Cubs Sign Two Minor League Free-Agents

Baseball America reports that the Cubs have signed Rule 55 second-contract minor league free-agent RHSP (ex-LAA) and Rule 55 minor league 6YFA LHP to 2016 minor league contracts. 

Both will be eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft, although it's not likely that Rucinski would get picked because he was not claimed off waivers when he was outrighted in September, and the only way Antigua gets claimed is if the Cubs placed him on the AA Tennessee reserve list, which would make him eligible for selection in the AAA Phase of the draft ($12,000 draft price with no roster restrictions and no chance to be re-claimed).  

The 6'2 190 27-year old Rucinski started two games for the Angels/Cubs co-op team in the AZ Advanced Instructional League last month, so Cubs Assistant Minor League Pitching Coordinator Mike Mason (who was Pitching Coach for the Angels/Cubs AZAIL co-op team) had a chance to see Rucinski up close & personal. I saw Rucinski pitch in both of the AZAIL games, and I would describe him as a polished pitcher who throws a 91-93 MPH fastball, a slider, and a change-up. Nothing special. 

Rucinski pitched collegiately at Ohio State, and after finishing his college career and going undrafted, he signed with the independent Rockford Riverhawks (Frontier League) in 2011. His contract was purchased by the Cleveland Indians in mid-June of that year, and he pitched for three different Tribe affiliates (AZL, NYP, and MWL) in 2011, but was releaeed at the end of minor league camp in 2012. 

After being released by the Indians, Rucinski returned to indy ball (Rockford) where he emerged as one of the top starting pitchers in the Frontier League (he led the FL in strikeouts). before having his contract purchased by the Los Angeles Angels in August 2013. 

Rucinski started five games at Hi-A Inland Empire (Califormia League) after being acquired by the Angels, and then was moved up to AA Arkansas in 2014, where he was the ace of the Travelers staff. In fact he was so impressive at AA that he was called up to MLB by the Angels in July 2014. (Baseball America ranked Rucinski as the Angels #18 prospect post-2014). Rucinski was optioned to AAA Salt Lake City in 2015, riding the "SLC-LA shuttle" (he was the Angels version of Dallas Beeler).

Over the course of 1-1/2 seasons, Rucinski saw action in seven MLB games, and he was not effective (6.28 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, .322 OppBA, and 8/12 BB/K in 14.1 IP). He also
struggled with walks and the gopher ball in the PCL (allowing 44 walks and 21 HR in just 112.1 IP), and was outrighted to AAA after the 2015 season. He was eligible to be a Rule 55 second-contract minor league free-agent post-2015 because he had been released previously in his career, making him available to sign with the Cubs even though he has not spent seven seasons in the minors.  

Rucinski will likely get an NRI to Spring Training with the Cubs next Spring, and then be a SP at AAA Iowa. 

The 25-year old 6'1 205 Antigua was originally signed by the Cubs as a 16-year old out of the Dominican Republic in 2006, and he has spent nine seasons in the Cubs organization. He was a Rule 55 minor league 6YFA after the 2013 season and after last season, too, and opted to re-sign with the Cubs post-2013, post-2014 and now again post-2015.  

Antigua was a decent prospect at one time (he was rated the Cubs #19 prospect by BA six years ago), but he has subsequently morphed into sort of a minor league version of Travis Wood, in that he is a "swingman" who can start or relieve, pitch just about every day, and can be moved (without any hassle) to any level in the system where he might be needed. He also is a positive mentor for the younger Cubs pitchers, especially the young Latin pitchers.

So although he's kind of a player-coach, Antigua's  stuff is good enough to get outs in the minors, and he is not negatively impacted by getting moved back & forth between the starting rotation and the bullpen or between affiliates. And since left-handers never really die (they just fade away). Antigua could be pitching in the minors for the next ten or 15 years, and maybe somewhere along the line he'll get a taste of The Show. You just never know. 


I am sure Jonathon Mota will be signed next.

"they just fade away" (Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)

Maybe Theo will sign Shark just so he can call Billy Beane and say: "Let's see...Russell? Check. McKinney? Check. Hammel? Check. Ninja? Check. Any other deals?"

Beane cam at least point and laugh at Hammel.

Except that he gave up Russell and McKinney for a half-season of Hammel...

...the wrong half.

AZ PHIL- Is Clayton Richard a free agent or not? One site I see he is, on another no. MLB has him listed as a free agent, Cot's contracts says he is a FA, baseball-reference says he's not, but Cubs have him on active roster. I know that he is just short of MLB 6 years service by just like 15 days, but that doesn't always matter.

Not AZ PHIL but after being DFA'd by the Cubs (after they got him from the Pirates in the "I get a chance in the Majors clause"), the Cubs re-signed him for the remainder of the season. I do not believe service time is an issue for him, so he is eligible to opt for Major League Free Agency - which he is doing and the Cubs or someone else will sign him to an MLB deal. AZ PHIL please correct this if you see fit - but that is the most current info that I'm aware of.

Clayton Richard is absolutely, positively NOT a free-agent. He is under club control through the 2016 season. 

Richard came into the 2015 season with 5+070 days of MLB Service Time, so he only needed to accrue 102 days of MLB Service Time during the 2015 MLB regular season to qualify as an Article XX-B MLB free-agent post-2015.  However,  he spent the first three months of the season at AAA Indianapolis (the Pirates AAA affiliate) and so he did not accrue any MLB Service Time during that period of time. 

The Cubs acquired Richard from the Pirates on July 4th, and he accrued 93 days of MLB Service Time from 7/4 through the conclusion of the MLB regular season on 10/4, bringing him to 5+163 days of MLB Service Time, which is nine days short of what he needed to be a FA post-2015.

But Richard is eligible for salary arbitration post-2015, and the Cubs will need to decide by next Wednesday (12/2) whether to tender him a 2016 contract. If the Cubs do tender Richard a contract and Richard is not agreeable to the salary he is offered, he has the right to file for salary arbitration in January. 

Remember, clubs do NOT offer salary arbitration to players, they only tender or don't tender a contract. It's the player who decides whether or not to file for salary arbitration. 

But fact is, clubs HATE salary arbitration, because it's too unpredrictable, and clubs like certainty. So many clubs like to sign arbitration-eligible players as soon as possible (before the player can file for salary arbiteration), often when contracts are tendered on 12/2.   

Clubs will sometimes non-tender a player on 12./2 in order to get the player off their MLB 40-man roster without having to place the player on waivers, and then re-sign the player to a pre-arranged minor league contract (usually for "big league money" and an NRI to Spring Training), or in order to cut a player more than the allowable 20%, or in order to offer the player a contract with a low base salary plus performance bonuses (which are not part of a standard contract tender), or in order to avoid the possibility of an arbitration-eligible player filing for salary arbitraion.   

So Richard could be tendered on 12/2, but even if he's non-tendered, the Cubs still might try and re-sign him to a minor league contract (for "big league money") plus an NRI to Spring Training, or to a major league contract with a low base salary plus performance bonuses (thus avoiding the possibility of arbitration), and Richard might very well be agreeable to that latter option (a major league contract with a low base salary, plus performance bonuses tied to GAMES, GS, and/or IP), 

Thanks PHIL! I thought only the Cubs had control until the last day of the MLB 2015 Season.

Geo Soto leaves the WSux and signs with the Angels who lost Chris Ianetta to the Mariners. Freed... The Angels also promoted Bobby Scales from director of player development to special assistant says he is, site says he's a Cub, great cooperation between the 2 sites, weird

Did they ever say or who the PTBNL or cash decision on Rodney was or who was the PTBNL in the Austin Jackson deal was yet? Neither was worth whatever they gave up. Cahill and Richard were the only two good "deadline" deals they made. Hunter (given Lake was the odd man out by far and taking up a roster spot) and Haren weren't worth it.

Haren was 4-2 with a 4.01 ERA with the Cubs. Seems like he worked out just as expected.

CUBBIES-4-EVER: It's not unusual for a PTBNL to be chosen after the Rule 5 Draft from the list of Rule 5 eligible players who were not selected. That way, a club gets a player they like (perhaps somebody like OF Jeffrey Baez) without the cumbersome Rule 5 roster restrictions that go with a Rule 5 Draft pick.

The Boston Red Sox did that last year, acquiring Rule 5 Draft eligible SS Marco Hernandez from the Cubs after the conclusion of thd Rule 5 Draft as the PTBNL in the Felix Doubront trade. BTW, Hernandez had a fine year in 2015 (hitting 305/330/454 with 30 2B, 5 3B, and 9 HR combined between AA and AAA) and was added to the Red Sox MLB 40-man roster on 11/20. 

So the Mariners may be waiting until after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft to choose their PTBNL. Otherwise, the typical cash subsititute in a PTBNL deal involving a player on an MLB 40-man roster is $50,000, and sometimes $50,000 (which can be used to make a couple of waiver claims or a Rule 5 Draft pick) might actually be more attractive than any of the players available to be selected as the PTBNL.  

See What The Cubs Are Building This Off-Season For Wrigley Plaza, Clubhouse

that's awesome...makes me look forward to hearing theo talk some more about how the team needs to be creative with finances because money is tight. awesome...awesome...

Really ? They are trying to bring the facility to the 20th century. I think they know what they are doing.

there's nothing like crapping out of the playoffs with a strong/young cheap team after pinching pennies for years then having theo talk about having to be creative with money to make things work for 2016...but hey, baseball isn't baseball without a farmer's market and beer garden plaza with ice rinks. they can do both...then again, if you want to look at it from a business point of view, they don't have to do both because the team is expected to be competitive and the merch+tickets+eyes-on-team are going to be at a peak unless they fail badly. yeah, i think they know what they're doing, too. that said, i doubt they'll cheap out...also just saying we had a theo tempering fan's expectations while the neighborhood takeover keeps happening around the product on the field.

As an Illinois tax payer I appreciate what they r doing

Making the NLCS with a young team = "crapping out of the playoffs with a young team."

let's not get caught up on phrasing for a setup and lose the gist of the post. i don't care what one wants to call the playoff exit. -crapping out +they lost their playoff attempt there. now we can focus on something other than not liking the tone of a line that's setting up a point. we got fed "we'll spend when we got the youth ready" and now we got a front office telling us one week that they don't have the loot to invest heavily in the field product while the following week rolling out the multi-10s-millions plan to build a place to hold music outdoor concerts, ice skate, and sell beer (100 million+ if you count the hotel they're also trying to build at the same time). that said, i think everyone expects them to splash big somewhere and it probably will happen even if this isn't gonna be the dodgers...i don't think anyone expects the dodgers, though...just some support for these kids after saving 10s of millions for many seasons and finally getting a hold of playoff-caliber, cost controlled youth built on a foundation of being cheap and tanking for years. this is the opportunity we were told to wait for.

I didn't like the entire post, if that helps.

of course not. maybe go ice skating and think about it a while. make advanced reservations at the hotel they're starting construction on. check new releases for possible entertainment from the movie screens they want installed. think about renting an office in the new office spaces. write a letter to the cubs requesting your favorite beer be added to the beer garden. lobby your favorite band to play the outdoor venue. ...and in between that maybe they can find $40-50m to invest in the product that all of this revolves around.

Nah, I'll probably just contemplate how they should've done a Padres-style all-in plan.

well, that's the past. we're left with the present. even though that past you're seeing is some weird black/white either/or where hybridization of ideas isn't allowed...nonetheless... the present is ice skating, movies, concerts, beer gardens, hotels, office space and other wonderful baseball activities based around a young, successful baseball team. the present is a team that tanked both payroll and competitiveness for many years to get to a point where there's young and CHEAP talent around so that it becomes both sane and opportunistic to invest in the product on the field for a better shot at push to the playoffs the cubs can aggressively market office space and off-season community for-pay activities. i guess all that really matters is the cubs get that ice skating rink up by next winter. priorities. it's a shame they can't build $100s million projects and spend a few 10s of millions on the centerpiece of it's actual meaning for existence. this point it's worth mentioning again that this whole rant is based off a half-hearted joke based on a poverty check one week followed the next week by a gazillion dollar investment project centered around the team that just got a poverty check.

Yeah, it's the past but you keep complaining based on the past. First they tanked and shouldn't have. Now they make some comments about needing to have a budget and you say they're crying poverty -- all before any trades/signings have been made. (They signed a $155 million pitcher last year, I recall.) FYI, the Cubs have had a skating rink the last couple of years. It's not a permanent structure (obviously) and probably doesn't cost all that much. But who knows, maybe it'll be the reason they don't win a World Series.

I was reminded today about the crappy deal Rickets had to sign with the Tribune that involved taking on a lot of debt and because of that they only have a certain amount they can spend on payroll above their revenue streams. Now I don't know actual #s but ultimately the more things they do to create revenue the more they can spend on payroll. Maybe they can spend lots right now but It's note quite so cut and dry as "they are spending money on building projects they could be spending on payroll."

All money making ventures, which would have been offset with a reasonable TV contract that previous ownership screwed up

"MLB announces #Cubs Minor League RHP Tanner Griggs receives 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for amphetamine" 2014 12th rounder... it's hard to know who to blame...on one hand he's a baseball player, on the other he sells cars in the offseason...either job leads to amphetamine abuse. =p

Cubs acquired Rex Brothers. Awesome fit for this team. Wander Cabrera going to COL.

They can use another Brother

When I first saw the Tweet, I thought there were two guys. Happy Thanksgiving gang! And TheoJed!

Yeah, the Rex brothers, Tyrannosaurus and Oedipus

Well played.

With the Cubs adding Pierce Johnson to their roster and not exposing/losing him to the Rule 5 Draft keeps the trade ancestry tree alive that started in 1999 with Tom Gordon and undrafted Adam Morrissey and includes 17 players, the trade tree progressed to involve the Hee Sop Choi for Derrek Lee deal and the famous Aramis Ramirez/Kenny Lofton deal..Pierce Johnson is the compensation pick for Aramis Ramirez in 2012 Which trumps the Garza trade tree which started in 2006 with Mark DeRosa ending with Zac Rosscup, Neil Ramirez, Justin Grimm, and C.J. Edwards remaining on the team and involves only 15 players

A special after day after Thanksgiving thanks to AZ for his insanely detailed posts on all things roster. I don't know how you keep track of all that stuff - I suspect a chip implant, but whatever it is, it's cool. On the poppa Cubs front, I'm becoming a Cutler believer again. Yesterday he was a game manager, something that has come with seasoning I guess. The grizzled old veteran now, he managed yesterday's game nicely, to the point where even that stall in the red zone really wasn't all that painful because he kept his pal Rodgers off the field for so long. Nice. Meanwhile, I wish the Bears would quietly guarantee the head coaching job to Gase for when Fox retires, and tear up his current contract and pay him a boatload of money to wait for his HC opportunity with the Bears. It's nice to see an OC actually adapt to, in this case, game conditions. That pass to Miller was nice, and overall Gase was obviously focusing on the team not turning over the football.'re flip-flopping again?! Is this legal? What is the rule here on opining definitively and then changing your mind? I am not only surprised at your declaration, but Cutler's better 2015 showing. I don't get it - he went through Martz, Turner, Trestman, Kromer, and now Gase...and he is still here! And. he'll be here mext year too.

2 spots left on the 40-man...wonder if they're going to play around in the rule-5 market...

Rondon 2.0!!


+ Bankruptcy Court

needs more d.beeler and e.jokisch

Happ signs w Jays 3/36 Morsi saying Price won't be a Jay

Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe in the financial impact to the Red Sox for not signing Jon Lester early in the free agent process:
It will be interesting to ultimately add up the cost of letting Jon Lester go. The Red Sox botched up their negotiations with Lester in during spring training of 2014, making an initial offer of $70 million that was roughly $40 million short of what it should have been. Talks broke down and Lester was traded in July. The Sox went downhill, Lester was traded for Yoenis Cespedes and that ultimately became Rick Porcello. Ben Cherington was ousted as GM and Dombrowski was hired. Think about it. If the Sox had simply signed Lester for, say, $125 million, they would have saved Porcello’s contract ($82.5 million), whatever they’re paying Dombrowski (which, at a minimum, is probably $20 million) and whatever they pay for an ace in free agency, which could be $200 million. In the end, not signing Lester could cost three times what signing him would have.

The Tigers are going after Zimmermann and the Red Sox will be throwing money at Price. Bringing Cueto back to the NL with the Cubs is looking like a serious possibility. Thoughts?

The media has linked Cueto and the Cubs approximately zero times this winter. I'm thinking there's just not a lot of interest there on the Cubs' part. It seems unlikely. If the Cubs miss on Price, Grienke, and Zimmerman, they will aim for a mid-rotation starter via free agency or trade. However, I think this scenario also significantly boosts the odds that they extend Arrieta.

CTSteve, thanks for spelling Zimmermann correctly. We don't need another first baseman.

Cubs 3B Christian Villanueva (who is out of minor league options) is hitting 358/464/500 for Obregon in the Mexican Pacific League (LMP), and is leading the LMP in OBP, is second in BAvg and walks, is seventh in SLG, and is tied for 8th in HR. He also has struck out only 16 times in 175 PA. 

Villanueva was acquired from the Texas Rangers in the Ryan Dempster deal at the trade deadline in 2012, and was rated a Top 100 Prospect by Baseball America going into the 2012 season. But he has been mostly blocked at 3B by Mike Olt (first in TEX and then with the Cubs) and then later by Kris Bryant, so he has dropped-off most prospect radar screens over the past couple of years. But Villanueva is a legitimate MLB 3B prospect.  

Zimmermann 5/$110m with Tigers. Youch.

And the updated predications page:

in this market that seems like a decent deal relative to the market. given that d.price will probably get 30m-ish a year, 22m for 29yo zimm doesn't seem bad. i wouldn't complain about him suiting up for the cubs. one less option gone...

Damn wanted Zimmermann

Shit. Blew my prediction! I had them signing Zimmerman and trading for another arm.

Yes! In a 12-way tie for first!

Yeah, this market. Remember when Ted Lilly signed a 4/$40m with the Cubs? It was like "Well, I guess if you can throw a ball, that's what the 3 and 4 starters are all getting." I'm glad I'm not a GM. Of course, they're spending our money...

I'm guessing 3/30 and all the two foot long hot dogs you can eat didn't work

Outfielder Chris Young signs "multiyear" contract w BoSox. Wow, Dombrowski is a buffoon

Not sure I understand the logic, especially for more than one year.

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  • Cubster 9 hours 45 min ago (view)

    10 games left w 5.5 game lead over Reds. Normally thats good but this is 2020. 

    seeded at #2 and obviously fluid but as of tonight Cards would miss the playoffs and #7 seed is Giants.


  • Arizona Phil 9 hours 49 min ago (view)

    Prior to this season, MLB clubs were not permitted to option players to a minor league affiliate whose season had concluded. So with the exception of a minor league affiliate competing in its league's post-season playoffs, most minor league clubs concluded play on Labor Day. And even those minor league clubs that continued to play past Labor Day (while participating in league playoffs) would conclude their season by mid-September. 


  • crunch 10 hours 2 min ago (view)

    cards lost...and dakota hudson left with "elbow tightness"...and they moved into 3rd place behind CIN.

    good day for people who aren't cards fans.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 18 hours 43 min ago (view)

    He's part of the two first names crew on our pitching staff. Jason Adam, Jon Lester, Kyle Ryan


  • Charlie 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    Adam showing a nasty curve ball!


  • Charlie 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    I hadn't thought about Perez in 10 years, but this bullpen version is absolutely the most fun version.


  • crunch 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    when oliver perez retires in 2035, if the cubs don't hire him as pitching coach i'm done with this team.


  • crunch 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    drone over the field delay...

    i f'n hate 2020.


  • Cubster 1 day 12 hours ago (view)

    Jake Arrieta to the Phils IL. Might be how his Phillie career ends. Any thoughts that he comes back in 2021 as a closer for someone?


  • Cubster 1 day 12 hours ago (view)

    yowsa. AZ Phil invokes Della Street. 


  • crunch 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    a.chafin threw a simulated game and could be activated this weekend. 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    MLB is expected to mandate a "bubble" for all MLB players (and members of their families who are traveling with them) beginning at least seven days prior to the start of the ALDS and NLDS (which start the week of October 5th).  

    As far as players are concerned, only players on the club's Post-Season Roster Eligibility List (that is, players on the MLB 40-man roster who are assigned to the club's MLB Club Player Pool and players on the MLB 45-day IL who have not been replaced on the Post-Season Roster Eligibility List) will be allowed in the bubble. 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    Keep in mind that in addition to recalling Adbert Alzolay next Tuesday to be the 5th starter on 9/22 (at PIT) and 9/27 (at CHW) and probably optioning Ryan Tepera to the Practice Squad to make room for Alzolay on the 28-man roster, - ALL - players on optional assignment to the minors - MUST - be recalled no later than the day after the final game of trhe MLB regular season, so a player could be optioned to the minors on 9/27 and then get recalled the very next day without any restriction.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    It's possible that the Cubs will select the contract of veteran RHRP Pedro Strop before tonight's game. If so, I would say the player most-likely to be dropped from the Cubs 28-man Active List roster (and from the Cubs MLB 40-man roster) to make room for Strop is Rex Brothers. 


  • crunch 2 days 53 min ago (view)

    all of this makes too much sense and seems quite 2020 reasonable.  i'm ready.  bring it on.


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 7 hours ago (view)

    Just as a point of information, per the macro CoViD-19 agreement between the MLB & MLBPA, if an unsigned post-2020 arbitration-eligible player requests an arb hearing the player's performance in the 2020 season will - NOT - be considered by the arbitration panel. Only the player's performance up through the 2019 season can be considered (which will help somebody like Kris Bryant but hurt somebody like first-time arb-eligible Ian Happ).