Cubs MLB Roster

Cubs Organizational Depth Chart
40-Man Roster Info

37 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (three slots are open)

Last updated 11-17-2023
* bats or throws left
# bats both

Adbert Alzolay 
Michael Arias
Javier Assad
Ben Brown
Jose Cuas
Kyle Hendricks
Porter Hodge
* Bailey Horn
Caleb Kilian
Mark Leiter Jr
* Luke Little
Julian Merryweather
Daniel Palencia
Michael Rucker
* Drew Smyly
* Justin Steele
Jameson Taillon
Keegan Thompson
Hayden Wesneski 
* Jordan Wicks

Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

Nico Hoerner
Nick Madrigal
* Miles Mastrobuoni
* Matt Mervis
Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson
Luis Vazquez
Patrick Wisdom

Kevin Alcantara
Alexander Canario
* Pete Crow-Armstrong
Brennen Davis
# Ian Happ
Seiya Suzuki
* Mike Tauchman


Minor League Rosters
Rule 5 Draft 
Minor League Free-Agents

Jesus and DeJesus Are Just Alright

Jesus Morelli lined an RBI single to left to knock-in the tying run and Johan DeJesus roped a two-run double off the LF fence to plate the go-ahead runs, as a split squad of EXST Cubs rallied with five runs in the bottom of the 8th to defeat the EXST Angels 6-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.

Recently signed 27-year old Cuban defector INF Rafael Valdes made his U. S. debut at Fitch Park today, playing shortstop and hitting 4th. Valdes made one error, booting a hard hit grounder in the 4th, but he also handled several other chances smoothly, including a couple of nifty turns on two key DP grounders. The lanky 6’2 165 right-handed hitting Valdes went 1-5 at the plate, reaching base on an infield hit in his first AB, then flying out to CF (once to the warning track) in his next three PA, before popping out weakly to the 1st baseman in his final AB. Given his age and experience (he played in international tournaments with Team Cuba and several seasons for Pinar Del Rio in the Cuban National Series, hitting 310/386/543 in his final season before defecting in 2009), I would think Valdes will likely be moved up to a full-season team once Extended Spring Training has concluded.

Also making his 2011 debut in today’s game was 3B Brandon May, who spent the first 2-1/2 months of the season on the DL while recovering from Valley Fever. May played 3B for five innings and got two at-bats, striking out (swinging) both times. May looked very rusty, and could not catch-up to any of the fastballs he saw today.

Peoria RHP Manolin DeLeon continued his EXST rehab assignment, throwing 2.1 IP of shutout ball. He has been throwing the ball very well since returning to game action, and based on that I would think DeLeon will be moved up to Peoria (if not to Daytona) sooner rather than later.

Reggie Golden broke an 0-23 slump (including ten strikeouts) today with a single in the Cubs five-run 8th. Golden had gone hitless since smashing a home run in a game at Salt River Fields last Tuesday.

And in addition to driving-in what proved to be the winning run with his 8th inning double, catcher Johan DeJesus threw-out another base-runner trying to steal. DeJesus has now thrown out 54% of the opposition runners trying to steal against him (13-24 CS) in Extended Spring Training games (after 46% CS for DSL Cubs #2 in 2010), and looks like he will probably be the #1 catcher for the AZL Cubs this summer. (Of the three DSL catchers brought up to Fitch Park for Minor League Camp this past March, DeJesus remained with the Peoria squad the longest before being moved-down to the Boise/Mesa group).

In EXST Cubs roster news, 1B Ryan Cuneo has (finally) actually reported to Peoria, and C Chad Noble and INF Dustin Harrington have been moved up to Daytona from Extended Spring Training. And LHP Jeffry Antigua has arrived at Fitch Park from Peoria.

Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):

1. Pin-Chieh Chen, CF: 0-5 (2-3, F-9, 4-6 FC, K, 6-4 FC, RBI, SB)
2. Gregori Gonzalez, 2B: 2-5 (6-3, 6-3, 1B, 1B, 6-3, R)
3. Wilson Contreras, 1B-3B: 3-5 (1B, 1B, K, 1B, P-3, R)
4. Rafael Valdes, SS: 1-5 (1B, F-8, F-8, F-8, P-3)
5. Jesus Morelli, DH: 1-4 (K, BB, 6-3, 1B, 5-3, R, RBI)
6. Reggie Golden, RF: 1-4 (K, K, 5-3, 1B, R)
7. Johan DeJesus, C: 1-4 (L-4, 1-3, F-7, 2B, R, 2 RBI)
8a. Brandon May, 3B: 0-2 (K, K)
8b. Max Kwan, 1B: 1-1 (3B, HBP, R)
9. Blair Springfield, LF: 0-2 (F-9, BB, 6-3, BB, 2 RBI)

1. Hunter Ackerman: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 60 pitches (39 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
2. Jose Rosario: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 46 pitches (25 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
3. Manolin DeLeon: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 32 pitches (19 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
4. Colin Richardson, 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 25 pitches (15 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO

1. P Hunter Ackerman - E1 (errant throw on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed runner to advance to 2nd base)
2. SS Rafael Valdes - E6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
3. 3B Wilson Contreras - E5 (throwing error on attempted force play at 2nd base allowed runner to reach 2nd base safely & advance to 3rd)

Johan DeJesus: 1-1 CS


WEATHER: Partly cloudy and breezy with temperatures in the 80’s 


[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

so if I think I saw what I saw there... walk Hernandez IBB to get to Volquez who inside outs a ball towards Pena. A bit of a weird spin and Pena muffs a backhanded play that goes about 10 ft into the outfield in right. Barney gets to it and tries to throw it home. Garza went to cover first and cut off the throw thinking it was going to him for a belated play at first. Garza turns and fires and it didn't bounce or anything, but I guess it was wide and Welington missed it completely. Looks like it would have been a bang-bang play at home if the Welington caught it. Ball goes into a camera well or something and the third run scores.

I've reached the point that if you detach yourself from being a Cubs fan, watching them self destruct every day is better than most comedies. They're also very consistent, and getting more so. How many screw ups tonight? 3, at least. This is below Little League level defense.

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I bet Sandberg would still take the job.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

Fire: 1. Quade 2. All coaches 3. The infield 4. The outfield 5. The bench 6. The starters 7. The bullpen 8. The bat boy 9. Dusty Baker (just because) 10. Hendry 11. Kenney 12. Ricketts 13. Rain 14. Baseball

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

It would be neat if Ricketts got Sandberg on the phone, apologized and told him to pack his bags for Cincy, then walked in to Hendry's donut making department, told him to pack up his sprinkles and powdered suger and squeeze himself out of the door. He won't because he probably doesn't want to look like Stienbrenner or Snyder, but I bet he's sorely tempted.

3.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

AzPhil, First off, I forgot to say thanks for answering my questions last time. Any information on how Richardson has looked? Velo? Stuff? Changeup was supposedly pretty solid, I think. IIRC, the kid was starting to touch the low 90's at the end of his HS days, and the Cubs thought he would get a bit stronger. Relatively athletic kid, if i remember correctly. Besides Golden, who would be the top power guys in XST right now?

[ ]

In reply to by toonsterwu

Submitted by toonsterwu on Tue, 05/17/2011 - 10:40pm. AzPhil, First off, I forgot to say thanks for answering my questions last time. Any information on how Richardson has looked? Velo? Stuff? Changeup was supposedly pretty solid, I think. IIRC, the kid was starting to touch the low 90's at the end of his HS days, and the Cubs thought he would get a bit stronger. Relatively athletic kid, if i remember correctly. Besides Golden, who would be the top power guys in XST right now? =================================== TOONSTER: Colin Richardson has not been particularly impressive so far. He didn't start pitching in EXST games until a couple of weeks ago, though, so he may still be rounding into shape. As for his stuff, he throws in the upper 80's with an advanced change-up, but his breaking ball needs work. He usually throws a high percentage of strikes and avoids pitching from behind in the count, but when he doesn't have good control (like yesterday) he gets hit fairly hard. He's defintely more athletic than Ben "Big Daddy" Wells and Dustin Fitzgerald (for example), but I guess that's really not saying much. Reggie Golden's power is in a class by itself, but as for other guys with HR power, Dong-Yub Kim has plus bat speed but needs to elevate the ball more. When he does (and he does do it occasionally) he has definite HR power. He just needs to find a position (he's Alfonso Soriano in LF, and appears lost at 1B). Wilson Contreras, Xavier Batista, Dustin Geiger, and Jesus Morelli (who put on 15 pounds of muscle last off-season) have HR power they will show-off in BP, but they rarely show it in games. Marco Hernandez has HR power and plus bat speed when he hits LH, but he's more of a slap hitter when he bats RH. BTW, although he has no HR power, the most improved player at EXST is (was) Kyung-Min Na. He was recently moved-up to Peoria (he was the last position player cut from Peoria at the end of Minor League Camp), and is already a Gold Glove caliber defender in CF with a plus arm, and of course he has blazing speed. One thing he had lacked was a plan at the plate, but he finally figured out that an F-8 wasn't going to get him anywhere, so he worked on perfecting more of a spray line-drive stroke (sort of like Hak-Ju Lee), and sometimes he will bunt or intentionally chop the ball to get more infield hits. He also has improved his base stealing technique a lot. The problem (of course) is that he is blocked in the pipeline by Szczur-Silva-Ha-B. Jackson.

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

The problem (of course) is that he is blocked in the pipeline by Szczur-Silva-Ha-B. Jackson. Phil Who of this group do you think will eventually move off of CF? Does Ha have the arm for RF? I think I remember hearing that Jackson would move to LF when Szczur/TBD are ready for CF. Considering that they don't draft many power corner bats I'm just wondering what you'd think of an outfield made of all CF's.

[ ]

In reply to by Jumbo

Submitted by Jumbo on Wed, 05/18/2011 - 10:25am. The problem (of course) is that he is blocked in the pipeline by Szczur-Silva-Ha-B. Jackson. Phil Who of this group do you think will eventually move off of CF? Does Ha have the arm for RF? I think I remember hearing that Jackson would move to LF when Szczur/TBD are ready for CF. Considering that they don't draft many power corner bats I'm just wondering what you'd think of an outfield made of all CF's. ======================================== JUMBO: While all three can play CF, if Jae-Hoon Ha, Brett Jackson, and Matt Szczur were on the same team, it would probably be B. Jackson-Szczur-Ha LF-CF-RF. Jae-Hoon Ha has a plus-arm. He was moved from RF to CF at Instructs last Fall, proving to everybody that he could indeed handle CF.

Phil, in looking at the 40 man on the site, I find myself wondering are you keeping track of the players' service time, or is there a website for it? Just curious! Thanks!

[ ]

In reply to by Koyies Bansaw

Submitted by Koyies Bansaw on Tue, 05/17/2011 - 11:03pm. Phil, in looking at the 40 man on the site, I find myself wondering are you keeping track of the players' service time, or is there a website for it? Just curious! Thanks! ================================================ K BANSAW: I have MLB Service Time for players on the Cubs 40-man roster updated only through the 2010 season, and I will update service time for Cubs players through the 2011 season immediately after the end of the MLB regular season. If you have a question about a particular player or players, let me know.

Phil - couple things...wondered what Mark Johnson's demeanor is as a skipper - after us here in Boise have seen Casey Kopitzke and Jody Davis, both former catchers, the last two seasons. Also - wondered if you knew the status of pitchers Hector Mayora, Tarlandas Mitchell, and Tzu-An Wang (haven't seen them in your reports), with the same going for catcher Carlos Romero and infielder Gioskar Amaya. Good to see Chen continuing to hit well after such a rough start to Extended - I liked him the final two weeks last season.

[ ]

In reply to by BoiseHawks

Submitted by BoiseHawks on Tue, 05/17/2011 - 11:41pm. Phil - couple things...wondered what Mark Johnson's demeanor is as a skipper - after us here in Boise have seen Casey Kopitzke and Jody Davis, both former catchers, the last two seasons. Also - wondered if you knew the status of pitchers Hector Mayora, Tarlandas Mitchell, and Tzu-An Wang (haven't seen them in your reports), with the same going for catcher Carlos Romero and infielder Gioskar Amaya. Good to see Chen continuing to hit well after such a rough start to Extended - I liked him the final two weeks last season ==================================================== HAWK: Mark Johnson's personality and managerial style is a lot like Casey Kopitzke's, although I think Johnson is still feeling his way as a manager. Tarlandus Mitchell has an ankle injury, but I don't know what ails Tzu-An Wang and Hector Mayora. Gioskar Amaya disappeared at the end of Minor League Camp, although I don't know why. He could be injured, or he may have been sent home for some reason. Same goes for Hector Suarez. Carlos Romero has been working exclusively as a bullpen catcher and occasional 1st base coach in EXST games, but I don't know if it's because he can catch and throw but is unable to hit, or if it's because the Cubs are developing him a coach-mentor. (The Cubs are definitely developing Gian Guzman as a coach, as Guzman is a regular 1st base coach in EXST games, and he's even gone out to change pitchers a couple of times). With Max Kwan no longer being used as a catcher (he has Mike Ivie-itis, meaning he has a mental block about throwing the ball, even back to the pitcher) and with Chad Noble having been moved up to Daytona, the EXST Cubs are down to only three active catchers (Cabezas, DeJesus, and Inoa), and that could be a problem when they play split squad doubleheaders at different sites (as they did yesterday, and will tomorrow). So if he can hit, it's possible that Carlos Romero could be active as a back-up catcher on days the Cubs are playing a split squad DH.

Brennaman: "...put the ball in play, on the ground... somewhere, and then let's see if the Cubs can make the play." The laughing stock of baseball defensively-speaking.

Help is just a call away: Iowa Cubs Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Jackson, J (L, 1-3) 3.0 8 7 7 3 1 2 7.94 Caridad 3.0 4 3 3 4 1 0 8.64 Diamond, T 2.0 1 1 1 2 3 0 9.37

Gordon Wittenmeyer on WSCR this morning said we need to take it easy on Soriano's fielding. According to Wittenmeyer "Soriano was not asked to take extra practice in outfield until early last year", stating "Hendry and Cubs felt his hitting would cover up his fielding".

I guess nobody else will say this, because of how it might affect a certain unpopular backup catcher, but Wellington Castillo does not look very comfortable behind the plate. He might have a strong right arm--although he bounced the only throw to second I saw yesterday--but his left hand is suspect. His passed ball in the fourth was a fairly routine high breaking ball. It was an odd-looking miss for a catcher who is considered a major-league prospect. The dropped-third strike in the sixth where he trapped the ball and started walking off the field--the replay from the side showed that the ball was catchable in the air. In any case, the catcher should know when a ball is trapped and what to do on strike three with two outs. There's a catcher who just moved up to Tennessee, Luis Flores, who may be the real deal, defensively. I hope he hits enough to get a couple more promotions.

[ ]

In reply to by The Real Neal

"why you're not nit-picking . . . Koyie Hill" Hill is hanging on to his job by his fingernails, while Castillo is supposed to be our best catching prospect. Anyway, Hill has enough detractors around here, don't you think? I used to make a point of defending Hill, but that was when Rothschild was around and I thought the pitchers could use a second opinion about what to throw and when to throw it. When Rothschild left, I said immediately that Hill had lost some of his usefulness. Now, with the team entering a transition period, they should be auditioning a few of their young catchers for the backup role. Watching Castillo last night, I thought I could see why they haven't been rushing him to the majors.

[ ]

In reply to by VirginiaPhil

Castillo does need to improve defensively, which AZ Phil has said before. That dropped third strike and no tag is inexcusable. However, not making excuses for Castillo, the entire team's play recently is inexcusable. Even late in the game Fukudome, supposedly among our best fielders, overthrew both cutoff men. Once again we're left with a Cubs team that somehow can't even do the fundamentals. It's different if you get out hit or out pitched, etc., but if you can't field a ball, or hit the cutoff man, or tag out a batter on a dropped third strike, changes need to be made, whether personnel/management or simply preparation. When the manager chews out the team for poor play and they come out the next day and play worse, something has to give.

if quade were not so new to the post the scenario around the team would perfectly fit the one that usually culminates w/ a manager's firing...even by our historically low standards, cub fortunes seem @ a low ebb right now...who is dumpable @ deadline?

by dumpable i mean who will other teams have interest in...and @ woods' salary i think the sentimemtality of keeping him is affordable...pena starting to project to do what he was signed to do now, unlike the rest of the cast of double digit per year millionaires

[ ]

In reply to by Dr. aaron b

Odd that you associate Dubois with me. I have only ever used his name as an example of the type of player the Cubs used to draft, but don't under Wilken. Walks are fine, I have no problem with them. But there is a such a thing as a hitter's count. Bradley and Fukudome think that 2-0 and 3-1 are a good opportunity to take a fastball down the middle. Maybe the next one will be a ball! Who would even want to watch a game where the hitters are straining to draw walks? Fukudome has a nice OBP and his walks can be very useful, but his approach is an embarrassment. Like they say in the little leagues, come on, be a hitter!

[ ]

In reply to by The Real Neal

Taking a pitch would cure what ails Colvin and Vitters (although there is nothing wrong with Vitters this past week). Taking a pitch is not the issue. The question is, why do you take a pitch? If the answer is, to get into a hitter's count where you can expect a fastball in a hittable spot, then you're a smart hitter like Geo Soto. I assume you're talking about the 2003 Cubs. Nothing special, a lot of .350-ish OBPs: .366, .358, .357, .352, .340, .324, .295 for Sosa, Alou, Lofton, Karros, ARam, Gonzalez. Today it's .438, .373, .359, .357, .348, .345, .339, .322 for Fukudome, Pena, Baker, Castro, Barney, ARam, Byrd, Soto. Soto's OBP is bound to go up. Not sure what these numbers tell you about the 2003 team's success in the playoffs, which had mostly to do with Wood's and Prior's numbers, especially in the NLDS.

[ ]

In reply to by VirginiaPhil

You're defeating your own argument. Now you're saying that these guys don't hit for power, so they should swing at 2-0 pitches to increase the liklihood they make outs? The point of swinging at those fat 85 MPH fastballs that are right down the heart of the plate (which isn't really happening by the way, you can check the F/X data or continue to live in your paranoid fantasy), is to hit home runs, not lace opposite field singles.

[ ]

In reply to by The Real Neal

I usually edit my replies to you, and try to take out the sarcasm and the mini-tantrums, not to be polite but just to sound like I believe what I'm writing. For example, is it really a paranoid fantasy to believe that Fukudome sees hittable fastballs on 2-0? By the way, I've been seeing Fukudome swing in hitter's counts lately. If he continues to hit up in the .300s, I will declare him cured and stop bad-mouthing him.

[ ]

In reply to by Dr. aaron b

I don't think that swinging at fastballs in hitters' counts is going to hurt his OBP, even if he passes up a few walks. It's just chickenshit for a hitter to take a walk-first approach, unless he intends to steal second and he's just a singles hitter anyway. But Fukudome is a right fielder, not a shortstop. I will say that Fukudome is a master at getting the ump's cooperation on borderline pitches. Bradley could have learned a lot from him.

I was at the "game" last night and I agree with the observations about Wellington Castillo. I don't think Garza is all that difficult to catch. It's pretty obvious they haven't worked much together. I would have had more respect for Quade if he had benched Soriano for the game (or season). If they have Castro sit and watch, Soriano (ideally) should have to do it too. I know, not gonna happen. Aramis Ramirez is sleepwalking through this season. He does not care and wants out. HE really needs to be confronted by someone a'la Hawk and Tony Perez to Hanley Ramirez. This Cubs Organization is piss poor from the foundation up.Shame on me for being a fan that expects better.

Robert Whitenack did it again last night 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 3 H combined 7-0 with a 1.87 ERA (2.40 in AA), 42 K, 9 BB, 0 HR between Hi-A and AA. 22 years old...

Jae-Hoon Ha has blended in quite well with the Smokies, with 5 hits in 14 at-bats including a double and a triple. This afternoon he had the game-winning hit in the ninth. The Smokies now have Ha, Nelson Perez and Spencer to play the outfield, with Jackson and Adduci due off the DL in the next couple of days. It's not clear that Perez and/or Ha will be sent back down, since they are both hitting. Based on their ages they are better long-term prospects than, say, Adduci or Spencer. In any case, there's no longer room in the outfield for Flaherty, so he has to play second or third and take starts away from Vitters or LeMahieu. Today it was LeMahieu, with his .351/.383/.493/.876 hitting line, who sat. This is a long way of saying of that either Flaherty or LeMahieu is due for a promotion to Iowa, probably to play second base (and possibly to free Bobby Scales). Flaherty is two years older and should go first, but on the other hand LeMahieu seems to handle promotions better. Will Tom Ricketts be forced to give GM Jim Hendry the dreaded vote of confidence on the next homestand? Truth be told, I’m sure Ricketts will keep his feet moving quickly when and if he sees the beat writers, whose questions he never likes to answer. Ricketts’ initial and most fundamental problem was not hiring a baseball man as president the minute he bought the team. A Pat Gillick would have looked mighty good at the top of the baseball org chart, and he would have been a good counterbalance to Hendry’s more impulsive nature. ~snip~ Ricketts has shown no sign of wanting to let Hendry go. The owner seems to be putting his faith in Tim Wilken’s drafts and Oneri Fleita’s player development and counting the days until the likes of Brett Jackson, Trey McNutt, Jae-Hoon Ha, Rob Whitenack, Matt Szczur, Ryan Flaherty and others are ready to move up.

Recent comments

  • Cubster (view)

    I blame Jason Schmidt’s 3/44

  • Craig A. (view)

    Was all that stuff with the Blue Jays just to squeeze an extra $10 million/yr out of the Dodgers?  It's more than enough to cover his California income taxes!

  • crunch (view)

    unless he pitches into his late-30 that is gonna sting.  a 70m DH...ow.

    it's great to take care of 2 roster spots in 1 player, and i'm sure the team will cut into the pay with the amount of merch/etc he can sell just by being attached to the team....but yeah, i'm not mad the cubs didn't go that extreme.

  • WebAdmin (view)

    Shohei Ohtani to join Dodgers according to ESPN. 10 years for $700 m
  • Cubster (view)

    I'm getting the feeling that Todd Walker might be a Shaw comp. A valuable hit first player but limited albeit not awful on defense. Hopefully, he has more upside. Not a bad floor if Steve Garvey is his ceiling.

  • Wrigley Rat (view)

    AZ Phil - If that's the level of return, I would want NO part of that trade to Cleveland for Clase and Bieber. I have some faith that the Cubs have a strong plan for which prospects they will keep (even if they dangle them in trade talks) and which they will move, because they have plenty of solid prospects they can trade but they shouldn't be trading any of the ones they hope will be future core players. Some guys are redundant, so I hope they choose the right players to keep and the right players to move. It's always important for a team to know its own minor league players better than scouts from other teams (obviously), but I don't think that's always been the case for the Cubs and many other clubs. 

    Cubster - I watched an interview with Carter Hawkins a couple days ago where he said that although Morel hasn't gotten into any Dominican games at 1B, the Cubs did send coaches down with Morel to work on first base skills during practice. So he is developing those skills, whether the Cubs end up using him there or not will probably be dependent on a lot of factors including how those coaches think he looks at the position while training. 

  • tim815 (view)

    He could still play SS at Double-A, but Vazquez, Hoerner, and Swanson are much better defensively, arm strength or not. I'd be good leaving Shaw at SS with McGeary and Ballesteros around, but by the first of June (?), 1B might make sense in DM.

  • crunch (view)

    i have no reason to see a problem, it just seems like it's his most obvious reason to give pause on him at 1st.

    the cubs situation dictates 2nd/SS isn't an option.  his arm dictates 3rd isn't an option.  1st or CF seems to be his best path and he's only played CF in summer ball back in highschool/college...and of course PCA is a better + closer to the bigs CF.

    it's a lot safer to say he's made for 1st than it is he's made for 3rd.  even as a SS his arm is weak, and it's not like his glove is so great he needs to stay in the middle-IF.

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    CRUNCH: Steve Garvey (one of Shaw's comps as a hitter) was a 5'10 right-handed throwing first-baseman with a rag arm. Jeff Bagwell (another Shaw comp) was a 6'0 right-handed throwing first-baseman with a rag arm. Carlos Santana (who played 1B for Counsell in Milwaukee last season and is an above-average defensive first-baseman) is 5'11. It's not like Shaw is 5'7 or 5'8. I don't really see the problem. 

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    CUBSTER: It's not that Matt Shaw can't play SS (or 2B). Shaw was a SS his last two years in college at Maryland and apparently was OK defensively. It's just that there are certain throws a big league SS has to make (the backhand / flat-foot throw from deep in the 5.5 hole and the leap & change direction throw after fielding a ball up the middle after ranging to his left) that you might not see every game. So while he might appear to be passable at SS, over time the below-average arm at SS will catch up with the player and cost the team runs. 

    Shaw is a good fielder so he could play SS (like Ryan Theriot did) and you would just live with the below-average arm strength that would rear its ugly head every now & again, because he is a plus-plus hitter. But the Cubs have Dansby Swanson locked-in at SS through 2029, so Shaw won't be playing there even if he were to improve his arm strength and remake his throwing mechanics.  

    As far as second-base is concerned, that would seem to be Shaw's best position, because the position requires a plus-glove but not a plus-arm. Nico Hoerner is presently the Cubs' 2B and is signed through 2026 (although he does NOT have "no trade" rights, so he could be traded at any time). So Shaw could move to 2B in 2027 after Hoerner's contract expires (presuming Hoerner does not sign another extension in the meantime), or the Cubs could preemptively trade Hoerner at some point prior to the conclusion of the 2026 season and install Shaw at 2B before 2027. 

    The thing is, the Cubs have three other prospects who also project as second-basemen, including Top 10 prospect James Triantos, Top 10 prospect Jefferson Rojas, and Top 30 prospect Pedro Ramirez. So while Shaw could very well eventually be the Cubs second-baseman, there are other legit candidates who could eventually take-over the position after Hoerner departs. But for second-base to open up before 2027, Hoerner has to be traded.  

    As far as third-base is concerned, the Cubs already have a Top 15 prospect (B. J. Murray) who plays 3B and plays it well, and he should be considered the Cubs third-baseman of the future (possibly as soon as sometime during the 2024 season). Also, I don't think that Christopher Morel has the "touch" required to play 3B (he is an athletic and rangy player who plays like the proverbial "Bull in a China Shop" or like a point guard who plays too fast and turns the ball over too much), while Shaw simply does not appear to have the arm strength required to play 3B. It is true that Nick Madrigal has made himself into an above-average defensive-third baseman, but I would not be too quick to generalize and say that because Madrigal did it, that anybody can do it. Also, 3B requires different perception, reaction, and tracking skills than does SS and 2B (which is why a lot of catchers can often play 3B fairly well), so not all middle infielders can play 3B well-enough to be an MLB-regular at the position. 

    The one position that is wide-open on the Chicago Cubs going forward is 1st base. Matt Shaw is a plus-fielder with a below-average arm but with a plus-plus bat, so he could be a fit at 1st base. Sort of like Padres first-baseman Jake Cronenworth, but Shaw has a higher ceiling as a hitter. If the Cubs were to move Shaw to 1st base in Spring Training 2024 and presuming he is able to play the position without difficulty, he could be in Chicago by the end of the 2024 season. I understand why the Cubs might think about Christopher Morel as a possible first-baseman because they want to get his power into the lineup any way they can, but Morel's two best attributes are HR power and raw arm strength. He is a rangy infielder (not needed at 1st base) with a plus-arm (also not needed at 1st base), but he also doesn't have the "flyhawk" skills needed to play CF. Morel's best position would be LF, but Ian Happ is firmly ensconced there (with a full "no trade") through 2026, which makes Morel a prime trade chip to be used to acquire pitching (or maybe a catcher).  

    As far as Matt Chapman is concerned, I would hope the Cubs don't sign him. It's not just losing the draft pick (Chapman got a QO from the Jays) or that he blocks B. J. Murray long-term, because that wouldn't matter if Chapman is still the hitter he was earlier in his career. But after a red-hot April last year he fell off the table at the plate the last five months. Granted he is a Gold Glove-quality defender at 3B, but you're essentially getting Patrick Wisdom offensively, and so he is not worth the financial investment (money & years) and losing a draft pick on top of it if you sign him. 

    If the Cubs don't sign Ohtani, Yakamoto, or Bellinger (and I am becoming increasingly pessimistic that they can), I would hope that they will sign position player free agents only to one year deals (with maybe a second year option) that can be easily moved at the Trade Deadline, and then get ready to unleash the youth (PCA, Shaw, Caissie, Ballesteros, Murray, et al) in 2025 (or perhaps even over the last two months of the 2024 season, if the Cubs are not in contention). 

    As for possible free agents the Cubs might target, Brandon Belt and Carlos Santana (who played for Craig Counsell in Milwaukee last season) would provide some LH power at 1B & DH (Santana is an above-average defensive first-baseman, and Belt still hits RHP very well).  

    I can see the Cubs maybe acquiring a pitcher like Tyler Glasnow in a trade and then signing him to an extension (Glasnow has the same agency representation as Kyle Hendricks, so an extension should be possible), which would not be the case with Corbin Burnes or Dylan Cease (both are Boras clients).   

    I think in part because of the Carter Hawkins connection with Cleveland, even more-likely than a trade for Glasnow might be a trade for SP Shane Bieber (a post-2024 FA but as a Rosenhaus client he should be open to signing an extension) and closer Emmanuel Clase (signed through 2026 with club options both in 2027 and 2028). The Guardians need power hitters and the Cubs have Christopher Morel, although Morel would not be anywhere near enough to get both Bieber and Clase (or to get Glasnow if the trade is with the Rays). If the trade is with Cleveland for Bieber and Clase, the Cubs would probably have to give up some combination of Christopher Morel, Owen Caissie, Moises Ballestereos, Kevin Alcantara, Jefferson Rojas, and/or James Triantos (probably three from that group), one Top 10 pitching prospect like Ben Brown or Jackson Ferris, and an MLB-ready reliever with closer potential like Daniel Palencia or Luke Little.