Cubs Finalize AAA Reserve List for Rule 5 Draft

12/14 UPDATE:

SELECTED BY CUBS IN MAJOR LEAGUE PHASE:  
NONE  

CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS SELECTED IN MAJOR LEAGUE PHASE
:
, RHP (selected by Baltimore Orioles from Cubs AAA Iowa reserve list) 

CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS SELECTED IN AAA PHASE: 
, INF (selected by New York Mets for AAA Las Vegas affiliate from Cubs AA Tennessee reserve list) 
, LHP (selected by Houston Astros for AAA Fresno affiliate from Cubs AA Tennessee reserve list)
, C (selected by Toronto Blue Jays for AAA Buffalo affiliate from Cubs AA Tennessee reserve list) 

PLAYERS SELECTED BY CUBS IN AAA PHASE
NONE 


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12/13 UPDATE

The 2017 MLB Rule 5 Draft will be the last order of "official" business at the Winter Meetings tomorrow morning (Thursday). 

At present the Cubs have three slots open on their MLB reserve list (40-man roster) so they could make as many as three selections in the Majpr League Phase (although it's likely they will make - AT MOST - one), and (presuming Alberto Baldonado's contract has not yet been filed with the MLB Commissioner) one slot is open on the AAA Iowa 38-man reserve list such that the Cubs could make (at most) one selection in the AAA Phase.  

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12/8 UPDATE
: The Cubs have signed post-2017 minor league 6YFA LHRP Alberto Baldonado (ex-NYM) to a 2018 minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa, so the AAA Iowa reserve list is now full.

If the Cubs wait until after the Rule 5 Draft to file the contract with the MLB Commissioner (clubs have up to 20 days to file from the date the player signs), Baldonado would not count against the Iowa reserve list and the Cubs would be able to make one selection in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft. However, Baldonado would still be eligible for selection in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft (would be listed on Iowa reserve list as "contract pending").


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11/21 ORIGINAL POST
:

In addition to deciding yesterday 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 had to decide which Rule 5 Draft-eligible players to place on the 38-man AAA Iowa reserve list.

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 Rule 5 Draft-eligible players on AAA reserve lists can only be selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft ($100,000 draft price with a right to possibly eventually re-claim player for $50,000), but Rule 5 Draft-eligible players on reserve lists of affiliates below AAA can be selected in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft ($24,000 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 (most-notably 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 in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft this year as well.(While the top of the Cubs farm system has either graduated to MLB or been traded, the length and depth of the Cubs farm system is still there).   

At most only - 38 - players can be placed on the AAA Iowa Reserve List (Rule 5 Draft-eligible players on the AAA Iowa Restricted List do not count against the AAA reserve list limit), 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 in the weeks prior to the Rule 5 Draft draft, and for players the club might select in the AAA Phase (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).

The Cubs assigned 37 of their Rule 5 Draft-eligible minor league players to the Iowa Reserve List yesterday (not counting ten players on the AAA Iowa Restricted List), and these 37 players (plus the ten Rule 5 Draft-eligible players on the Iowa Restricted List) can only be selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft. So only one slot has been left open on the AAA Iowa Reserve List for a free-agent who might be signed to a minor league contract or a player who might get outrighted to the minors prior to the Rule 5 Draft, or for a player (only one) the Cubs might wish to select in the AAA Phase. (RHSP Williams Perez re-signed with the Cubs yesterday and was player #37 assigned to the Iowa Reserve List).

Once the minor league reserve lists are submitted to the MLB office, players cannot be moved from one minor league reserve list to another until the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft.

The remaining 24 Rule 5 Draft-eligible Cubs minor leaguers were assigned to the AA Tennessee Reserve List, and so those 24 players are eligible for selection in the AAA Phase of the 2017 Rule 5 Draft ($24,000 draft price with no right to re-claim).

And there were some surprises

Probably the most-notable Cubs minor leaguers who will be available for selection in the AAA Phase are RHRP Luis Aquino, INF Gioskar Amaya, C-1B Cael Brockmeyer, INF Stephen Bruno, RHSP Enrique de los Rios, RHRP (ex-C) Mark Malave, LHP Chris Nunn, RHP Steve Perakslis, RHP James Pugliese, C Will Remillard, C Ali Solis, and LHRP Tommy Thorpe.

Enrique de los Rios probably has the highest upside of the 24, so look for him to be one of the first Cubs selected in the AAA Phase. And Stephen Bruno will almost certainly get poached by a club looking for a AAA utility player who can hit. James Pugliese and Stephen Perakslis are versatile SP/RP "swingmen" who should get some attention from other organizations, and Ali Solis could be attractive to a club looking for a veteran AAA back-up catcher.  

So I would expect the Cubs to lose at least four players (maybe more) in the AAA Phase.

    
LAST UPDATED 12-8-2017


CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS ELIGIBLE FOR SELECTION IN MAJOR LEAGUE PHASE (ONLY) OF RULE 5 DRAFT:
Tyler Alamo, C-1B
Pedro Araujo, RHP (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
Delbis Arcila, 1B (AAA Iowa Restricted List - last active in 2013)
Luis Ayala, OF
Jeffrey Baez, OF (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
Yasiel Balaguert, 1B-O
Alberto Baldonado, LHP (ex-NYM - signed 2018 minor league contract after being declared minor league FA on 11/6) 
Corey Black, RHP
Charcer Burks, OF
Trevor Clifton, RHP
Elvis Diaz, RHP (previously released by BAL - second-contract player signed for 2018)
Rafael Diplan, RHP (AAA Iowa Restricted List - last active in 2013)
Mike Freeman, INF (Article XX-D player - signed 2018 minor league contract after being declared minor league FA on 11/6)
David Garner, RHP
Izaac Garsez, OF (AAA Iowa Restricted List - last active in 2012)
Yapson Gomez, LHP
Mike Hamann, RHP (AAA Iowa Restricted List)
Justin Hancock, RHP (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
Jacob Hannemann, OF (Article XX-D player)
Zach Hedges, RHP
David Henrie, RHP (AAA Iowa Restricted List - last active in 2012)
Jesse Hodges, INF
Erick Leal, RHP
Brad Markey, RHP
Joe Martarano, 1B-OF
Ryan McNeil, RHP
Jordan Minch, LHP
Erling Moreno, RHP
James Norwood, RHP
Amaury Paulino, RHP (AAA Iowa Restricted List - last active in 2012)
Jose Paulino, LHP
Carlos Penalver, INF (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
Jhonny Pereda, C-1B
Williams Perez,RHP (signed 2018 minor league contract after being declared minor league FA on 11/6)
Chris Pieters, OF-1B
Bijan Rademacher, OF
Manuel Rondon, LHP
Jose Rosario, RHP (signed 2018 minor league contract after being released in September)
Carson Sands, LHP
Pedro Silverio, RHP (AAA Restricted List - last active in 2017)
Brian Smith, LHP (AAA Iowa Restricted List - last active in 2013)
Jake Stinnett, RHP
Daury Torrez, RHP (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
Roberto Vahlis (AAA Iowa Restricted List - last active in 2015)
Dilson Vasquez, RHP (AAA Iowa Restricted List - last active in 2014)
Jason Vosler, INF
Ryan Williams, RHP
Chesny Young, INF

CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS ELIGIBLE FOR SELECTION IN AAA PHASE OF RULE 5 DRAFT
Gioskar Amaya, INF (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
Luis Aquino, RHP (previously released by CLE - second-contract player signed for 2018)
Cael Brockmeyer, C-1B
Stephen Bruno, INF
Roberto Caro, OF
Erick Castillo, C
Kevin Cornelius, INF
Yan de la Cruz, RHP (previously released by HOU - second-contract player signed for 2018)
Enrique de los Rios, RHP
Andrew Ely, INF
Luiz Escanio, RHP
Miguel Estevez, RHP (previously released by CIN - second-sontract player in 2018)
Robert Garcia, OF
Mark Malave, RHP (ex-C)
Alberto Mineo, C-1B (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
Chris Nunn, LHP (previously released by SD - second-contract player signed for 2018)
Adonis Paula, INF
Tyler Pearson, C
Henrry Pedra, INF
Stephen Perakslis, RHP
James Pugliese, RHP (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
Will Remillard, C
Ali Solis, C (signed 2018 minor league successor contract)
Tommy Thorpe, LHP

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MLB RULE 5 DRAFT

The MLB Rule 5 Draft is presently the last order of business at the MLB WINTER MEETINGS in December, and 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.

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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.

Additionally, any player eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 Six-Year Minor League Free-Agent (6YFA) post-2017 who signs a 2018 minor league contract or a 2018 minor league successor contract prior to the December 2017 Rule 5 Draft will be eligible for selection, and any player eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 Second Contract Minor League Free-Agent who signs a minor league contract or a minor league successor contract prior to the 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.


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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 MLB & 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 inadvertently left one of its top prospects off its MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) when it was 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).

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MLB RULE 6: SELECTED PLAYER

A "Selected Player" is any player selected in the Major League Phase of the MLB Rule 5 Draft.

1. A Selected Player must be placed on the drafting club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) immediately after selection and must be tendered a major league contract by 5 PM (Eastern) on the day of the draft.

2. A Selected Player can be traded at any time, but the player cannot be Designated for Assignment, released, or sent to the minors any earlier than 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day, and then only if Outright Assignment Waivers have been secured and the player's former club declines to reclaim the player.

3. If a Selected Player spends at least 90 days on an MLB Active List during the MLB regular season following selection, the player ceases to be a "Selected Player" at the conclusion of the MLB regular season. If time spent on an MLB Active List is less than 90 days in the season following selection, the player remains a Rule 6 Selected Player into the next season, and the player continues to be a Selected Player until he has spent 90 days total on an MLB Active List.

4. If a club wishes to send a Selected Player to the minors, the player must be placed on Outright Assignment Waivers, where any of the other 29 MLB clubs can claim the player for the $50,000 Rule 6 waiver price (formerly $25,000), and if claimed off waivers, the player continues to have Rule 6 Selected Player status.

5. If the Selected Player is not claimed off Outright Waivers, the player then must be offered back to the club from which he was drafted, and the player's former club can re-claim the player for $50,000 (formerly $25,000), with the player being automatically outrighted to the Reserve List of the minor league club from which he was drafted. The club from which the player was drafted usually has 72 hours to decide whether to re-claim the player, but it has only 24 hours to decide if the player is eligible to be an Article XX-D or Article XIX-A minor league free-agent if outrighted to the minors (player has accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time, qualifies for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" player, and/or has been outrighted to the minors previously in his career). NOTE: A Selected Player with Article XIX-A rights (player has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time) cannot be re-claimed and outrighted back to the minor league club from which he was drafted unless the player consents in advance to the assignment.

6. If a Selected Player is returned (outrighted) to the minor league club from which he was drafted, and if the player has accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time, qualifies for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" player, and/or has been outrighted to the minors previously in his career, the player can elect to be an MLB Article XX-D minor league free-agent (or Article XIX-A minor league free-agent if the player has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time) after being outrighted (he has three days to decide), or he can accept the Outright Assignment and defer the right to be a minor league free-agent until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season. (An outrighted Selected Player with "Super Two" rights who has not previously been outrighted to the minors can elect free-agency if he is outrighted to the minors, but he cannot defer free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season).

7. If a Selected Player is returned (outrighted) to the minor league club from which he was drafted, the drafting club is responsible for any portion of the player's salary above what the player was paid the previous season.

8. If the club from which the Selected Player was drafted declines to re-claim the player, the player no longer has Rule 6 Selected Player status, the drafting club retains the player, and the player can be sent to the minors or released.

9. A player selected in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft must be assigned to the Reserve List of the AAA club that drafted the player and he must be given a 15-day trial during Spring Training with that club, but the player can be assigned to the Active List of any minor league affiliate in the MLB club's organization once the minor league regular season commences. Also, unlike players selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, a player selected in the AAA Phase does not have to be offered back to the club from which he was drafted if the player is ultimately assigned to the Active List of a minor league affiliate below AAA.

Comments

Disappointed to hear that Patrick Mooney‏@MooneyNBCS has been let go by NBC Sports Chicago. They've made a bunch of changes there.

AZ PHIL- With the Cubs signing Drew Smyly who will not likely pitch in 2017, maybe in Aug/Sep, he will obviously be put on the 60 Day DL opening a roster spot can they do that now to keep a roster spot open or do the have to wait until spring training or the start of the season?

Phil posted this earlier. Submitted by Arizona Phil on Wed, 12/13/2017 - 11:31am Permalink The Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) now stands at 37, but if the Cubs get into a roster crunch later in the off-season or during Spring Trainiing after signing a free-agent, the Cubs can place Drew Smyly (July 2017 TJS rehab) on the MLB 60-day DL anytime starting on the first day of Spring Training (when pitchers & catchers report). Clubs have up to 20 days to file a free-agent contract with the MLB Commissioner, so if the Cubs MLB Reserve List is full and they sign a free-agent anytime within 20 days of the date pitchers & catchers report, they can wait until that date to file the contract and then place Smyly on the 60-day DL to make room for the free-agent on the 40. Keep in mind that if a player is placed on the MLB 60-day DL during Spring Training he must remain on the 60-day DL for at least the first 60 days of the MLB regular season. This won't matter with Smyly because he will very likely be on the DL until September, but it would matter if a player is expected back sooner than the 61st day of the MLB regular season.

Bad news. I thought Mooney did a good job.

AZ PHIL: Great article. Seems the Rule 5 draft is falling into shape. I notice that Luis Hernandez and Jean Garcia were on previous Rule 5 lists but not this latest one. Have one or both been released? Do they no longer fit the Rule 5 rules?

ALEXANDER: Luis Hernandez retired, and it turned out Jean Garcia's signing date was different than what was originally reported. Garcia signed as a July 2nd 16-year old with San Diego but he actually didn't sign until after the conclusion of the 2013 DSL season, so he won't be Rule 5 Draft-eligible until next year (post-2018).

Good to know! Thank you!

Of the Cubs left unprotected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, I would say IF-OF Chesny Young, OF Bijan Rademacher, and RHRP Jake Stinnett are probably the three most-likely to be selected. and if selected, the three least-likely to be made available to be re-claimed.

Stinnett showed a plus-breaking ball in the AFL post-2017 and (at least up until the AFL Championship Game) improved command of his 91-93 MPH (T-94) FB. Stinnett could probably pitch in MLB right away, although he will only go as far as his FB command (which has to be near-perfect for him to be successful).  

Young is an athletic "super-sub" utility-type who can play anywhere, and do OK (passable). He has above-average speed and outstanding contact skills at the plate (he is a former minor league batting champion), but he has no power and he has a below-average arm. Still, he could very well carve out a career as a "25th man" at the MLB level. He's sort of a poor man's D. J. LeMahieu (without the occasional power and Gold Glove defense).     

Rademacher is somewhat like John Andreoli was in 2017 (which is why Rademacher doesn't have much of a future with the Cubs), in that Rademacher is eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2018 and he doesn't really have a clear path to MLB (with the Cubs) before he becomes a minor league FA. But he could be an attractive LH-hitting bench guy in another circumstance with another MLB club. So while Young and Rademacher project as MLB bench guys, they are MLB-ready, and Stinnett is near-MLB ready, so they could actually contribute at the MLB level in 2018.

LHP Jose Paulino, RHSP Erling Moreno, RHSP Trevor Clifton, and OF Charcer Burks have the most upside of the Cubs minor leaguers left unprotected in the Major League Phase, but none of the four are ready for MLB. That doesn't mean they won't get selected, just that the selecting team would have to "stash" the player and waste a slot on the 25 in 2018 in order to keep the player for a full season, not to mention the lost year of valuable developmental time at a critical point in the young player's career. But again, some clubs (most notably the San Diego Padres) have shown a willingness to "select & stash" young guys in recent Rule 5 Drafts. .

Beyond those seven, RHRP Pedro Araujo could possibly have value to a club as a "rubber-armed" middle-reliever who throws strikes, RHP Brad Markey might have a chance as an MLB SP/RP "swing-man," and 3B-1B Jason Vosler has power from the left side but is a below-average defender no matter where he plays and he's not a particularly good hitter (despite the power) either, but most MLB organizations have guys like this already in their system, so why spend $100,000 (not to mention the Rule 5 roster restrictions) just to get another one?

Stinnett being left unprotected is the biggest surprise to me. Had such a strong AFL and also a strong showing in his short AA stint. I thought the Cubs would want him as a pen option this year and wouldn’t want to risk losing him.

That's exactly why I thought the Cubs should protect a pitcher like him, and not Bote, but then I'm thankfully not the GM either! I think Stinnett is easily the most likely Cub to get selected in the upcoming Rule 5. Maybe--maaaaybe, Clifton. I could see a team like the Royals, Reds, Tigers or Padres willing to make these picks.

I definitely am concerned about a team like San Diego taking a shot on the upside of a Moreno or a Clifton. They have been very willing to do that type of thing the last few years.

will venable new cubs 1st base coach (and OF instructor)

Cool. I always loved that guy's name. Result of a little research:
Recorded as Venable and Venables, this interesting name is English but of Norman-French origins. It is locational from a place called Venables in the arrondissement of Louviers in Eure, Normandy. The surname was introduced into England by followers of William the Conqueror after the Conquest of 1066. The placename is derived from the Latin word "venabulum", meaning hunting ground, a derivative of the verb "venari", to hunt. The surname was first recorded in England at the beginning of the 13th century (see below), and the modern surname has the unusual distinction of surviving unchanged for seven hundred years.

Braves receive harsh penalties. AZ Phil and others, does the punishment fit the crime? Given the light penalties the Cardinals received for hacking and corporate espionage I was surprised by the harshness here. Do you suspect other organizations have circumvented international spending similar to the Braves? It seems naive to me given the cut throat business of international signings and the murky waters of 3rd world nations this hasn't been happening more often than 1 team. Finally, do any of the newly freed Braves signees have past Cub connections and might end up in the organization?

many organizations have played with international signing from under-the-table cash, to crooked "agent" payments, to pre-eligable agreements and all points in between...all against the rules...and at one point or another, probably all teams. ATL not only got caught, but they were doing a lot of it all over the place and really sloppy about it. also, BOS got popped a few years ago and that was supposed to be "the warning" to all of MLB.

If I understand correctly, the prospects keep their original signing bonus from Braves and are now eligible to receive a second signing bonus. Not that I'm against extra money going towards players but it seems odd that a player, or a representative on their behalf, was an accessory to these shenanigans but gets to benefit from it. Hope there are some corresponding repercussions to the managers/trainers/agents representing these players.

AZ Phil, I see you have made a bunch of adjustments to the Minor League Depth Chart. Lots of "ups and downs". Very interesting. Your reasoning? Thanks.

HAGSAG: The Depth Chart currently reflects the Cubs most-recent off-season MLB 40-man roster and pre-Rule 5 Draft minor league reserve lists, which in a lot cases are not where the player will be assigned (on the field) once Minor League Camp begins in March. The Depth Chart will be changed to reflect the actual big league camp (including NRI) and minor league camp squad assignments (which will be different from the reserve lists) once Spring Training begins.

Also note that - ALL - of the 37 players currently assigned to the AAA Iowa reserve list are eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft (available for selection in the Major League Phase ONLY), and the 24 remaining Rule 5 Draft-eligible players are all assigned to the AA Tennessee reserve list (available for selection in the AAA Phase), but there are eight additional players (Bloomquist, Brooks, Meza, Morrison, Nance, Rice, Spingola, and Swarmer) assigned to the Tennessee reserve list who are not Rule 5 Draft-eligible. There are no Rule 5 Draft-eligible Cubs minor league players assigned to reserve lists below AA Tennessee (which is why they got rid of the AA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft last year).

I will update my spreadsheet Phil.

Something else to keep in mind is that ex-Cubs Scouting & Player Development Assistant Jason Parks is now the Arizona Diamondbacks Director of Pro Scouting, so don't be surprised if the D'backs poach a few Cubs minor leaguers in the Rule 5 Draft. Parks knows the Cubs minor league system very well.

I’m still bummed we lost professor parks

AZ PHIL: Just out of curiosity, what's with all the guys on the AAA restricted list that haven't been active in 3-5 years? What's going on there?

K-DUB: Here are some of the reasons why a player might be on the Restricted List long-term. 1. Player refuses to sign contract for the next season after salary addendum is received from club, and then player refuses to report to Spring Training but does not file retirement papers. 2. Player fails to report for Spring Training because he is in jail, is attending college, or is trying his luck in another profession, but doesn't file retirement papers. 3. Player suffers injury and refuses to go to physician designated by club. 4. Physician designated by club reports player is healthy enough to play but player says he can't, so player does not report but also does not file retirement papers. 5. Player has surgery after going to physician not approved by club and club refuses to pay medical bill, resulting in lawsuit by player (sometimes counter-suit by club). 6. Player claims club is responsible for career-ending injury but club refuses to accept liability and so player refuses to sign retirement papers and sues club. 7. Player requests outright release but club refuses to tender it, so player refuses to report and declines to sign retirement papers. 8. Club is suing player while attempting to recover bonus payment. 9. International player wants to report but is unable to secure H-2B work visa. Not always, but there is often some degree of acrimony between the club and a player on the Restricted List. Eventually players on the Restricted List will either file retirement papers and go on Voluntary Retired List, report and be reinstated, receive outright release, or (after spending at least two full calendar years on a minor league affiliate's Restricted List) be transferred to the MLB club's "General Restricted List" (not assigned to any particular minor league affiliate). Since players on the Restricted List are eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft (if they are otherwise eligible to be selected), the Rule 5 Draft-eligible players are placed on the AAA affiliate's Restricted List so that they can only be selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft ($100,000 draft price, roster restrictions, and potentially right to re-claim). That's so that there is virtually no way a player on the Restricted List will get selected. Clubs do not want to reward players on the Restricted List by giving them a chance to get selected in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft ($24,000 draft price with no roster restrictions or right to re-claim). Clubs also don't want other players in the organization to get the idea that they can get their freedom by not reporting and waiting the club out.

Phil, you are amazing!

Thanks, Phil. You are truly a walking, talking (and writing) encyclopedia.

Nobody wants to answer my question. How much-ish do the Cubs have left in international spending for until June 15? Yeah, I know that, in most cases, they are limited to $300 K per. However, with the Braves scenario, along with Ohtani, having as little as 500 K left might actually fetch an asset in return. This might be privileged/need-to-know stuff, but here's the only place I can think of that might take my question seriously. TIA

That is a great question. Maybe our man AZ Phil knows.

That's the first time anyone said that was a good question. Far less consider it worth answering.

Cuz nobody knows the answer.

a big problem is not every signing bonus $$ is reported. there's a whole slew of players, many with hard to find or non-media-reported $$ amounts or they signed "future service" contracts. plus there's sign ceiling penalties (300K ceiling penalty except for weird exceptions like the 1.2m ceiling for mexican players which the cubs have taken advantage of)... it could probably be pieced together, but i dunno who would have that total. maybe someone does.

This is just a rough estimate because I do not know how much the Cubs have spent on signing bonuses so far in the 2017-18 International Signing Period (ISP), but here is what I suspect the Cubs have - PROBABLY - most-likely spent so far, given their past history while on double-secret probation ($300K max bonus per player)

The Cubs 2017-18 International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) is $4.75M.

The Cubs can sign players out of the Mexican League for up to $1.2M each, as long as 75% of the signing bonus goes to the player's Mexican League club (which is generally the case).

The Cubs have signed 25 International free-agents (IFA) subject to ISBP limits so far in the 2017-18 ISP. If the Cubs allocated their bonuses in a balanced way, the bonuses probably would (generally) break-down something like this:

$300K max bonus (five players) - $1.5M total
$150K - $300K (five players - $225K average) - $1.125M total
$50K - $150K (five players - $100K average) - $500K total
less than $50K (ten players - $25K average) - $250K total

So the total "guess-timate" would be about $3.375M, which is $1.3M+ below the Cubs ISBP. So the Cubs - PROBABLY - have about $1.3M+ left in their ISBP to spend in the 2017-18 ISP, which means they could possibly sign as many as four more IFA to a max ($300K) bonus contract and still have a hundred thousand or so in ISBP space left over. (However, most of the best July 2nd IFA have already signed). 

Also, the Cubs almost certainly will not need to acquire additional ISBP space in a trade.  

If the Cubs sign one or more of the Atlanta Braves minor leaguers who were recently declared free-agents, the first $200K spent to sign the player will not count against the Cubs 2017-18 ISBP, but the Cubs still cannot pay a signing bonus in excess of $300K to any of the ex-ATL players unless they "borrow" from their 2018-19 ISBP. 

The former Braves minor leaguers can be signed starting on 12/5 and all players get to keep the signing bonus received from the Braves, but the player must sign by 1/15 in order to qualify to receive a signing bonus from his new club. The Braves are permittedt re-sign any of the players who were declared free-agents (if the player hasn't already signed with another organization) startng on May 1st.

i couldn't get a clear answer, but i was hoping those braves kids cut loose would be unrestricted free agents. dang.

CRUNCH: The Braves minor leaguers who were declared free-agents last week by the MLB Commissioner are unrestricted in the sense that they are free to sign with any MLB organization (including even re-signing with the Braves if the player waits until May 1st).

As far as the Cubs are concerned, they do have the option of signing one or more of the ex-ATL players using - EITHER - their 2017-18 ISBP - OR - their projected 2018-19 ISBP.

The Cubs are restricted to offering international free-agents a maximum of a $300K signing bonus in the 2017-18 ISP (as they were also in the 2016-17 ISP), but since the Cubs will not be under penalty in the 2018-19 ISP, they could offer bonuses to one or more of the ex-ATL players (only) up to what they believe will be their 2018-19 ISBP ($4.75M at this point) and with the first $200K of each player's signing bonus exempt from the club's ISBP.

But "borrowing" from the 2018-19 ISBP so far in advance could back-fire (especially if it's a substantial signing bonus) because clubs cannot trade for additional 2018-19 ISBP space until the start of the 2018-19 ISP next June 2nd (so they can't add to their 2018-19 ISBP right now), and the Cubs would have their projected $4.75M 2018-19 ISBP reduced by $500K for each Article XX-B Qualified Player free-agent signed (not including their own Qualified Players) or by as much as $1M for each Qualified Player free-agent signed if the Cubs have to pay a luxury tax again post-2017 (still unclear).

And the ISBP is now a "hard cap," meaning a club absolutely positively cannot exceed its assigned ISBP (plus potentially up to 75% more added via trade after June 2nd) without contracts being voided and players released.  

So the Cubs need to be careful and make sure that if they use their 2018-19 ISBP to sign one or more of the ex-ATL minor leaguers, that that they do not exceed what possibly COULD BE their actual 2018-19 ISBP ($4.75M, minus any possible reductions for signing Article XX-B Qualified Players) before the 2018-19 ISBP even starts! They don't want to get too crazy with the idea of signing one or more of the ex-Braves guys and "trick-bag" themselves right out of being able to sign one or more of the IFAs they are targeting in the 2018-19 ISP. 

TIM: The Cubs have $930K left in their 2017-18 ISBP, with the $300K signing bonus limit penalty in effect until the start of the 2018-19 ISBP.

Of course the Cubs could use some or all of their projected (and they better be right) 2018-19 ISBP to sign one or more of the remaining ex-ATL IFA. 

Note that if the Cubs were to miscalculate their projected 2018-19 ISBP and it turns out they signed an an-ATL IFA for more than what they will have in their ISBP to start the 2018-19 ISP, the contract will be voided. 

Why you are the man.

"According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Dodgers have released Jose Miguel Fernandez. Fernandez was signed for a $200,000 bonus out of Cuba last January and went on to bat .306/.367/.496 with 16 home runs and 65 RBI in 93 games between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City, but he basically disappeared in late July. There are no stats on the record for him after July 29." weird. 29 year old, btw, so while those numbers are nice they're not mindblowing.

Many of the Cuban emigres seem to have attitude adjustment problems, or anger management issues. Too many to be a mere coincidence at this point.

this is one hell of a boring off-season so far for pretty much every team out there. justin upton got a 5 year deal to stay with the angels...doug fister got a minor league deal with 4m upside from the rangers... that's pretty much it except for minor league deals with little expected upside.

Stanton and Ohtani are clogging up the respective hitting and pitching markets. Ohtani will be done around 12/21, and Jerry Crasnick tweeted today that Stanton should finish before the Winter Meetings (12/10) because it's too hard to move $295 million late in the offseason. You're right, very boring. But when the logjam breaks, it should be fast and furious for a month or so as everything catches up.

Fortunately, we can pass the time watching the Bears and Bulls play worse than a bunch of fat drunks. - Bulls play the Warriors, who were without Kevin Durant and Draymond Green -- lead by one after one quarter, and lose by 49. - Bears had zero first downs in the first half against Philly, and if not for a late scramble by Trubisky, would have had negative rushing yardage for the game. At least the Eagles had some pretty good celebrations. Man, do I need some baseball news.

AAUUGGHH! Somebody do something! Trade somebody, sign somebody, non-tender somebody, Yankees hire a manager --- something! Anything! Please!

Athletics signed OF Nick Martini to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Martini, a seventh-round pick of the Cardinals in 2011, batted .294/.382/.423 with eight home runs and 70 RBI in 121 games this past season between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis. YEAAAAAAAAH!!!! HOT STOVE, BABY!

Now, we're cookin'!

Hot stove drink w blue cheese olives? Naw.

Non-tender deadline Friday night. Maybe that will shake things up a bit.

I seriously doubt the Cubs will acquire an individual pitcher this offseason who will make me as pleased as seeing Alex Avila sign up to be Contreras's backup/platoon partner. Catcher was an amazing situation after he arrived and while Contreras was healthy. http://www.bleachernation.com/2017/11/29/alex...

It appears that the Cubs have signed Dario Alvarez and added him to the 40-man roster. Edit: Here's a positive (but from July 2016) review of his potential. https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/rangers-land-...

Interesting article, but based on an admittedly small sample size in 2016. His 2017 WHIP is uuuuug-leeee! 2.020 WHIP in 16.1 IP, with BB9 rate of 7.7. For comparison, Pedro Stop had a BB9 rate of 3.9 last year (1.177 WHIP) and Carl Edwards had a BB9 of 5.2 (1.010 WHIP). He sounds wild to me! (Edit) Further comparison -- Carlos Marmol, in his two worst years with the Cubs had a BB9 of 7.9 in 2009 and 7.3 in 2012. So think Marmol at the height of his control meltdown. Crunch's assessment below sounds on target.

if they swing at his slider, he's going to do well. if they lay off the slider, he's going to walk the park. if he can better mix deception between his fastball and slider, he could be a poor man's andrew miller...but that's aiming very high.

Is he as good as Casey Kelly?

yes, but not as good as pat kelly (any of them)

My main question is does he have any option years left...?

K-DUB: Dario Alvarez has used three minor league options through the 2017 season but he will get a 4th minor league option in 2018, he is eligible to elect free-agency if he is outrighted because he has been outrighted previously in his career, and he will not be eligible for salary arbitration until post-2019 at the earliest (or even post-2020 if he accrues something less than about 50 days of MLB Service Time in 2018).

The Cubs probably would have preferred to sign Alvarez to a minor league contract (with an NRI to Spring Training) after the Rule 5 Draft, but he may have had offers on the table from other MLB clubs and indicated that he was ready to make his decision, so the Cubs had to act right away.

The Cubs likely signed Alvarez to a major league contract so that he would not be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft (which is two weeks from today), plus the Cubs have plenty of room on their MLB 40-man roster (they've still got three slots open, with some possible non-tenders tomorrow that will open up even more slots).

The Cubs have signed free-agent LHRP Alberto Baldonado to a 2018 minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa. He will presumably get an NRI to Spring Training.

"We had an agreement to acquire Giancarlo Stanton, subject to him waiving his no-trade clause," Cardinals CEO Bill DeWitt, Jr. said. "We have been notified that he will not waive his no-trade clause to come to St. Louis." lulz.

Seems like a good time to visit https://twitter.com/bestfansstlouis?lang=en

First comment on the "Baseball's Best Fans" website: "Fuck Stanton hope he gets a career ending injury and wherever he goes he will get slaughtered by us go birds" Stay classy, Cardinals fans!

Haha, tough shit Birds.

Jeter and Marlins management looking pretty bad right now. The man has a no-trade clause. Ask him, in private, where he will and won't play. It's not that complicated.

leaks happen, but there's been way too much knowledge about almost every step of the attempts to trade stanton so far. it's at the point where STL feels the need to actually explain to their fans in a press release how they tried and failed to trade for stanton. odd stuff.

Per Joel Sherman the deal is done pending physicals, Giancarlo Stanton to Yankees for Starlin Castro + prospects.  

Judge and Stanton? Yikes. Aaron Boone just became a much better manager. If you go to a Yankee game, get there early -- BP will be something to see. Yanks are loaded from the right side (including Sanchez). Wonder if the BoSox make a play for Jake?

This is more good news for the Cubs. Stanton in the AL, not in St. Louis, and Yankees almost certainly no longer interested in Harper.

So Starlin Castro goes to the Marlins in the Stanton deal. The Marlins unload all but $30M of the Stanton contract (and that $30M will keep the Yanks under the salary penalty cap) but get only low level minor leaguers in addition to Castro. This is odd in that the Cubs gave him up in the Adam Warren trade (and Brendon Ryan, both useless parts to the Cubs). Meaning, they moved him mostly to clear salary to sign Zobrist. Warren was awful as a Cub but useful in round two for NYY (went back in the Chapman trade) and all trades are justifiable if when the outcome has you winning the World Series. Now Starlin goes to the Fish, who supposedly will flip him to the Mets to dump salary. Starlin has been pretty valuable (but not valuable enough to keep). Still, his true value seems more tied up in salary swapping rather than on the field.

Gonna be a LOT of empty seats in Miami next year. Woof.

"Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Saturday he doesn't see Shohei Ohtani playing outfield in 2018." da fuq... so it looks like he's gonna have to battle albert pujols for DH opportunities. laaaaaaaaaaaaaaame.

Why is that lame? They just got a free DH replacement that allows them to just bench or cut the sunk cost that is Pujols.

i don't believe they'll bench or cut pujols, mostly. aside from the respectable (though not impressive) HR power he was consistently bleh all season in pretty much every other aspect and still got to hit 3rd or 4th while playing almost every game. i think he'll get less AB, but i think he'll break with the team out of spring training with a regular role at the very least (unless he's somehow traded). it wouldn't shock me to see him get cut or heavily benched at some point in-season 2018 if someone steps up, though. he's owed $115m through 2021. yow. ...besides all that...i really wanted to see ohtani playing more than occasionally and since pujols is married to the DH because of a lack of mobility, it would have been nice to see ohtani getting some OF work. that said, it's not like ohtani is known for much aside from being a DH even in japan...but at least he has youth and mobility.

Best case scenario for Angels re: Pujols is that they bench him and he retires out of pride, letting them off the hook for some of that future salary.

WOW. I just looked up Pujols' stats -- my goodness. Last year, OBP of .286 and OPS .672. For reference, that's 20+ points worse than Heyward and Zobrist in both categories. Cardinals have had a rough go lately, but the have to be chuckling about that.

From last summer, click baity but a good article. Pujols was the first player to ever lead the league in WAR in a season and also finish last in WAR for a season. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/albert-p...

stanton and judge had 19 of the top 25 exit velocities on balls put into play last season. they swing hella hard. 8 of 19 went for HRs. neat. sigh.

Some of you may have noticed an uptick in MLB waiver wire activity today (Monday 12/11). That's becauae today is the last day that Rule 5 Draft-eligible players can be sent outright to the minors prior to Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. 

I see 6 yr FA, John Andreoli has signed with Mariners.

link

But I can understand how you might have missed it since I don't read my stuff either.

I read every word you write Phil. I am just old and don’t remember.

HAGSAG: Me too, buddy. Gettin' old is a bitch.

so many relievers off the table today... j.mcgee, b.shaw, j.smith, a.swarzak, j.nicasio, p.neshek...

Cubs w 2 yr deal for Steve Cishek, funky submariner.

not exciting, but it's a "different look" from the fireballers in the pen...so it's a decent enough compliment to the pen on whole.

Pretty consistently good. Then again, so was Justin Wilson. Actually, looking at Wilson's stats -- not really -- 2 years out of 6 with ERA of 4+, and that doesn't include his Cubs time. Hmmm. Nothing to see here -- carry on.

Joe Smith was good until the Cubs got him for the 2015 run. But even Tommy Hunter who sucked balls for the Cubs just got another deal.

The good news is we saved Chesny Young, Charcer Burks, and my Favorite Daury Torrez.

A few of his coaches have praised Chesny's hit tool but he seems to lack four other tools. I'm not surprised that someone took Araujo. He's a bit of a beast. But I guess he's older than his "league age," with a 7/2 birthday, which makes him 24-1/2 today, and still never been to double A. (Except that now he'll pitch in the majors before turning 25.) He may also be a bit of a character--I reported here that he showed some personality on the mound for Myrtle Beach--and they may consider that a red flag, clubhouse-wise. (Although I think AZ Phil said Araujo was popular with his teammates.) Just odd that they're searching for relievers and they let him go.

Chesny Young is a high-contact hitter and minor league batting champion with athleticism, above-average speed, and soft hands, but he has a below-average arm and has virtually no power. The best ex-Cub comp for Young (in terms of ceiling) is probably Ryan Theriot, but Young has a different-type personality and is more of a utility player than Theriot. 

As far as the players the Cubs lost in the Rule 5 Draft, I'll be sorry to see Pedro Araujo go, but at the same time I'm glad he'll get a chance (hopefully) to pitch in MLB with the Orioles. Araujo is a fun guy. He used to come up and talk to me whenever he saw me, and he's really popular with his teammates. He had a lot of friends in the Cubs organization. Araujo was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2017, but he signed a 2018 Minor League Successor Contract before hitting free-agency. The Cubs got him a slot in the AFL and he pitched very well for the Mesa Solar Sox (which is probably why the Orioles drafted him). He works fast and throws strikes, and maybe he could carve out a career as an MLB middle-reliever. At least I hope he does. 

Alberto Mineo (known as "Luigi" among some of the Cubs minor league coaches) is from Italy and was one of three players signed by the Hendry administration out of the MLB European Academy in Turin, Italy, about ten years ago. RHP Alessandro Maestri (Italy) and INF Dwayne Kemp (The Netherlands) were the other two, but they are long gone. Mineo, on the other hand, has hung around the Cubs system for a long time despite a limited skill-set. Like Araujo, he was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2017, but he signed a Minor League Successor Contract before becoming a FA. Although he shown some marginal improvement over the past couple of years, Mineo is not a particularly accomplished hitter. But he does take walks and he can play both catcher and 1st base (although he is below-average defensively at both positions). Some of the pitchers mentioned that they didn't like throwing to Mineo because he boxed the ball when he caught it and they didn't have confidence that he could block balls in the dirt. He wants very much to play for Team Italy in the next WBC (he was disappointed that he wasn't selected to play for Team Italy in the 2017 WBC), so moving to the Jays might give a chance to keep his career going while he waits for 2021.

Andrew Ely is a utility infielder who could help the Mets at AAA or AA in 2018. He had no real future with the Cubs (he was ticketed to return to AA Tennessee in 2018), so getting drafted by the Mets will give him a chance to get a fresh start in a new organization.

27-year old Chris Nunn is a raw lefty with a "live" arm and MAJOR command issues. He was released by the Padres a couple pf years ago and eventually found his way to independent ball (Evansville - Frontier League). The Cubs purchased his contract from the Otters in August, and he got four starts at AA Tennessee before the end of the season and pitched OK, but he probably was going back to AA in 2018.  

All-in-all, the Cubs got out of the 2017 Rule 5 Draft relatively unscathed. There were several more players they could have lost that would have been more significant (Stinnett, Clifton, Moreno, Paulino, Burks, Young, and Rademacher in the Major League Phase, and de los Rios, Pugliese, Aquino, and Malave in the AAA Phase).

With the 2017 Rule 5 Draft having concluded, the Cubs 2018 Rule 5 Draft eligibility list and post-2018 Minor League Free-Agent list have been posted (for those of you who might be interested). 

Has anyone heard any rumors regarding signing a backup catcher. Avila, Rivera, Geo Soto, or anyone else?

AZ Phil, Is Caratini that bad of a backup catcher? Can't he do that job? I would love to get Avila back, but Victor looks like a MLBer to me. Also, do you think we need to sign or trade for another LHRP? I wanted McGee. Can Alvarez or Rosario do the job until Smyly is ready?

CHILDERSb3: I think Victor Caratini will be an MLB back-up catcher eventually, but he can use more seasoning (especially defensively) at AAA. Right now he's a bat-first catcher, but with more experience he has the potential to eventually be league-average defensively. The Cubs are probably going to want a veteran back-up catcher with at least average MLB defensive skills who can sit a lot without it affecting him negatively when Contreras is playing but who could turn on the switch and be a #1 for a period of time if Contreras goes on the DL with an injury. Both Alex Avila and Rene Rivera fit that profile, and so it wouldn't surprise me too much if the Cubs re-sign one of them. I doubt that either Dario Alvarez or Randy Rosario would be first-choice options in the Cubs Opening Day bullpen, although one or both could contribute at some point later in the season. So I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs acquire another LHRP, either by signing a free-agent or in a trade.

Still like Zach Duke on a Brian Duensing-style deal from last time around. That Chris Bosio got so little from last year's NRI pool made it easy for me to not miss him leaving. A team ought to find _some_ value out of twelve guys brought in. More than they received from Dylan Floro and Seth Frankoff, who were the highlights. (Look it up, if needed.)

aside from the "what happens with lester if contreras is injured" catcher thing, having steve cishek kinda requires a very capable receiver...a late inning one, too. he's got a lot of movement on his stuff and it comes from a weird arm slot. i like the idea of caratini the backup, but i dunno if the team can go with that unless they're ready to stash a D-heavy catcher in AAA ready to come up when/if needed. ali solis is the only C in AAA right now...i wouldn't count on him as a legit D backup to contreras. he's pretty much the definition of minor league organizational filler. i expect they'll add a major league roster D-heavy backup...let caratini get regular work in AAA at C/1st. for some reason they seem to really like him at 1st as a backup. whatever.

All developing Cubs catchers are back-up first basemen and DHs. That way, they get more swings. And the cubs systematically avoid drafting 1B/LF/DH types, that can do nothing else.

Houston Astros sign RHRP Hector Rondon (non-tendered by Cubs on 12/1). 

If Cobb's price is too high (saw one rumor of asking $20M per year), I wonder if they might consider going for Wade Davis and moving Monty to the rotation? They would need to find a long man or two (Grimm? Maples?).

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  • QuietMan 1 hour 31 min ago (view)

    Edwards optioned to Iowa per Jesse Rogers,

     

  • George Altman 1 hour 46 min ago (view)

    Yeah.....yeah. I think I'm good too. Put him and Strop in the Shawn Greene deal.

     

  • Mike Wellman 3 hours 54 min ago (view)

    I feel like I've already waited & seen enough of CEJ...

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 4 hours 16 min ago (view)

    Not as much as it makes his stomach tighten!

    i dont think we should trade him. We would get nothing of value back. But I don’t think he should be a bullpen piece on a playoff contender either. He should be in Iowa. Reassess where he’s at for September and next year. If they don’t like what they see, non-tender.

     

  • Charlie 4 hours 48 min ago (view)

    Cheap may not be the right word, but has put up reasonable value per dollar compared to other relievers prior to this ear.

    He accrued 2.9 bWAR 2017-2018. Strop put up 3.2 bWAR during the same period. Edwards is making $1.5M this year. Strop is making $6.25M. He'll get a bump again this offseason even if he doesn't rebound in the second half, of course. I just don't see a need to trade him unless the Cubs are being offered value in return.

    That said, it does make my stomach knot up a bit when I see they are bringing him into a close game.

     

  • Arizona Phil 12 hours 25 min ago (view)

    Carl Edwards Jr will be out of minor league options next season (2020), and he will (once again) be arbitration-eligible post-2019 (he was "Super Two" arb eligible post-2018) and he will be a FA post-2022. 

     

  • crunch 18 hours 8 min ago (view)

    cubs lose, cards win, brews win.

    boo.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 19 hours 54 min ago (view)

    I think this is his last option year. And he’s not as cheap as you’d think, he’s a super two qualified player this year.

     

  • Charlie 20 hours 3 min ago (view)

    Edwards is frustrating at times. Some of that frustration comes from thinking he could be much better than he currently is. But prior to this year (in which he has pitched very few innings), he's overall been an OK relief pitcher in the majors. I'm happy to wait and see on him for quite a while. Still has an option and is cheap, right?

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 21 hours 2 min ago (view)

    I feel pretty safe in saying that 1. They don’t want him and 2. If they did, things wouldn’t improve for CJ.

    Allowing inherited runners and 1-2 of your own in a close game is what I like to call the “Carl Jr Special.” It was formerly a Justin Grimm special, thankfully Carl stepped up to fill that void.

     

  • crunch 21 hours 10 min ago (view)

    there's always nick castellanos for a chance to rid of edwards...at which point a couple month rental will probably turn edwards into their ace closer or something just as awesome.

     

  • Eric S 21 hours 11 min ago (view)

    The bitter side of me thinks it should have been a two for one trade for Maldonado 

    Anyways, has not been a clean series for the Cubs against the Padres - fortunate to have won the series and a 7-2 home stand is a pretty big dill. Or deal. Or something

     

  • crunch 21 hours 16 min ago (view)

    edwards gonna edwards...blah

     

  • bradsbeard 22 hours 44 min ago (view)

    Thanks for the clarification. Guess we’ll find out what he’s going to do sooner than later. 

     

  • crunch 23 hours 48 min ago (view)

    delay over, game on.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    And if Zobrist were to consent to an Optional Assignment to the minors for the purpose of getting into playing shape, it could very well be to AA Tennessee (close to his home in Nashville) rather than to AAA Iowa. He might even just play home games for the Smokies and then work out on his own while they are on the road.