it's unlikely the Cubs will need six slots on the 40 for MLB free-agents, off-season waiver claims, and/or a Rule 5 Draft pick. 

So the Cubs could have added more than four players to their MLB Reserve List on Friday. They just chose not to. 

One more thing about LHP Jose Paulino...

Normally a club does not want to add a young player like Paulino to the MLB Reserve List too soon, because the player could run out of minor league option years before he is ready to play in the big leagues. It's almost better to risk losing him the Rule 5 Draft (with the potential to re-claim him) than to run out of options and lose the player off waivers before he is MLB-ready. HOWEVER, if Paulino had been added to the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) on Friday, he would get the rare 4th minor league option year, so the Cubs could option him to the minors for four seasons (2017-2020) instead of just the usual three, and he wouldn't have been out of minor league options until 2021. 

And with RHRP Armando Rivero not being added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster, I was reminded of a conversation I had with a couple of scouts at Fitch Park a few years ago (before the Cubs moved to Riverview), and they were saying that while Cuban players generally have no use for Castro or Communism or any of that stuff, they (almost to a man) absolutely, positively believe that Cuban baseball is the best in the world, and the best coaching they are ever going to receive is what they got in Cuba. It's just that they couldn't make any money there.

So when a veteran Cuban player comes to the U. S., he might consider his signing bonus to be just getting paid for what he did in Cuba, not for what he is expected to do in the U. S., and both young and old Cuban players sometimes have difficulty believing anything an MLB or minor league manager or coach tells them, because after all, what do Yumas know about beisbol?

And so sometimes Cuban players come off as somewhat arrogant, cocky, stubborn, and/or indifferent when a coach tries to help them get better. "You can't tell them anything" is what I kept hearing, but it's really not a personality thing. It's just that they truly believe what they have been told over & over & over since they were little kids.... Cuban baseball is the best in the world... Cuban coaches are gods... Nobody else knows anything...

I'm not saying that's necessarily a problem with Armando Rivero, but it could be. 

Sometimes you just have to overlook certain things about Cuban players that can be off-putting, and just consider the talent, and accept the player for what he is. 

Do you believe the same about Dominican or Venezuelan kids too?? Because the Cubs system has a ton more of them, or is that a reult of Cuban's having to defect or the fact that the Cubs at one point have/had DSL and VSL complexes/teams

CUBBIES-4-EVER: No. The problem (such as it is) is specific to the Cuban baseball culture and to some of the players who have defected from it, but not all Cuban players react the same way when they enter MLB and the minor leagues.

That's why it's not possible to generalize about all Cuban defectors. It's just something to consider if a particular Cuban player may seem unusually stubborn, argumentative, and/or arrogant. Sometimes you just have to consider the talent and accept the player the way he is and look past some of the things that might be off-putting.

That can be especially difficult for minor league coaches in particular, because it's the job of the Player Development Department to shape and mold a player, and the expectation is that the player will fully cooperate with the plan. If the player doesn't fully cooperate, he might be considered less of a prospect than his skillset might otherwise indicate.  

AZ Phil, how is your bender going?

HAGSAG: It's going well so far. Actually it's not a lot different than most every other day. 


Sheesh. The Bears are a major waste of time. I hadn't watched them much this season, so I thought I might get lucky in a close game. I won't make the mistake of watching them again thru whatever season is left. Cutler ends the game on a crappy interception. So what else is new. It was like watching an Edwin Jackson start. He throws hard but something is missing.

The NFL in general is pretty ugly. It's largely backups vs. backups because of all the injuries. Leonard Floyd gets strapped to a board because of a head/neck injury, and 30 seconds later it's time for 300+ pound guys to smash into each other again. It's pretty dehumanizing to watch. The players are so huge now that there seems to be an injury almost every other play. UPDATE: For example, today's game: OL Kyle Long and WR Kevin White were out for the game due to injury. LB Leonard Floyd was carted off the field on a stretcher due to a neck injury. TE Zach Miller broke his foot and is out for the year. OL Josh Sitton left the game with an ankle injury and did not return. CB LeBlanc left the game with a concussion. None of these injuries was due to a high-speed high-impact collision. They are all due to the fact that when unusually huge (cough...PEDs..cough) people fall on each other, step on each other or tackle each other, bones/knees/brains are injured. I'm no doctor, but its pretty obvious what is going on.

(11/20/2006): Cubs sign Alfonso Soriano to an 8-year/$136M contract. The first $100M deal in franchise history

Too soon...

he's a little bit K-prone, not much for walks, but knocks a good amount of doubles/homers. hopefully he isn't wasted in the leadoff spot. sigh.

And play center field!

c.villanueva is playing winter ball in mexico. while he's only playing part time (so far), he's doing quite well. .278/.359/.444 3HR in only 15 games has him tied for 2nd in the league. that said, this is a weak league...and ex-cub dave sappelt (who plays full time in MEX for years) also has

AZ Phil, I don't believe he played for the Cubs this year, but is Joe Martarano still in the Cubs organization? He apparently broke his fibula playing football this week, and it sounded pretty serious from initial reports.

BRADSBEARD: 1B Joe Martarano is still under club control, but unlike 2015 he did not attend Extended Spring Training and did not play in a short-season league in 2016, so he apparently made a full-time commitment to football at Boise State this year. Too bad about his injury.

He will probably be placed on the Restricted List if he doesn't report to Extended Spring Training next Spring. He will also be Rule 5 Draft-eligible for the first time post-2017, so the Cubs might put him on a AA or Class-"A" reserve list this time next year and see if they can get at least a little bit of $$$$ back in one of the minor league phases of the December 2017 Rule 5 Draft if it looks like he isn't interested in playing baseball. 

spring training schedule (tentative) the CHC vegas games are vs CIN this season.

Pete Rose approves.

AZ PHIL: You mentioned that Justin Bour, as a Rule 5 pick, went unprotected, I believe (at least that's what his girlfriend said - BAM!)? Was he undervalued by the Hendry/Wilken regime? Was the slugger only able to play 1st? I remember you discussing his power in years past. He has turned into a solid, but not spectacular player (.800+ OPS) with the Marlins.

he was/is extremely slow and clunky...1st/DH is pretty much the limit of his talent and he's not even that good at 1st. looking at the guy it's hard to believe how slow and immobile he's not like he's an overweight guy pushing 40 or anything like that.

E-MAN: It was actually the Epstein-Hoyer-McLeod regime that lost Justin Bour (and Ryan Flaherty and Marwin Gonzalez) in the Rule 5 Draft (Flaherty and Gonzalez were drafted post-2011 and Bour post-2013).

In the case of Bour, he was blocked by Anthony Rizzo at 1st base, and he can't play any other position.

The main problem with losing Bour is that he does have some value (if not to the Cubs, than obviously to at least one other MLB club), and the Cubs might have been able to retain him and get something for him in a trade -- or at least get $50,000 (the Rule 5 Major League Phase draft price) rather than $12,000 (the Rule 5 AAA Phase draft price) -- if they had just put him on the AAA Iowa reserve list instead of on the AA Tennessee reserve post-2013.

One of the functions of a club's Professional Scouting section is to put an accurate value on the club's own players, so that if a player is moved, the club gets appropriate value back (either in terms of cash or players). 

In the case of Justin Bour, Anthony Rizzo never goes on the DL, so Bour would not have been needed by the Cubs at the big league level. But if Rizzo had gotten hurt sometime 2014-16 and Bour was still in the system, he might have been a decent temporary injury-replacement.

It will be interesting to see if the Arizona Diamondbacks target Cubs players in next month's Rule 5 Draft, since the D-backs new VP - Assistant GM is Jared Porter, who was previously the Cubs Director of Professional Scouting. 

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  • KingKongvsGodzilla 21 hours 32 min ago (view)

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


  • crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    jim hickey new nats pitching coach.


  • bradsbeard 2 days 1 hour ago (view)

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


  • tim815 2 days 2 hours ago (view)

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


  • crunch 2 days 5 hours ago (view)

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

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

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


  • bradsbeard 2 days 6 hours ago (view)

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


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 2 days 11 hours ago (view)

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


  • Hagsag 2 days 14 hours ago (view)

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


  • tim815 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

    Blue and Red DSL instructs rosters. No Brayan Altuve.


  • crunch 3 days 6 hours ago (view)

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


  • Hagsag 3 days 13 hours ago (view)

    Has it been announced whether there will be a DR winter league this winter?


  • tim815 3 days 19 hours ago (view)

    That's as good of news as we'll get for awhile.


  • Arizona Phil 3 days 22 hours ago (view)

    TIM: If nothing else, signing a boatload of IFA (35) in the 2019-20 ISP is a pretty good indicator that the Cubs fully intend to run two DSL teams into the forseeable future. 


  • tim815 3 days 23 hours ago (view)

    Of the 11 new guys, I'm leaning on Marino Sandy and Jerry Torres to be the most likely to reach full-season ball or get traded 


  • Arizona Phil 4 days 32 min ago (view)

    OF Ian Miller (outrighted to the minors on 9/3) elected free-agency just prior to the 10/15 deadline, and the Cubs have signed RHRP Juan Gamez (who they released on 9/9) to a 2021 minor league contract. 


  • bigsky33 5 days 5 hours ago (view)

    Phil, were you watching from outside the stadium?