12/2 UPDATE #2: The Cubs have non-tendered LHP Gerardo Concepcion, RHP Conor Mullee, LHP Zac Rosscup, and 3B Christian Villanueva. Read my original post below to find out why the Cubs did this. The Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) now stands at 35 (five slots are open). As I mentioned in the original post below, the Cubs can re-sign any or all four of the non-tendered guys to minor league contracts with an NRI to Spring Training (if the player is willing - TBD).
12/2 UPDATE #1: The Cubs signed free-agent LHP Brian Duensing (ex-BAL) to a one-year contract ($2M). As an Article XX-B free-agent, Duensing will receive an automatic "no trade" right through June 15th. He can waive this right, but if he does, he can be traded for cash and/or player contracts with a maximum aggregate value of $50,000. The Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) now stands at 39 (one slot is open).
11/29 UPDATE: The Cubs signed free-agent OF Jon Jay (ex-SD) to a one-year contract ($8M). As an Article XX-B free-agent, Jay will receive an automatic "no trade" right through June 15th. He can waive this right, but if he does, he can be traded for cash and/or player contracts with a maximum aggregate value of $50,000. The Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) now stands at 38 (two slots are open).
11/22 ORIGINAL POST: The Cubs decided last Friday to add four minor leaguers who were eligible for selection in next month's MLB Rule 5 Draft (C-1B Victor Caratini, OF Jacob Hannemann, LHP Jack Leathersich, and RHP Duane Underwood Jr) to their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), thus preventing them from being drafted.
The next order of business for the Cubs will be to decide whether to tender or not tender a 2017 major league contract to the 30 unsigned players on the club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster).
TENDERING MAJOR LEAGUE CONTRACTS
If an unsigned player on an MLB Reserve List is not tendered a contract on December 2nd (or on December 1st if December 2nd falls on a Saturday, or on November 30th if December 2nd falls on a Sunday), the player is said to be "Non-Tendered," he is immediately removed from his club's MLB 40-man roster, and he becomes an unrestricted free-agent, free to sign a major league or minor league contract with any club, including the club that non-tendered the player. A "Non-Tendered" player receives no termination pay, and the player's former club receives no compensation if the player subsequently signs with another club.
Each unsigned player on an MLB 40-man roster who is tendered a contract must be offered at least the MLB minimum salary ($535,000 in 2017) and (with a couple of exceptions) at least 80% of the player's previous season's salary, and at least 70% of the player's salary from two seasons back.
Some players have a "minor league split" salary in their contract which they are paid if they are sent to the minors. In most cases, a player's minor league "split" salary must be at least 60% of the player's salary from the previous season. The one exception is if a free-agent signs a major league contract with a minor league "split" salary, the "60% rule" does not apply
The minor league "split" minimum salary in 2017 is $43,250 for players with no MLB Service Time who are on an MLB 40-man roster for the first time, with $86,500 the minimum minor league "split" salary for all other players.
An unsigned player under club control who has accrued at least three but less than six years of MLB Service Time is automatically eligible for salary arbitration. Also, any unsigned player with at least two years but less than three years of MLB Service Time who accrued at least 86 days of MLB Service Time the previous season can qualify for salary arbitration as a so-called "Super Two" if the player is among the top 22% in MLB Service Time of players in that group.
CUBS SALARY ARBITRATION ELIGIBLE PLAYERS POST-2016: (last updated 11-7-2016)
Jake Arrieta, RHP
Justin Grimm, RHP
Hector Rondon, RHP
Pedro Strop, RHP
If a club and a player eligible for salary arbitration cannot agree on a contract, the player can request the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to file for salary arbitration. NOTE: Clubs do NOT offer salary arbitration to players. It's up to the player to request salary arbitration if he is not satisfied with the club's salary tender.
The MLBPA is responsible for delivering all requests for salary arbitration to the MLB Labor Relations Department (MLB LRD) on the Tuesday immediately prior to the third Friday in January; Once salary arbitration has been requested, the player submits his desired salary to the MLBPA, the club submits its salary offer to the MLB LRD, and the MLBPA and MLB LRD exchange the two figures on the third Friday in January. The MLBPA and MLB LRD then schedule a hearing with a three-person arbitration panel. Hearings are held on various dates during the first three weeks of February.
The club's offer must be at least the MLB minimum salary, and, in most cases, must be at least 80% of the player's previous year's salary and at least 70% of the player's salary from two seasons back. However, if the player received a raise in excess of 50% by a salary arbitration panel the previous season, a 20% maximum salary reduction from the previous season and a 30% maximum salary reduction from two seasons back does not apply, and the club only has to offer at least the MLB minimum salary.
After arbitration has been requested, the player and the club can continue to negotiate back & forth, and the player can withdraw from the process any time up until the hearing. And in fact this frequently happens, as the player and the club will often agree to just "split the difference" (something the panel cannot do). If the matter does go to a hearing, the arbitration panel must choose either the club's offer or the player's figure.
Win or lose, the player is awarded a standard one-year MLB contract with no "minor league split" salary or incentive/performance bonuses. Also, the contract is not guaranteed, so if the player is released during Spring Training, the club would only owe the player 30 days or 45 days salary as termination pay, depending on when the player is released. (A player on an MLB 40-man roster receives 100% of what remains of his salary if he is released during the regular season).
NOTE: The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) is very sensitive about salary arbitration, so if a player is victorious at an arbitration hearing and is awarded a contract by an arbitration panel and then is subsequently released by his club prior to or during Spring Training, the MLBPA will almost always file a grievance on behalf of the player, claiming the player was released for economic reasons only (which is not permitted), and asking that the released player receive 100% of his salary as termination pay. In that situation, a club would have to show (by submitting official Spring Training game stats) that the released player was out-performed in Spring Training games by another player (or players) competing for that roster spot.
An unsigned player under club control who does not yet qualify for salary arbitration ultimately has to either accept the club's offer or just not play.
A club will negotiate with the player up to a point, but if the player has not signed a contract for the current season by March 1st, the club has the right to unilaterally dictate the player's salary and renew the player's contract from the previous season (albeit for an amount not less than the MLB minimum salary, and not less than 80% of the player's salary from the previous season and not less than 70% of the player's salary from two season's back).
These players are the ones who have a "minor league split" salary in their contract, which the player is paid if he is sent to the minors. A player's "minor league split" salary must be at least equal to the "minor league split" minimum salary and must be at least 60% of the player's salary from the previous season. NOTE: If a free-agent signs a major league contract with a minor league "split" salary, the "60% rule" does not apply.
CUBS UNSIGNED AUTO-RENEWAL (PRE-ARBITRATION) PLAYERS (last updated 11-22-2016):
Albert Almora Jr, OF
Javy Baez, INF
Aaron Brooks, RHP
Kris Bryant, IF-OF
Jake Buchanan, RHP
Jeimer Candelario, INF
Victor Caratini, C-1B
Gerardo Concepcion, LHP
Willson Contreras, C
Carl Edwards Jr, RHP
Jacob Hannemann, OF
Kyle Hendricks, RHP
Pierce Johnson, RHP
Tommy LaStella, INF
Jack Leathersich, LHP
Mike Montgomery, LHP
Conor Mulle, RHP
Felix Pena, RHP
Jose Rosario, RHP
Zac Rosscup, LHP
Addison Russell, INF
Kyle Schwarber, C-OF
Matt Szczur, OF
Duane Underwood Jr, RHP
Christian Villanueva, INF
Rob Zastryzny, LHP
WHO GETS NON-TENDERED?
The players most-likely to be non-tendered are players eligible for salary arbitration who are injured or who have borderline value to the club, such that the club does not want to take a chance that the player will request salary arbitration and then win big in an arbitration hearing (which is always a crap-shoot). A club will sometimes non-tender an arbittration-eligible player (making him a free-agent) and then try to re-sign the player for a defined salary that is agreeable to the club. The four Cubs eligible for salary arbitration post-2016 (Jake Arrieta, Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop, and Hector Rondon) don't fit that profile, and so all four will almost certainly be tendered.
Also, if the Cubs do not want to risk losing a player off waivers who is out of minor league options (like Christian Villanueva), they might opt to non-tender the player and then try and re-sign him to a minor league contract (but for "big league money") and an NRI to Spring Training. The player could simply decline the offer, however, so there is some risk involved. But if the player is likely to be claimed off waivers anyway, a non-tender with the possibility that the player might sign a minor league contract could be the only way to retain the player for another season.
Others who could be non-tendered are pre-arbitration (auto-renewal) players who cannot be sent to the minors either because they have MLB Rule 55 status and can't be outrighted to the minors until the player signs a 2017 contract (for example, that would be Conor Mullee, Zac Rosscup, and Christian Villanueva) or because they have Draft-Excluded status (like Jake Buchanan does) or because they are due to receive a substantial minor league "split contract" minimum salary ($300K+) by virtue of having spent the entire preceding MLB regular season on the MLB 60-day DL (like Aaron Brooks, Zac Rosscup, and Christian Villanueva did). In the case of the latter, the only way to avoid having to pay a too-high minor league "split contract" salary is by non-tendering the player and then re-signing him for a much lower minor league salary. Of course the player may not agree to re-sign after being non-tendered, so the Cubs would be taking a chance that the player might decline and just walk away.
NOTE Last year the Cubs claimed LHRP Jack Leathersich (who was rehabbing from July 2015 TJS) off waivers from the New York Mets in November, and then non-tendered him two weeks later and re-signed him to a 2016 minor leagie contract (with an NRI to Spring Training), thus retaining him for the 2016 seson, while also simultaneously clearing a slot on the MLB 40-man roster.
This situation is a bit different than the others mentioned above, but another player the Cubs might want to non-tender is LHRP Gerardo Concepcion. His original five-year $3M contract signed in 2012 has expired, but he is still under club control and is now an auto-renewal player. Because his 2016 salary was $1M, the most he can be cut (if he is tendered) is 20% (major league salary) and 40% (minor league "split salary"). So if he is tendered, Concepcion would receive a 2017 major league contract with a minimum $800K major league salary and a minimum $600K minor league "split salary," both probably way beyond what a pitcher like Concepcion is worth. Presuming they want to retain Concepcion, the Cubs could non-tender him (making him a "second contract" free-agent), and then attempt to re-sign him to a 2017 contract (either major league or minor league) with a more reasonable salary. But again, nothing compels Concepcion to re-sign with the Cubs if he is non-tendered.
So the Cubs could non-tender as many as five players (Brooks, Concepcion, Mullee, Rosscup, and/or Villanueva) on December 2nd, with Buchanan a somewhat less-likely 6th candidate to be non-tendered.
KingKongvsGodzilla 21 hours 55 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 2 hours 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 3 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 12 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 4 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 14 hours ago (view)
Has it been announced whether there will be a DR winter league this winter?
tim815 3 days 20 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 56 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 6 hours ago (view)
Phil, were you watching from outside the stadium?