Cubs 2018 Off-Season Roster Prep

11/20 UPDATE:

LHRP (declared an MLB Rule 55 Minor League 6YFA on 11/3) has signed a 2019 minor league contract with the Cubs and was assigned to AAA Iowa, and so he will be one of 74 Cubs minor leaguers who are (at present) eligible for selection in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft on December 13th. The Cubs signed Baldonado as a minor league free-agent last off-season after he completed his seventh minor league season with the New York Mets. The Mets originally signed Baldonado as a 17-year old J-2 IFA out of Panama in 2010, and while he has racked-up some impressive K-totals numbers in his minor league career, he also struggles to throw strikes. Still, the 6'4 250 hefty-lefty can be over-powering at times, and the Cubs no doubt hope he will discover consistent command one of these days (he's still only 25). Baldonado is the 4th Cubs post-2018 minor league free-agent to re-sign with the Cubs.  

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11/13 UPDATE


RHP  (declared an MLB Rule 55 Minor League 6YFA on 11/3) has signed a 2019 minor league contract with the Cubs and was assigned to AAA Iowa, and so he will now be one of 72 Cubs minor leaguers who are (at present) eligible for selection in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft on December 13th (see list of Cubs minor leaguers eligible for selection in 2018 Rule 5 Draft below). Born in New York City but signed by the Cubs as a 17-year old "J-2" IFA out of the Dominican Republic in 2008, Rosario is the uncle of ex-Cubs (now DET) 3B Jeimer Candelario. Now 28, Rosario missed the 2018 season with a right arm injury, and so he will be able to continue his rehab at the Cubs UAPC in Mesa in 2019. Rosario has spent his entire pro career with the Cubs, and in fact he has (somewhat amazingly) been a member of the Cubs organization for 11 seasons (2008-2018). He was considered enough of a prospect that he was added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster after the 2016 World Series to keep him from walking away as a minor league 6YFA at that time, and he was on the 40 as recently as September 2017, before being released on 9/1 and then signing a 2018 minor league contract with the Cubs two weeks later.   

OF  (declared an MLB Rule 55 Minor League 6YFA on 11/3) has signed a 2019 minor league contract with the Cubs and was assigned to AAA Iowa, and so he will now be one of 73 Cubs minor leaguers who are (at present) eligible for selection in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft on December 13th (see list of Cubs minor leaguers eligible for selection in 2018 Rule 5 Draft below). The 28-year old Bernard (ex-DET) was signed as a minor league 6YFA last off-season and hit 242/293/349 in 98 games between AAA Iowa and AA Tennessee in 2018, and was competing with Iowa CF Jacob Hannemann for the Cubs September "5th-OF/PR" gig before the Cubs acquired Terrance Gore from KC in August. While Gore may very well be - THE - fastest player in the upper levels of affiliated ball, Bernard is one of the fastest, and he will compete for the Iowa 4th OF job in Spring Training with the possibility that he could get a September call-up (presuming Terrance Gore does not re-sign with the Cubs). 

 

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11/6 UPDATE


RHP  (declared an MLB Rule 55 Minor League 6YFA last Friday) has signed a 2019 minor league contract with the Cubs and was assigned to AAA Iowa, and so he will now be one of 71 Cubs minor leaguers who are (at present) eligible for selection in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft on December 13th (see list of Cubs minor leaguers eligible for selection in 2018 Rule 5 Draft below). The 27-year old Black was originally drafted and signed by the New York Yankees in 2012 (4th round pick - Faulkner U.) and was traded to the Cubs in July 2013 in exchange for OF Alfonso Soriano. He is rehabbing from August 2018 right elbow surgery that followed February 2017 TJS, so now he will be able to continue his off-season rehab uninterrupted at the Cubs UAPC in Mesa.   

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11/3 ORIGINAL POST

Now that six Cubs major leaguers (RHP , LHP , LHP , INF , C , and LHP ) and , the Cubs will need to focus on their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) as it pertains to signing free-agents and acquiring players via trade or waiver claim, and protecting players from possible selection in the MLB Rule 5 Draft. 

At present, there is only one slot open on the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), but the Cubs will probably need at least three slots (maybe four) to be open when they add Rule 5 Draft-eligible players to the 40 on or before the 11/20 deadline for setting off-season minor league rosters. Then they will almost certainly need additional slots on the 40 beyond that for any free-agent(s) they might sign and for any player(s) they might acquire in a trade (if it isn't a straight one-for-one deal), claim off waivers, or select in the Rule 5 Draft. 

As I have mentioned previously, it's very possible that the Cubs will try and run LHP , OF , and INF (who were claimed off waivers this week) back through waivers in order to clear additional slots on their MLB 40-man roster in preparation for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. The fact that the Cubs (who have the #25 waiver claim priority) were able to acquire Vasto, Field, and Reinheimer off waivers means they have a good chance of securing waivers on the trio if they put them back on waivers again ASAP. And there would be no restrictions on outrighting Vasto, Field, and Reinheimer during the off-season, either (which is probably one of the reasons the Cubs claimed those particular players). They are not so they cannot elect free-agency if outrighted, they do not have so they didn't have to be outrighted by 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day aftef the final game of the World Series, and they do not have  status so waivers can be requested during the off-season.

RHP and OF are in the same situation as Vasto, Field, and Reinheimer (no off-season restrictions on being outrighted), so they are also candidates to get run through waivers prior to the 11/20 minor league roster deadline as well, the main difference being the Cubs signed and developed Tseng and Zagunis, so the Cubs may value them more than a player they claimed off waivers from another MLB organization.  

Two other players on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster (C-1B and RHP ) have Draft-Excluded Player status, so there are off-season restrictions as far as outrighting them to the minors is concerned. And RHRP is an MLB Rule 55 player, so he can't be outrighted until he signs a 2019 contract (and the Cubs can't force him to sign until the March 1st auto-renewal date). So other than by trade or outright release, the only way T. Davis, Webster, and Hancock can be removed from the 40 during the off-season is by non-tendering the player on 11/30 (the MLB contract tender date, which was moved up to 11/30 this year because the normal contract tender date of 12/2 falls on a Sunday). So it would be a bit more difficult getting T. Davis, Webster, and Hancock off the 40 during the off-season than would be the case with Vasto, Field, Reingheimer, Zagunis, and Tseng, but an 11/30 non-tender would get it done (if the Cubs feel the player's slot on the 40 is needed for another player). And the added benefit of non-tendering a player on 11/30 is that he does not need to be placed on waivers in order to be removed from the 40, and he can be subsequently re-signed to a 2019 minor league contract after the Rule 5 Draft (if the player is willing).   

So 70 Cubs minor leaguers (including seven who were eligible to be minor league free-agents but who signed 2019 minor league successor contracts) are eligible for selection in the December 2018 Rule 5 Draft. The Cubs must decide by November 20th which 2018 Rule 5 Draft-eligible player or players to add their MLB 40-man roster to keep the player from being eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft. 

The Cubs also must decide by November 20th whether to place a 2018 Rule 5 Draft-eligible minor league player who is not added to the MLB 40-man roster by the 11/20 deadline on their AAA Iowa reserve list or on the reserve list of an affiliate of a lower classification. At most 38 of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft-eligible Cubs minor leaguers can be placed on the AAA Iowa Reserve List on 11/20. However, although the AAA Reserve List limit is 38, probably more like 32 or 33 of the Rule 5 Draft-eligible players will actually be placed on the AAA Iowa reserve list on 11/20, because slots need to be left open for players the Cubs might want to select in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, as well as for free-agents signed to minor league contracts or players outrighted to the minors after 11/20 but prior to the Rule 5 Draft. (Any Rule 5 Draft-eligible free-agent who signs a 2019 minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft will be eligible for selection). 

Any 2018 Rule 5 Draft-eligible Cubs minor leaguer who is not placed on the AAA Iowa Reserve List on 11/20 will be eligible for selection in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft (the AAA Phase draft price is $24,000 compared to $100,000 for players selected in the Major League Phase, and unlike in the Major League Phase, there is no mechanism available for a club to possibly eventually re-claim a player it loses in the AAA Phase).  

Here are some of the more-noteworthy Cubs minor leaguers who are eligible for selection in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft... 

LIKELY TO BE ADDED TO THE MLB 40-MAN ROSTER BY 11/20
1. , LHSP  (pitching in AFL)
2. , RHSP
3. , 3B-1B
"ON THE BUBBLE" TO BE ADDED TO THE 40 BY 11/20:  
4. , C-INF (playing in AFL)
5. , C (playing in AFL)
6. , RHSP (pitching in AFL) 
UNLIKELY TO BE ADDED TO 40 BUT COULD RECEIVE RULE 5 DRAFT CONSIDERATION:
7. , C-1B 
8. , RHSP 
9. , LHP - SWING (pitching in AFL)
10. , OF
11. , OF
12. , IF-OF
13. , RHRP
14. , RHP - SWING
15. , RHP - SWING

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

The Cubs then added three more post-2017 Rule 5 Draft-eligibles (RHSP , INF , and RHSP ) to the 40 on 11/20 of last year, Bote after hitting a robust 333/395/536 for the Mesa Solar Sox in the post-season Arizona Fall League. (It's not unusual for the Cubs to assign a Rule 5 Draft-eligible player to the Arizona Fall League, as the AFL is often used as a "proving ground" for pitchers and position-players who are under consideration for promotion to an MLB 40-man roster). 

So if it's like 2017, expect the Cubs to add three Rule 5 Draft-eligible players to their MLB 40-man roster on 11/20.  

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RULE 5 DRAFT
 

The MLB Rule 5 Draft is held on the 2nd Thursday in December and is presently the last order of business at the MLB WINTER MEETINGS. It is a mechanism that allows MLB clubs to select (draft) players off minor league reserve lists.

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

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

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



RULE 5 DRAFT ELIGIBILITY


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS ELIGIBLE FOR SELECTION IN 2018 RULE 5 DRAFT (last updated 11-14-2018):

NOTE: Rule 5 Draft-eligible players most-likely to be on AAA Iowa Reserve List on 11/20 are in bold/italics/underlined (if player not added to MLB 40-man roster by 11/20)

Anderson Acevedo, RHP (Second-Contract Player signed for 2019)
Tyler Alamo, C-1B    
Gioskar Amaya, INF (signed 2019 minor league successor contract)
Luis Aquino, RHP (Second-Contract Player signed for 2019) 
Luis Ayala, OF  
Yasiel Balaguert, 1B-OF (signed 2019 minor league successor contract)
Wynton Bernard, OF (Article XX-D player - signed 2019 minor league contract ) 
Corey Black, RHP (signed 2019 minor league contract 
Casey Bloomquist, RHP 
Andres Bonalde, LHP  
Craig Brooks, RHP 
James Buckelew, LHP (Second-Contract Player signed for 2019)
Charcer Burks, OF  
Roberto Caro, OF (signed 2019 minor league successor contract)
Eric Castillo, C (signed 2019 minor league successor contract)
Trevor Clifton, RHP 
Alfredo Colorado, RHP  
Yan de la Cruz, RHP (Second-Contract Player signed for 2019)
Enrique de los Rios, RHP 
Scott Effross, RHP 
Wander Feliz, RHP (ex-OF)
Riger Fernandez, LHP 
Emilio Ferrebus, RHP 
Wladimir Galindo, INF
Hector Alonso Garcia, RHP   
Robel Garcia, INF (Second-Contract Player free-agent signed for 2019)
David Garner, RHP (on AAA Iowa RESTRICTED LIST) 
Dalton Geekie, RHP (Second-Contract Player signed for 2019)
Yapson Gomez, LHP
Eric Gonzalez, C 
Jose Alejandro Gonzalez, RHP (ex-OF)  
Jacob Hannemann, OF (Article XX-D player)
Zach Hedges, RHP  
P. J. Higgins, C 
Jesse Hodges, INF  
Danny Hultzen, LHP (signed 2019 minor league successor contract)
Ryan Kellogg, LHP 
Ryan Lawlor, LHP (Second-Contract player signed for 2019)
Erick Leal, RHP (signed 2019 minor league successor contract)
Vimael Machin, INF 
Brad Markey, RHP 
Junior Marte, RHP 
Marcus Mastrobuoni, C  
Ivan Medina, RHP  
M. T. Minacci, RHP 
Jordan Minch, LHP 
Kevonte Mitchell, OF
Erling Moreno, RHP 
Preston Morrison, RHP 
Rafael Narea, INF 
Richard Nunez, C 
Pablo Ochoa, LHP 
Eugenio Palma, LHP  
Tyler Payne, C 
Henrry Pedra, INF  
Yeiler Peguero, INF 
Jhonny Pereda, C 
Chris Pieters, OF-1B (signed 2019 minor league successor contract)
Eury Ramos, RHP 
Will Remillard, C 
Ruben Reyes, LHP (ex-OF) 
Ian Rice, C 
Andry Rondon, RHP 
Manuel Rondon, LHP
Jose Rosario, RHP 
Justin Steele, LHP 
Jake Stinnett, RHP  
Franklin Tineo, INF 
Sucre Valdez, RHP  
Jason Vosler, INF  
Ryan Williams, RHP
Chesny Young, INF
Rob Zastryzny, LHP (Article XX-D player) 
NOTE: RHP Aneuris Rosario was eligible for selection in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft before being placed on the Disqualified List on 4/24, and as long as he remains on the Disqualified List he will not be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft.  

Additionally, any free-agent who signs a 2019 minor league contract prior to the 2018 Rule 5 Draft will be eligible for selection if the player was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 5th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season, and a minor league player who was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract becomes eligible for selection starting with the 4th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season.

RULE 5 DRAFT RESTRICTIONS:


1. A minor league player eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft cannot be added to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), traded to another organization, or transferred from one minor league reserve list to another within the same organization, starting with the filing of minor league reserve lists on November 20th (or November 19th if November 20th falls on a Saturday or November 18th if November 20th falls on a Sunday) up through the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft.

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

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

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

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

Comments

Wow PHIL! Do your fingers hurt? Thank you!

Lovin’ UMich putting a beating on the Boy-Rape School! Go Blue, baby!

to put the c.hamels $20m deal in perspective outside of the $7m+incentives the cubs "saved" by dealing d.smyly...

h.ryu's great showing late season (except some bad playoffs pitching) beat out years of injuries for a $17.9m QO from the dodgers...

d.keuchel's "not bad" 3.74era/1.31whip showing has the astros hoping he can regain his past with a QO...

p.corbin's first good season since 2013 (it was a great 2018) got him a QO...

there's more factors at play than just the money for all of these players for a variety of reasons, but at face value all of these guys are worth 1yr deals to their front offices for 18-20m.

CRUNCH: After what happened with the bear free-agent market last off-season, it will be interesting to see if a Qualifying Offer of one year guaranteed at $17.9M suddenly becomes a bit more enticing. 

last season's market surprised everyone, especially player agents.

it was a perfect storm of teams not budging, big money teams mostly set, a few tanking teams not looking to invest as well as trading away talent...it all got real cold, really quickly.  you'd swear there was collusion going on, but it seems no one could even find a trace of it going on.

i wonder what would have happened if the cubs waited another 4+ weeks before looking a "chatwood type" because that contract was overpaid before spring training even began.

With the Cubs having apparently exceeded the 2019 CBT ("luxury tax") threshold of $206M by about $15M by virtue of picking up the Cole Hamels option on Friday, here are the potential penalties the Cubs would face in 2019 and into 2020 if their payroll remains above the CBT threshold in 2019:  

Because they did not exceed the CBT threshold in 2018, the Cubs will pay a 20% tax on any amount over the $206M CBT threshold they spend in 2019 (it would have been a 30% tax if they had exceeded the CBT threshold in both 2018 and 2019 and it would have been a 50% tax if they had exceded the CBT threshold in 2017, 2018, and 2019). If they exceed the 2019 CBT threshold by more than 20% (in other words $226M+) they would pay an additional surcharge of 12% on the amount spent in excess of $20M over the threshold. And if they exceed the 2019 CBT threshold by more than $40M ($246M+) they would pay an additional surcharge of 42% on the amount spent in excess of $40M over the threshold (the additional surcharge would have been 45% over $246M+ if they had paid a CBT tax in both 2018 and 2019). 

Also, if the Cubs pay any CBT in 2019, they will have their compensation for losing a post-2019 Article XX-B MLB free-agent who is extended a Qualifying Offer reduced from a draft pick after the 2nd round in the 2020 MLB First-Year Player Draft to a draft pick after the 4th round. Also, if the Cubs sign an Article XX-B Qualified Player after the 2019 season they will have to surrender their second and fifth highest draft picks in the 2020 MLB First-Year Player Draft and would have $1M subtracted from their 2020-21 International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) instead of losing only their second-highest draft pick and having their 2020-21 ISBP reduced by $500K (the latter being the case if they do not exceed the CBT threshold in 2019).

Also, if the Cubs were to exceed the 2019 CBT by more than $40M ($246M+), they would have their first pick in the 2020 First-Year Player Draft moved-down ten slots (the Cubs second overall pick would be moved-down ten slots if their 1st pick is one of the first six overall picks in the draft).  

So the bottom line is, if the Cubs stay aboutt $15M over the CBT threshold in 2019 they would pay a $3M tax (plus the aforementioned draft pick compensation and ISBP penalties if they sign an Article XX-B QO post-2019). And if they are $40M over the 2019 CBT threshold but don't exceed $40M over, the tax would be $10.5M (plus the same draft pick compenstion and ISBP penaties they receive if they are $15M over). Which means if the Cubs were to sign a free-agent to a contract with an AAV of $25M they would have to pay a tax of $10.5M post-2019 (they are already on the hook for $3M anyway), but with $50M+ in payroll coming off the books post-2019 (Hamels, Zobrist, Cishek, Strop, Kintzler, and Duensing, and posibly Morrow and/or Quintana).  

countdown until a.russell is cut or traded...

Perhaps non-tendered.

Phil,  I  say re-sign Chavez and go all in on Harper. Then call it an off season .

GEORGE A: I think the Cubs will generally try and address needs by making trades and signing free-agents to minor league contracts rather than by signing free-agents to MLB contracts, but if they do sign an MLB FA or two, I would say the most likely would be a LHRP (like Zach Britton) and a veteran back-up catcher (like Martin Maldonado). I don't see the Cubs pursuing Harper or Machado.  

And SS depth... 

I may be alone on this, but I think that Jed Lowrie makes tons of sense for the roster.  JL can play an above agerage 2B, the L/R splits aren't scary, and he can play SS.  

Recent posturing aside, I doubt Addison Russell will be back.  They have to do something to add SS depth to the roster, and not just emergency depth at AAA.  It isn't reasonable to expect Javy to play all 9 innings of 162 games. 

I am a Lowrie man too.

"I doubt Addison Russell will be back."  It's like throwing your wedding ring in the trash because he/she was unfaithful. Sell it!--and if it's been devalued, you have to wait.

It's more like divorcing your spouse because he/she was abusive. To be fair, neither analogy applies well. But a player is a human and not just a material object (like a ring) with financial value; their behavior and their ethics matter. Of course, the front office will probably feel some obligation to what is "best for the team" in a financial sense and in terms of talent. And whether the player is on their team or not doesn't change what they have done and may have little effect on what they will do in the future. But trying to maximize the value of a player while distancing yourself from them because they have abused another person feels extremely morally compromised. It's not quite the same as the Astros trading for Roberto Osuna this year, for which they received some due criticism, but it is a lot like the Blue Jays trading away Osuna (and few people had anything to say about that).

Also, engagement/wedding rings never recoup their orginal retail value. That shit's a scam. :P

Usually when I get on my moral high horse, it concerns someone older than Russell, who was an MLB all-star at 22 and was probably quite full of himself. Usually these guys figure out what is at stake for them financially and start to accelerate the maturation process. I look at him the way I assume the Cubs do, as a commodity.

I don't feel exactly on my moral high horse about this. I don't have a great idea about how to address domestic violence in baseball (or other high profile athletics) in a way that will actually protect the people most vulnerable and decrease abuse. But I think recognizing players as humans and not merely as commodities would be a part of any adequate solution.

But the front office will almost certainly end up doing something that attempts to extract some sort of baseball/financial value, and I'll continue to think/feel that it is gross to a greater or lesser degree. And that will include wondering how baseball could treat its players/prospects differently such that they would be less likely to abuse partners.

I just wouldn't presume to have any relationship to these players at all.

They're all commodities to me, except Rizzo (for some reason).

Phil, that's my fear.  Offense was the real problem in 2018. Minor moves means counting on Bryant, Rizzo, Baez, Schwarber and Contreras to mash.  Then Almora, Heyward to put up .780-.800 OPS.  Kind of optimistic for my money.

With all of the Premium Season Ticket locations going online 2019, and the new broadcast deals on the horizon, this team is printing money. They can afford the penalties. Its, do they want to take the hit while they dont have a trade partner yet for Chatwalk, Heyward, Schwarbs, Russell, etc. 

rizzo and freeman both win NL GG for 1st.

dj lemahieu wins for 2nd, n.markakis wins for RF

"According to Jon Heyman of FanCred Sports, Bartolo Colon intends to continue his playing career in 2019."

nice.  woo, old guy players.

he's 46 years old next may.  some question whether he's actually a bit older.

Wilbur Wood making a comeback too.

So is Mr. Ed...”Wilburrrr”

Leo Durocher will not make a comeback.

https://youtu.be/AVm-HwAkVp8

"Christian Yelich, Javier Baez and Nolan Arenado were announced Monday as finalists for the 2018 National League MVP award."

"Asked whether Addison Russell will remain a member of the Cubs in 2019, agent Scott Boras said, "I have no expectation otherwise and I have not been told anything otherwise."

Boras noted that he's been in communication with the Cubs' decision-makers and that they're all "directly involved" with Russell while he undergoes therapy."

okay, whatever.  if he does make it back maybe cubs fans can be classy and not give him a standing-O for whatever reason people keep giving guys like this standing-O's after crap like this.

i wouldn't complain to see him go, but i don't think he crossed over into the "don't deserve to play the game" territory even if he's in "shitty human being" territory.

If I were a GM and I were considering cutting or trading a player because of their history of domestic abuse, I wouldn't notify their agent ahead of time. So why ask Boras about this?

All things being equal--which, I'll admit, they're usually not with Russell--he's worth a frontline pitcher in a trade. He was a real catch when the Cubs traded for him out of double-A.  The pitcher they sent to Oakland has earned 122 starts since that trade.

I’ll Is there a possibility of rehabilitating Addy’s reputation?  What if he completes his counseling, makes a plausible apology and a sizable donation to a women’s charity?

baez, silver slugger, 2nd base

ugg...corey black back.

i was hoping his never-ending victim complex would finally get out of the system.

when he's not talking crap and laughing about it, he's climbing up on the cross to complain (or outright rage) about the need for civility when people are talking crap to him and laughing about it.  it's a special kind of delusion shared by too many on the planet.

So true Crunch.

Buster Olney reporting Cubs open to trading Bryant which is a terrible idea imo

For whom, Mike Trout?

Buster is an idiot on this.

That does not get published if there isn't something to it.  Doesn't mean he will be traded or it is even a serious exploration, but there is some specific reason that was leaked and confirmed from multiple sources and I find it incredibly doubtful Buster just made that up.

 

Gordon Wittenmyer‏ @GDubCub

Bryant is not being shopped. Cubs doing nothing more than operating under longstanding policy of listening with a "no untouchables" policy. No different than any other year. Would take a shocking haul/scenario for team to consider moving him.

n.arenado beats out baez for the NL "platinum glove" award.

aj pollock turns down his QO (17.9m)

he hit .257/.316/.484 in his 3rd injury shortened season in a row (21 HR).

he does play a legit good CF, but wow...that's a hell of a risk.  i mean, someone will give him a multi-season deal, but it seems he's looking to snag it at the expense of one hell of a single-season pay day.

...ryu accepted his QO.  d.keuchel, p.corbin, y.grandal, and b.harper turned theirs down (as expected).  c.kimbrel is gonna roll the dice after he rejected his offer.  kimbrel turned down one hell of a single-season payday in search of a multi-year deal, himself.

Well the D-backs sure dodged a bullet with AJ turning down the QO. I can't imagine Pollock will get offered more than $50M on a 3 or 4 year contract to trigger compensation to AZ, but stranger things sure have happened in past offseasons. 

s.ohtani AL ROY

r.acuna NL ROY

AZ Phil, after seeing the players in the AFL, who do you see the Cubs adding to the major league roster? Are there any sleepers that might be a surprize?

HAGSAG: Just the same as I have listed in the post above. Justin Steele (and Trevor Clifton and Jason Vosler) are likely to be added to the MLB 40-man roster, and P. J. Higgins, Jhonny Pereda, and Erick Leal are still "on the bubble" (meaning could be added to the 40 depending on how many roster slots the Cubs allocate to Rule 5 Draft eligibles). Last year the Cubs added three Rule 5 Draft eligibles to the 40 prior to the 11/20 deadline (Adbert Alzolay, David Bote, and Oscar de la Cruz). 

Steele solidified his spot with what he showed the Cubs in AFL games, and Leal improved his stock with his AFL work. However, Leal could end up like Pedro Araujo last year (who, like Leal, pitched well in the AFL despite never pitching above Hi-A), meaning he will be left off the 40 and then get selected in the Rule 5 Draft. 

Big up congrats to John Beasley, who smoked the whole stinkin' lot of us with his 2018 predictions: http://bit.ly/tcr2018a

Also, the deadline for the Free Agents Predictions is Monday. Hurry up before anyone else comes off the board! http://bit.ly/tcr1819

c.yelich wins NL MVP with 29/30 votes (degrom with the other)

baez finishes 2nd...arenado 3rd

AFL comes to an end...good showings by some kiddo cubbies hitters...

n.hoener - .337/.362/.506 (4 doubles, 4 triples, 1hr)

t.giambrone - .327/.400/.490 (2 doubles, 2hr - part time player)

impressive, but AFL tends to favor the hitters and neither showing stands out from the league.

as far as the pitching goes, while there were some bright spots (including some decent streaks) none of the cubs AFL pitchers made a spectacular showing.

http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=t_ibp&si...

There has been some discussion at a couple of other Cubs blogs about the possible advantages of the Cubs acquiring OF Yasmany Tomas from Arizona in order to reduce the Cubs payroll AAV in 2019 and 2020, but I think the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) rules have been a bit misunderstood. 

If a player signed to a major league contract was outrighted to the minors prior to December 1, 2016 (the date the current CBA went into effect), his contract AAV does - NOT - count against his club's current CBT (luxury tax) liability, but if a player signed to a major league contract was sent outright to the minors on or after December 1, 2016, his contract AAV - DOES - count toward his club's current CBT (luxury tax) liability even though the player is no longer on an MLB 40-man roster.  

So (for example), OF Rusney Castillo's contract AAV ($10.35M) does - NOT - count against the Red Sox current CBT (luxury tax) liability and RHP Yaisel Sierra's contract AAV ($5M) and INF Erisbel Arruebarrena's contract AAV ($6.5M) do - NOT - count against the Dodgers current CBT (luxury tax) liability because all three were sent outright to the minors prior to December 1, 2016, but Yasmany Tomas's contract AAV ($11.41M) - DOES - count against the Diamondbacks' current CBT (luxury tax) liability because he was sent outright to the minors in April 2018. 

However, if a player who was sent outright to the minors prior to 12-1-2016 is added back to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) anytime on or after 12-1-2016, the player's remaining contract AAV is subject to his club's CBT (luxury tax) liability. Which is why Castillo, Sierra, and Arruebarrena are buried in the minor leagues and will likely remain there until their contracts expire.  

Bottom line is, if the Cubs were to acquire Yasmany Tomas (for example) from the Diamondbacks and take on Tomas's remaining salary ($32.5M combined in 2019-20), the AAV hit on the Cubs CBT (luxury tax) liability would be $11.41M (- NOT - $0) in both 2019 and 2020 (same as it is for the Diamondbacks right now) because Tomas was outrighted to the minors after December 1, 2016, and the actual salary to be paid over the two seasons would be $32.5M (which is about $9.5M more than the contract's AAV because his annual salary has gradually escalated over the length of the contract).

So a Tyler Chatwood for Yasmany Tomas swap would only save the Cubs about $1.25M in AAV in 2019 and the same in 2020 (Tomas's contract AAV is $11.41M and Chatwood's contract AAV is $12.67M) while the Cubs would have to pay about $7M more in actual salary over the same two years 2019-20 (the difference between Tomas's and Chatwood's actual salaries 2019-20). Would the D'backs go for that? Of course they would. But the Cubs would be fools to make a trade like that (very minimal payroll AAV relief in 2019 and 2020 offset by $7M in additional salaries in 2019-20 paid to a player they don't need).

Now, if the deal was Tomas for Chatwood and Brandon Kintzler, the aggregate salaries would just about exactly cancel each other out with slight benefit to the D'backs ($30.5M for Chatwood and Kintzler vs. $32.5M for Tomas 2019-20) and the Cubs would be able to subtract almost $6.25M in payroll AAV in 2019 ($11.41M for Tomas vs $17.67M combined for Chatwood and Kintzler) and $1.5M in 2020 (Tomas vs Chatwood only). This version would still be fairly appealing to the D'backs because they would save $2M and it would also be appealing to the Cubs because of the payroll AAV savings that could possibly help them get under the CBT threshold in 2019 and save them having to pay a luxury tax (but only if it's close and the payroll AAV saved by trading Chatwood and Kintzler for Tomas actually makes a difference between paying a CBT tax or not paying a CBT tax).

And if the deal was Tomas for Chatwood, Kintzler, and Brian Duensing, the aggregate salaries would still just about exactly cancel each other out with slight benefit to the Cubs ($34M for Chatwood, Kintzler, and Duensing vs. $32.5M for Tomas 2019-20) and the Cubs would be able to subtract almost $9.75M in payroll AAV in 2019 ($11.41M for Tomas vs. $21.17M combined for Chatwood, Kintzler, and Duensing) and $1.5M in 2020 (Tomas vs. Chatwood only). This version is probably not as appealing to the D'backs because they have to add $1.5M in salaries combined 2019-20 instead of subtracting $2M, but it would be VERY appealing to the Cubs even if Tomas spends the next two seasons at AAA and never sees MLB, just because of the substantial payroll AAV savings. And it wouldn't cost the Cubs any additional salary to bring Tomas up to Chicago in September when rosters expand and then outright him back to the minors after the season. His contract is guaranteed and the payroll AAV hit is the same whether he's playing in AAA or in MLB. 

Two post-2018 Cubs free-agents (INF Mike Freeman and C Bobby Wilson) have signed 2019 minor league contracts with other MLB organizations, Freeman with CLE and B. Wilson with DET. 

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  • crunch 3 hours 21 min ago (view)

    cole hamels continues to suck.

    3.1, 4.1, 3.1 innings his last 3 starts.  he hasn't been the same since coming back after his july injury rest.

     

  • crunch 4 hours 17 min ago (view)

    so far so good...

    go schwarb

    it's kinda frightening that schwarb in LF is a better option than schwarb playing 1st with rizzo out.  i wonder how bad it really is...

     

  • crunch 7 hours 5 min ago (view)

    zobrist / cast / bryant / schwarb / contreras / caratini (1st) / heyward / hoe / ham

     

  • crunch 7 hours 8 min ago (view)

    rizzo to wear a boot for 5-7 days then they'll see where it goes from there.

     

  • Charlie 8 hours 1 min ago (view)

    It makes sense, for sure. I'm more concerned about the Brewers than the Nats, though. The optimal outcome would be Cubs sweep, Nats sweep, Brewers get swept. Can't pass the Nats that way, but can take the division lead and put the Brewers further back.

    Odds on that (using Fangraphs #s):

    Cubs sweep: 24.6%

    Cubs sweep and Cards get swept: 4.9%

    Cubs sweep, Cards get swept, Brewers get swept: 0.29%

    I can dream.

     

  • bradsbeard 9 hours 53 min ago (view)

    I just want whatever will maximize the odds of the playoffs. The Cubs have the opportunity to take care of the Cards themselves. Ideally there is still a wild card slot for them if they can’t. 

     

  • Charlie 10 hours 9 min ago (view)

    Absolutely agree. Winning the division is both much better for playoff progression chances *and* far more satisfying than coming in second to the Cards. I root for whatever gets them closest to that at this point.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 10 hours 33 min ago (view)

    Gotta root against StL. I don’t want a wild card appearance. I don’t like our chances at home vs Scherzer, Strasburg, or Corbin a whole lot more than I do in Washington.

     

  • bradsbeard 11 hours 20 min ago (view)

    I’d almost feel better if the Cards took 2 of 3 from the Nats. If the Cubs sweep, they'd be just 1 game back of the Cards and a half game up on the Nats.  

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 11 hours 56 min ago (view)

    Even worse for StL. 7 vs Cubs, 3 vs Nationals

    The fate of Cubs and Cardinals season is going to come down to 7 games against one another. Cubs gotta win 5 if they want to win division I think. Good thing 4 of 7 are at Wrigley.

     

  • crunch 15 hours 9 min ago (view)

    13 games left for CHC...7 vs STL

    13 games left for MIL...all vs teams under .500 (SD, PIT, CIN, COL)

    buckle up...it's gonna be a "fun" couple of weeks.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 15 hours 32 min ago (view)

    The way MIL is playing makes me... uneasy. Too bad we didn’t bury them. Especially because they won’t play anyone with a winning record from here on out.

    That said, much as I LOATHE the team and fans at Wrigley North, I’d still rather see them take the division than the shitbirds.

     

  • crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    bote really needs to overcome his weird habbit of trying to duck under high/inside pitches rather than leaning out of them.

     

  • crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    47 cubs runs in this 3 game series...14 HRs.

     

  • crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    STL up by 1...MIL with 2 outs, bases loaded, top 9th.

    r.braun grand slam.  MIL leads by 3.

    barring some crazy comebacks, STL's lead should shrink to 2 games.

     

  • crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    sprained right ankle for rizzo...xray showed no break...MRI tomorrow