Cubs MLB Roster

Cubs Organizational Depth Chart
40-Man Roster Info

40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full), plus two players are on the 60-DAY IL

26 players on MLB RESERVE LIST are ACTIVE, plus eight players are on OPTIONAL ASSIGNMENT to minors and six players are on the 15-DAY IL

Last updated 5-25-2024

* bats or throws left
# bats both

Javier Assad
Ben Brown
Kyle Hendricks
Porter Hodge 
* Shota Imanaga
Mark Leiter Jr
* Luke Little
Tyson Miller
Hector Neris
* Drew Smyly
* Justin Steele
Jameson Taillon
Hayden Wesneski

Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

* Michael Busch
Nico Hoerner
Nick Madrigal
Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson
Luis Vazquez
Patrick Wisdom

* Cody Bellinger
# Ian Happ
Seiya Suzuki
* Mike Tauchman

Kevin Alcantara, OF
Michael Arias, P
Alexander Canario, OF
* Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF
Jose Cuas, P 
Brennen Davis, OF
* Miles Mastrobuoni, INF
* Matt Mervis, 1B

15-DAY IL: 6
Yency Almonte, P
Albert Alzolay, P
Colten Brewer, P
Daniel Palencia, P
Keegan Thompson, P
* Jordan Wicks, P

60-DAY IL: 2
Caleb Kilian, P
Julian Merryweather, P

Minor League Rosters
Rule 5 Draft 
Minor League Free-Agents

Roster Decisions Looming for Cubs

11/20 UPDATE:  The Cubs have selected the contracts of INF Arismendy Alcantara and RHP Dallas Beeler from AA Tennessee and both have been added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster. Alcantara was rated the Cubs #7 prospect by Baseball America last week, and Beeler likely earned his spot on the 40 with a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League after missing much of the 2013 season with a finger injury.  

Because they were eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft and were added to an MLB 40-man roster after August 15th, both Alcantara and Beeler have Draft Excluded status and cannot be outrighted to the minors until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day, even if the Cubs decide they need one of the two roster slots sometime later during the off-season. 

With the addition of Alcantara and Beeler, the Cubs MLB Reserve List now numbers 39 players (one slot is open).

Notable Cubs minor leaguers who will be eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft include OF Jae-Hoon Ha, RHP Matt Loosen, LHP Eric Jokisch, and 2B Gioskar Amaya.



Each MLB club is required to file its MLB Reserve List and the reserve list for each of its minor league affiliates with the MLB Commissioner on November 20th each year (or November 19th if November 20th falls on a Saturday, or November 18th if November 20th falls on a Sunday). 

If a minor league player who is eligible for selection in the MLB Rule 5 Draft is not added to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) by tomorrow's deadline, the player cannot be added to an MLB 40-man roster, traded, or transferred to a different minor league reserve list within the same organization until after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft. 


Although it could be held anytime after November 20th, the MLB Rule 5 Draft (AKA "Rule 5 Selection Meeting") is traditionally the last order of business at the MLB Winter Meetings, and it is a mechanism that allows MLB clubs to select (draft) eligible players off minor league reserve lists. This year the Rule 5 Draft will be held on December 12th.

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 for $50,000, 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 for $12,000, and finally a "AA Phase" where a club's AA minor league affiliate can select Rule 5 Draft eligible players off the reserve lists of Class "A" clubs for $4,000.


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 after he signs, 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 that followed his signing.

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, the next season is considered to be the player's "first season" for Rule 5 eligibility purposes.

3. 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 in the Rule 5 Draft, but a player on the Restricted List or the Military List is 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 made eligible for selection, he remains eligible for selection in all subsequent Rule 5 drafts. However, a player who was signed after being selected in the First-Year Player Draft (MLB Rule 4 Draft) cannot be designated "eligible for selection" in a Rule 5 Draft until after the first anniversary of the player signing his first contract with an MLB organization.

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. He has 30 days to decide. If he rejects the selection, the player-manager cannot be re-signed as a player during the following season. 

(last updated 11-17-2013):

Players who are most-likely to be placed on the AAA Iowa reserve list on 11/20 are in bold

Players who were eligible to be a post-2013 Rule 55 minor league 6YFA but who signed a successor contract for 2014, Rule 55 "second-contract" players signed for 2014, and free-agents signed to minor league contracts for 2014 are underlined

Arismendy Alcantara, INF (will almost certainly be added to Cubs MLB 40-man roster on 11/20)
Gioskar Amaya, INF
Frank Batista, RHP
Dallas Beeler, RHP
Julio Borbon, OF (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Justin Bour, 1B
Marcelo Carreno, RHP
Lendy Castillo, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Javier Castro, RHP
Zach Cates, RHP
Hunter Cervenka, LHP
Pin-Chieh Chen, OF
Casey Coleman, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Gerardo Concepcion, LHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Willson Contreras, C
Aaron Cunningham, OF (Rule 55 6YFA post-2013 - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Wes Darvill, INF
Michael de la Cruz, RHP
Antonio Encarnacion, RHP
Carlos Figueroa, INF (player-coach)
Eduardo Figueroa, RHP
Luis Flores, C
Anthony Giansanti, OF
Edgar Gonzalez, INF (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Enyel Gonzalez, RHP
Carlos Gutierrez, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Jae-Hoon Ha, OF
Marcus Hatley, RHP
Marco Hernandez, INF
Walter Ibarra, INF (Rule 55 6YFA post-2013)
Eric Jokisch, LHP
Austin Kirk, LHP
Matt Loosen, RHP
Jeff Lorick, LHP
Eric Martinez, RHP
Marcos Mateo, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Trey McNutt, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
A. J. Morris, RHP
Jonathon Mota, INF
Chad Noble, C
Alan Oaks, RHP (ex-MIA - acquired from independent league club & signed for 2014)
Yomar Pacheco,RHP
Loiger Padron, RHP
Carlos Paniagua, RHP (see NOTE)
Amaury Paulino, RHP
Felix Pena, RHP
Starling Peralta, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP
Orbandy Rodriguez, RHP
Greg Rohan, INF
Jose Rosario, RHP
Victor Salazar, RHP
Dave Sappelt, OF (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Brian Schlitter, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Ryan Searle, RHP
Nick Struck, RHP
Jeudy Valdez, INF (Rule 55 6YFA post-2013)
Chris Valaika, INF (Article XX-D FA post-2013 - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Yao-Lin Wang, RHP
Eli Whiteside, C (Article XX-D FA post-2013 - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Oliver Zapata, OF
NOTE: Juan Carlos Paniagua signed his first contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks as "Juan Callado" on 5-8-2009 and pitched for the DSL Diamondbacks in the Dominican Summer League in 2009-10, but the contract was "pending" for almost two years and was never officially approved by MLB. The contract was eventually rejected by MLB due to "fraudulent paperwork" and Paniagua (Callado) was suspended for one year and then was declared a free-agent. He signed with the New York Yankees in March 2011 but then was suspended again and that contract was rejected, too, because his birth certificate could not be verified. Paniagua was cleared by MLB in 2012 and he signed with the Cubs on 7-9-2012. Therefore, Paniagua could be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in December 2013, since 2009 was his "first season" on the field, and he was 18 on the June 5th immediately preceding the signing of his first contract, or he might not be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft for the first time until December 2015 if 2012 is considered Paniagua's "first season" for Rule 5 eligibility purposes (TBD). 


The Cubs must decide by tomorrow how many and which of their minor league players eligible for selection in the December 2013 Rule 5 Draft they wish to "protect" from selection.

The Cubs also must decide which of their Rule 5 eligibles to place on the AAA Iowa 38-man reserve list, making them eligible for selection in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft only. This is an important decision, because the Cubs (at present) have 61 players eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft (62 if Juan Carlos Paniagua is declared eligible by MLB), but there are only 38 roster slots available on the AAA roster. Most clubs leave three or four AAA roster slots open for free-agents who sign minor league contracts prior to the Rule 5 Draft (most free-agents who sign minor league contracts prior to the Rule 5 Draft want to be placed on the AAA reserve list so that they are eligible for selection in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft), so the Cubs will probably place about 25 of their Rule 5 eligibles on the AA (Tennessee) reserve list or on a Class "A" reserve list to leave more slots open on the Iowa roster.

This matters because if a club decides not to keep a player selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 draft on its MLB 25-man Active List (and/or MLB DL), the player must be placed on Outright Assignment Waivers, where any of the other 29 MLB clubs can claim the player for the $25,000 Rule 5 waiver price and assume the Rule 5 obligations. If the Rule 5 player is not claimed off Outright Waivers, the player then must be offered back to the minor league club from which he was drafted, and the player's former club can reclaim the player for $25,000, with the player being automatically outrighted to the Reserve List of the minor league club from which he was drafted.

There is no such "right of return" for players selected in the AAA and AA phases of the Rule 5 Draft, so if a player is selected in the AAA or AA Phase, he is gone.

Which players the Cubs might decide to add to their MLB 40-man roster is unknown at this time, although it is a virtual lock that one will be SS Arismendy Alcantara. RHP Juan Carlos Paniagua (if he is ruled eligible for selection), OF Jae-Hoon Ha, and RHP Dallas Beeler are the other most-likely candidates to be added to the 40.

The Cubs presently have three openings on their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), so if they add no more than three players tomorrow they will not need to drop any players from the 40. However, if they do need additional roster slots tomorrow or later in the off-season (for Rule 5 Draft picks, waiver claims, or any free-agents they might sign), there are some restrictions on which players they can drop from the 40, especially if they wish to try and outright the player to the minors. 


A "Draft-Excluded Player" is any minor league player eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft whose contract is selected and who is added to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) between August 15th and the Rule 5 Draft.

While a "Draft-Excluded Player" can be non-tendered on 12/2 and released or traded at any time, he cannot be sent to the minors by Optional Assignment beginning with the conclusion of the MLB regular season up until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day, and a Draft-Excluded Player can be outrighted to the minors prior to the Rule 5 Draft only if Outright Assignment Waivers are requested no later than 2 PM (Eastern) on the 4th day following the conclusion of the World Series.

If Outright Assignment Waivers are not requested by 2 PM (Eastern) on the 4th day following the conclusion of the World Series, Outright Assignment Waivers cannot be requested until 25 days prior to MLB Opening Day, and the player cannot be sent outright to the minors any earlier than 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day.

CUBS WITH DRAFT-EXCLUDED STATUS POST-2013 (last updated 9-3-2013)
Zac Rosscup, LHP

So any Cubs minor league player eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft who is added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster tomorrow will have Draft-Excluded status throughout the off-season. In other words, if the Cubs were to add Dallas Beeler (for example) to the 40-man roster tomorrow and then find out sometime later in the off-season that they need his roster slot for a free-agent or a waiver claim, they could not outright him to the minors (at least not until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day).  


A signed player who has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time cannot be sent outright to the minors without his consent. The player can waive this right, but the waiver cannot be signed more than ten days prior to MLB Opening Day, the player has the right to designate in advance which minor league team to which he can be assigned, and the waiver automatically expires if the player is not outrighted to the minors within 45 days or by the 45th day of the MLB regular season (whichever is later).

Edwin Jackson, RHP
Ryan Sweeney, OF
Carlos Villanueva, RHP

A player on an MLB 40-man roster who has been outrighted previously in his career and/or who has accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time can elect to be a free-agent if he is sent outright to the minors. The outrighted player can elect to be a free-agent immediately upon being outrighted, or he can accept the Outright Assignment and defer his option to elect free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season. However, a player eligible to be a free-agent if outrighted who accepts an Outright Assignment and defers his option to elect free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season forfeits his right to elect free-agency if he is added back to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season.

If a player eligible to be a free-agent if outrighted elects to be a free-agent immediately, his contract is terminated and he receives no termination pay. But if the player accepts the Outright Assignment and defers his right to be a free-agent until the conclusion of the MLB regular season, the player continues to get paid, receiving the balance of his salary through to the end of the season. And then if the outrighted player is not subsequently added back to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season, the player can elect free-agency anytime beginning on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season through October 15th.

A player who has not previously been outrighted to the minors or who has not yet accrued three years of MLB Service Time but who qualified for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" player after the conclusion of the previous MLB regular season can elect free-agency if he is outrighted to the minors, but an outrighted "Super Two" player cannot defer free-agency until the conclusion of the MLB regular season. To become a free-agent, the outrighted "Super Two" player must elect free-agency immediately.

Daniel Bard, RHP
Darwin Barney, INF
Brian Bogusevic, OF
Starlin Castro, INF
Mat Gamel, 1B
Donnie Murphy, INF
Blake Parker, RHP
Hector Rondon, RHP
James Russell, LHP
Jeff Samardzija, RHP
Nate Schierholtz, OF
Pedro Strop, RHP ("Super Two" player) 
Luis Valbuena, INF
Travis Wood, LHP


A player cannot be outrighted to the minors on the two days prior to the Rule 5 Draft.

Also, an unsigned player who is eligible to be an Article XX-D minor league free-agent if outrighted can be outrighted to the minors anytime during the off-season, but a player who would have been eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent if the player had been on a minor league reserve list cannot be outrighted to the minors after 5 PM (Eastern) on October 15th or after 5:00 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series (whichever is later) unless and until the player signs a major league contract for the following season or agrees (in advance) to sign a minor league contract for the following season.

Alberto Cabrera, RHP
Welington Castillo, C
Junior Lake, OF
Josh Vitters, INF


Players placed on the 60--day DL do not count against the club's MLB 40-man roster, but all players on the club's 60-day DL must be reinstated no later than 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series. Players cannot be placed back onto the 60-day DL until after the start of Spring Training in mid-February, so even though RHP Kyuji Fujikawa (2013 TJS rehab) will almost certainly start the 2014 season on the 60-day DL, the Cubs won't be able to move him off the MLB 40-man roster and onto the 60-day DL until after the start of Spring Training (and then only if the 40-man roster is full).    


Arismendy Alcantara is a virtual lock to get added to the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) tomorrow, and Jae-Hoon Ha, Dallas Beeler, and Juan Carlos Paniagua (but only if he is ruled eligible for selection in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft) are possible additions, although don't be too surprised if it's just Alcantara. 

If the Cubs do need additional roster slots tomorrow, RHP Daniel Bard (claimed off waivers from BOS in September) and 1B Mat Gamel (claimed off waivers from MIL in October) would probably be the most likely candidates to get outrighted, even though both can elect to be an Article XX-D free-agent if outrighted.

And even if they aren't outrighted tomorrow, Bard and Gamel could be non-tendered on 12/2 to open up additional slots for a Rule 5 Draft pick, players claimed off waivers, and/or free-agents signed during the off-season. Once non-tendered, one or both could be re-signed to a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, although that would require the mutual consent of the player & the club.  

Also, since he is out of minor league options and can elect free-agency if he is outrighted, OF Brian Bogusevic could perhaps get non-tendered on 12/2 and then be re-signed to a minor league contract (but for "big league money" - maybe as much as $750K) plus an NRI to Spring Training, Besides opening up an additional slot on the MLB 40-man roster during the off-season for a Rule 5 Draft pick, a free-agent, or a waiver claim, it would also allow the Cubs to send Bogusevic to AAA if he doesn't make the Cubs Opening Day roster out of Spring Training without exposing him to waivers and without having to be concerned that he might elect to be a free-agent if he does get outrighted. 


Raisel Iglesias (RHP) and Erisbel Arruebarruena (SS) have left cuba and should be available to sign sometime this offseason...both 23 iglasias has a low 90s fastball, but his breaking pitch is a bit over 10mph under the fastball (not necessarily a good thing to be so far apart unless it's deceptive). he's put very impressive numbers in international play, though. he's a long reliever who could transition to starter. arrurueeueubaubueuena is an all-D, no-bat SS

AZ, I don't think any of this is going to get done. Theo and Company seem to be taking a long winter break.

nice deal for Padres on Josh Johnson, looks like he had geographical preference that Cubs weren't going to overcome (if they were even interested).

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

In 13 appearances (16.1 IP) for Mazatlan (Mexican Pacific League), Jay Jackson is 7-for-7 in Saves and has allowed no runs on 10 hits and 5/18 BB/K. 

Although the Pirates signed Jackson to a minor league contract, he would be a candidate to get selected in the Rule 5 Draft if he continues to pitch as well as he has so far. 

That's what happened with Hector Rondon last year. Rondon was a minor league 6YFA post-2012 who re-signed with CLE, and then after pitching "lights out" in Venezuela, he was selected by the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft.


[ ]

In reply to by The E-Man

E-MAN: That's right.

Jay Jackson was a two-way player (P/CF) at Furman, and when he took BP at Fitch Park with the other pitchers, he was like a Man Among Boys. He was a good hitter (for a pitcher). He also was a star basketball player in HS, so he is very athletic.

The Cubs kind of rushed Jackson after they drafted him in 2008, giving him a start for Daytona in the FSL playoffs just two months after he signed, and then moving him up to AAA Iowa at the end of his first full season. 

The Cubs did not have to release Jackson in March, but they did and he signed with the Marlins, where he had a nice bounce-back year split between AA and AAA before becoming a second-contract minor league FA post-2013 and signing with the Pirates. 

Jackson had a 94 MPH fastball and a plus-curve when he pitched for the Cubs, but he struggled with his command. There were also a couple of disciplinary issues that put him in the organization's dog-house and may have led to his eventual release.  

His fastball is more explosive in short stints, so he could develop into a decent MLB reliever. 

[ ]

In reply to by jacos

worst offensive positions in baseball...Cubs "win" at 2b thanks to Darwin Theriot.

Suggests the obvious in living with Barney for one more season (hopefully less than that) until they're ready to call up Baez.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

I hate to say it, but Sveum's fingerprints are all over Barney's steep offensive decline last year. Barney was one of Sveum's offseason projects.
Sveum, hitting coach James Rowson and assistant hitting coach Rob Deer worked with Barney in November in Arizona to boost his slugging percentage. "It's not about hitting .300," Sveum said. "It's more about the OPS for him. He has slugging percentage on his pull (right) side that he never really took advantage of last year, trying to hit the ball away on every pitch." Sveum said it wasn't so much a lesson in mechanics, but a change in "philosophy" that Barney needs to fix. "It's about getting the mindset straight," Sveum said. "Your job is to hit the ball hard. It doesn't matter where it goes."
Not that there's anything wrong with the substance of Sveum's criticism, but how does it help Barney to read it in the papers? More generally, how does it help a young player to have a hitting coach and a manager rolled into one?

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

You're answering the wrong question, namely, was Barney the second-baseman of the future, and if not, what's the difference if his hitting skills deteriorated? As in Castro's case, the Cubs could have let him improve incrementally for several seasons and then traded him, rather than trying to overhaul his approach. Barney would actually make somebody a decent shortstop--where the offensive bar is lower.

[ ]

In reply to by VirginiaPhil

Barney's 51 wRC+ last year would have been second worst among qualified shortstops rather than dead last amongst second basemen. A smaller gap though and a little more company near the bottom if he played at shortstop.

Barney will have a long, fringe major league career because of his glove and occasionally ability to hit the ball over 150 feet.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

Just so you know, I don't really believe that you can play any position in the majors and hit like Barney did last year (.208/.266/.303/.569). His numbers a year earlier (.254/.299/.354/.653) were significantly better, and good enough to land a GG. His numbers two years ago were better still. I was really talking about his slide, perhaps due to the team's mishandling of him. His manager, who was also his primary hitting coach, was fired, after all. Talking about his fringiness is just repeating the point that he wasn't going to be our second baseman anyway. Sure, but so what? The point is you had an up-and-coming player who had won a major award and had some value, and now a large part of that value is gone.

[ ]

In reply to by VirginiaPhil

seriously, though...he's sucked since mid-season 2011 with the bat. he didn't start sucking in 2013. he spent 1.5 seasons sucking with the bat before anyone tinkered with emphasizing his power in 2013...which ended up with him totaling 2.5 bad seasons. i hope his starting days are done. giving him 550-600 PA a season is getting embarrassing no matter what he does with the glove. unless he regresses from 2013, which is almost impossible, then he should have many more years as a bench guy...but him continuing as a starter is getting silly. the cubs are basically marching jose macias out there the past 2 seasons...only giving him 350-400 more PA.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

it's ha's ability to play CF with skill, as well as having a plus arm that can play RF that hurts if he goes. m.szczur is waiting in the wings and can play all 3 slots well, but his arm is barely RF decent...if at all. he has a touch less power than ha, but a decent amount more speed. z.devoss is a nice CF option (that like ha, projects to be a bench/injury-replacement guy with low-end starter upside), but he doesn't have the arm for RF and it's probably 2015+ before he's ready. that said, it's no slam-dunk ha will go anywhere. he only recently turned 23 and he's a righty. unless someone is hard up for a CF bench guy or a 5th OF'r that can cover CF+RF skillfully he'll probably be left alone. all in all, we're talking about a 4th/5th OF here. useful, but not a system destroyer if lost. even as far as bench guys go, i wouldn't put in the same class of mistake as leaving ryan flaherty unprotected (especially based on team need). flaherty may not be hitting well for avg/ob% at the MLB level, but his D at 2nd/3rd and power is there.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

Jae-Hoon Ha is the second-best defensive centerfielder in the Cubs organization (only Albert Almora is better), and he also has the arm to play RF.

In 210 AA games at age 21-22, Ha hit 277/347/388. By comparison, in 163 AA games at age 22-23, Matt Szczur (who is on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster) has hit 266/366/365. 

While the offensive numbers are very similar, the difference between them is that Ha is a year younger than Szczur, and he's a better defensive outfielder with a better arm. Ha also displays BP HR power that could develop easily into 12-15 game HR-power as he matures. (In fact, Ha hit 11 HR in 132 games between Daytona and Tennessee in 2011 before shortening his swing as he tried to be more of a conventional lead-off hitter).  

It is certainly true that Ha struggled at Iowa in 2013 after he was promoted to AAA, but he was also one of the youngest position-players in the PCL when he was there. 

I think there is a good chance that Ha will get selected in the Rule 5 Draft, and because of his defensive skill and above-average speed, he could easily spend a full season on an MLB roster as a pinch-runner and late-inning defensive replacement to fulfill Rule 5 requirements. 

And I wouldn't be too quick to paint Ha as a future 4th or 5th OF at the big league level. While that might end up being the case, he's not exactly a "4-A" guy. He just turned 23 last month, and it's not possible to know at this time exactly what he will become. And because of that, the Cubs probably should have added him to 40 to keep him from being lost in the Rule 5 Draft. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

as noted in a past thread, and i believe you also stated similarly...i wouldn't leave him unprotected. he may be young...may not be solidly MLB-ready...may be right handed...but leaving a guy like d.bard on the 40-man while leaving ha off of it seems silly. it's not like ha has 2-3 more seasons in the minors to go through before he'd be expected to be on the 40-man getting his shot in the bigs anyway. hell, i'd rather have ha than b.jackson on the 40-man at this point...or just use that last slot on the 40-man that's empty...whatever. i wonder what the front office is cooking up that needs that roster slot empty, anyway...if anything.

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

there's always an incredible gap between the amount of Rule 5 angst vs. actual importance

regardless, Szczur is only on the 40-man because of his draft deal and he walks better and has better speed

is it possible the Cubs will regret not protecting Ha? Sure...

Are the odds very good that they will regret it or even lose him? Not at all....

Fwiw, Baseball America didn't even have him listed as a potential protected candidate

for those looking for the Boston/Padres angle, Red Sox did leave off Kolbrin Vitek, former first round pick...Padres left Matt Lollis off ("Lollis would be an easy add in an organization with more roster spots, as scouts would consider the opportunity to pick up a 6-foot-9 righthander with a 95-96 mph fastball, even if the results haven’t always matched the stuff.")

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In reply to by crunch

For me, it's not about trying to measure his overall future value. For a team in a rebuild, it should really just be a two-part question. 1) Does the player have future MLB potential? 2) Is there room on the 40 man, either open spots or inferior players who will not be part of the team's future? And the second part of the question is an enthusiastic yes. Really frustrated with the way this org keeps leaving guys exposed who have Rule 5-friendly profiles in favor of guys who have no obvious future upside at all. Once the 40 is totally stocked with future and current potential, losing guys like Ha becomes part of the game. But for now, it's futile, because this team sucks and its roster is well-stocked with shit.

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In reply to by John Beasley

oh, you're upset they lost Flaherty and Gonzalez....I mean I know losing two guys who hit worse (maybe as well) than Darwin Barney is a big blow to the pennant chase, but I don't know what either did that isn't absurdly easily to replace on the free market or improve upon. I know they could have saved a half million bucks or so maybe not signing the Cole Gillespie's of the world, but that wasn't going to get them to sign Anibal Sanchez either. This is a front office that is currently shopping for deals in the free agent market, not ever looking to overpay.

I get the nostalgia factor that they came up the Cubs system and you want to give them a shot in the majors so that we can then hate them (Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney wave hi). But the odds that any front office in this day and age is going to lose another Shane Victorino are pretty slim. Could it happen?...of course...but getting particularly upset over the Rule 5 thinking it's likely to happen or it's some grave mistake isn't worth the worry imo.

The front office spends 10x the amount of times studying who they should protect and what the future 40-man might look like it than any of us do. Mistakes are always possible, but there's usually a pretty good rhyme to their reason.

That all being said, they probably should have kept Flaherty two years ago and I think Theo even said so last year. But also, big whoop...Flaherty's utility and bench value are far more important to a pennant contender than a rebuilding team at this moment.

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In reply to by Charlie

Without revisiting the time and place on each of these moves, you can't really compare spring training and in-season pick-ups versus what they do at the beginning of the offseason to make room on the 40-man for free agents and the generally inconsequential Rule 5 draft.

Fringe prospects that might make good back-ups aren't anything to fret about in my opinion. Ha's got a lot of work to do to even be a second division regular. Not a lot of teams are going to start an outfielder with a sub .400 SLG that doesn't have elite speed or on-base skills, no matter how good the defense is.

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In reply to by Rob G.

Am I missing something on Ha? Is his ceiling even close to Reed 'Mantle' Johnson? If not, than what does he do besides a RF arm, that Szczur can't do? My 40-man reserve list would not have protected Gamel, Bard, or Murphy but my only add would have been Alcantara. I would hope Theo is aggressively trying to move BJax, Cabrera, Vitters, & Szczur for anything of greater value. When you reflect that two years ago (pre-Theo) these guys were Top 10 prospects on most sites lists, it's amazing how much this organization sucked and how far away they were from a championship team. Quite frankly, I'm impressed with what they've done in only two years. That doesn't mean I'm blindly loyal to Theo but it does mean I can see it taking more than 2-3 years before this team competed for a division title much less a WS berth.

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In reply to by George Altman

Gamel seems like a great risk to me, pretty high end prospect that has had injury issues...a lot better chance at being a Ryan Ludwick type find than most of the flim-flam we discuss around here. There's obviously a bit of history with Bard and once upon a time great stuff, doesn't look like he's recapturing it anytime soon though.

As for the rest of the names mentioned, sure they could drop or lose some of them, but outrighting someone is riskier than exposing them to the Rule 5 draft.

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In reply to by crunch

CRUNCH: Ryan Flaherty has hit 16 HR in 162 MLB games (equal to exacly one full season) in his two years with the Orioles, and he plays almost everywhere in the field (3B-SS-2B-1B-LF-RF). He could have provided some cheap LH bench production for the Cubs in 2012-13 if he hadn't been left exposed (and ultimately lost) in the 2011 Rule 5 Draft. And he won't be a FA until after the 2017 season, either. 

One unusual thing about Flaherty was that he was rated the Orioles 7th best prospect by Baseball America after he was selected in the Rule 5 Draft, and I don't recall that ever happening before. Most teams would protect a guy like that.   

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

the thing that burns me about leaving him exposed was it was pretty much known from day-1 that he was going to be taken by someone in the Rule5...and he was the 1st position player taken. at least there's still a chance ha will be around next year in the cubs system given his age and the fact he's a righty position player. lefties tend to get the most attention in the rule 5...outside of pitchers, which get the most focus.

It would seem to me that the Cubs could let a few of the recent sucks go, and stash others that have more upside. Daniel Bard, Donnie Murphy (not the worst, but...really?), Mat Gamel, Bogusevic, Hector Rondon... Would not lose sleep about any of these guys going unprotected.

future cub watch... "Diamondbacks designated LHP Tony Sipp for assignment."

Bruce Levine‏@MLBBruceLevine Cubs appear to be getting close to finalizing their coaching staff. Former Cub player Mike Brumley interviewed this week.

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In reply to by Cubster

he has an invite to ST, but given his performance the past many years i hope his only role is playing mentor in AAA. dude hit .187/.242/.280 last year in 244 round rock (hitter's park) a 33 year old.

Recent comments

  • George Altman (view)

    I couldn't agree more with everything you've said here Phil. It's 40-man Roster malpractice by Jed since November. Hendricks, Madrigal, and Mastrobuoni shouldn't be on the 40-man, let alone the 26-man. Add Smyly to that group, too.

  • TarzanJoeWallis (view)

    Those million dollar systems are hardly infallible. AI does not yet dictate how the prospects develop or how game is played. If it did what would be the use of playing? Team with the best projected stats would win every time. We all know better

    Brailyn Marquez and Jose Albertos both had tremendous arms and potentially major league pitches. So did Kris Jensen. Problem is none of them could harness it and, even if they could, MLB players can hit good fastballs. Estrada sure looked to be on that kind of trajectory. Very likely that by mid summer he will be again once the law of averages catches up with the May superstardom.

    Now let’s take a moment to focus on Madrigal. You know, the best team in the league at the moment, the Phillies, have Whit Merrifield. 105 PA and batting .181. Dodgers are second best and have Kiki Hernandez on the bench. 125 plate appearances and .193. The Braves spread the AB’s a little more but they see fit to keep former Cub farmhand Zack Short around. 47 PA’s and .158. Nobody complains much about those guys. I didn’t do the digging but I would venture to say that each have another light hitting utility guy taking up a 40 man roster spot as well. Two wasted 40 man roster spots each on these winning teams, not dissimilar to the Cubs. So while an awful lot of keystrokes on here are spent discussing Madrigal and Mastrobouni as they are - let’s just say, somewhat underwhelming, they are not at the core of what ails this team.

    The real problem is that the guys who are paid to hit aren’t hitting. The league has caught up with Busch, Suzuki, and Morel, and while I believe they will adjust at some point, it’s a process. Swanson, Happ and Hoerner seem to be in that multi year contract comfort zone that folks on here tell me don’t exist. The offense from their catching sucks and seems unlikely to improve much with current personnel. Tauchman has come down to Earth to be the true player he is. To his credit and counter to my expectations, the only guy who may be turning corner a bit seems to be Bellinger.

    None of them seem willing to play the small ball, hustle game that gets teams out of slumps. They show no plate discipline and, to add insult to injury, they have been quite unlucky at times. The lack of offense and less than stellar infield fielding has greatly magnified the issues with the bullpen, as well as their low performing utility guys.

    So let’s ease off the Madrigal/Mastribouni scapegoating. They are not stars and never will be, but they are not enigmas either. Utility players are what they are, and replacing them with other utility players, while possible, isn’t likely to solve very much - nor is the other approach of bringing up farmhands and letting them ride the pine - until the “stars” break out of their May malaise and start hitting and fielding better.

  • crunch (view)

    just to throw a bit of salt in the j.estrada wound...

    he has struck out 13 batters in a row over his last 3 outings.

  • Dolorous Jon Lester (view)

    The short answer there is yes he gets credit for the wins but he also gets credit for the losses.

    Phil’s point about the crystal ball is spot on. If all of the machinery and data and systems they have don’t manifest into essentially a crystal ball, what use is all of that? Somebody messed up.

    As for who else could have gone, I agree with Phil that a pitcher like Estrada, as awful as he looked last year, had shown he had at least 1-2 legit MLB caliber pitches, it was just a matter of finding them again. He was pre arb young power arm. Whereas let’s say Madrigal was entering year 2 of 4 arb years. He’d proven to be a defense first backup infielder incapable of playing SS. You want to talk dime a dozen, THAT is dime a dozen. THAT is a NRI. I can squint and see the argument to not lose Wisdom’s power as a bench bat. Or even Boner as a utility guy who can play OF and handle an emergency SS run, who also hits left handed and has options. But choosing Madrigal over an arm like Estrada was a poor decision, even at the time.

  • TarzanJoeWallis (view)

    Ok, so it’s the end of 2023 and going into the postseason. Cuas, Alzolay, Leiter, and Merriwether all had respectable seasons last year.

    So among Killian, Wesneski, Estrada, Palencia, Brown, Horn, Rodriguez, Little, Hughes, Wicks, all of whom had huge potential but huge questions heading into 2024, 1) How are you going to protect all of them? 2) If you can’t, who do you protect?

    How many times was the phrase “good problem to have” tossed around?

    If it had been Palencia going to another team and hitting a May hot streak, which could just as easily have happened, would we not be having the identical conversation?

    Brown just pitched seven no hit innings yesterday. Does Jed get any credit for keeping him around? Does he get credit for ditching Horn and getting something with very decent upside, Thompson, in return? How about picking up Miller, who has been stellar so far? Does he get the blame for Meriwether, and Killian, who burned up the spring, getting hurt? And is there a single organization out there that can’t say they wish they had a reliever or two they had recently back?

    There is very definitely a “lottery” aspect to relief pitching. In the last couple of years the Cubs largely won the lottery and spun much of that good fortune into prospect gold. This year others have won and the Cubs for the most part appear to be holding the short stick. So are we really going to have the neck of the GM who took this team from the utter doldrums to the brink of contention and a number three rated system over the course of a couple of years?

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    Except Jed Hoyer does in fact have a crystal ball and it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The equipment and programs acquired by the Cubs are not just used in player development. They are also used in self-evaluation (self-scouting). With the information available these mistakes should not be happening. The mistakes also include the Cubs post-2023 November 40-man roster strategy that values guys like Madrigal, Mastrobuoni, and Hendricks over younger talent with more upside. 

  • TarzanJoeWallis (view)

    Quick reminder that during much of the offseason the question marks were at third base, first base and centerfield. While the organization was stacked with outfield prospects, Mervis was coming off a solid season in AAA and was being considered a serious candidate for first base. There simply wasn’t room at the inn for everyone. There was clearly a place for Perlaza somewhere but he simply didn’t possess the complete toolset that some of the other Cub outfield prospects do. For myself, I’ve always had a soft spot for Darius Hill. Unfortunately, he’s another odd man out in a stacked system.

    And hindsight is always 20/20. For example, Estrada always had potential but was totally erratic in 2023. Cuas had a much lower ceiling but he was a steady presence in a relief corp with many question marks. Sure, it seems like a silly decision now, but Jed doesn’t have the benefit of a crystal ball. Everyone, probably Jed included, hated to see Estrada go, but it wasn’t such a crazy idea at the time. BTW, in terms of Estrada leaving via waivers, does anyone honestly think Jed didn’t try to shop him first? I have to assume no one was willing to to give up anything for him.

    Even given the way the season has gone, I think the only place where Jed solidly and clearly missed the mark that could/should have been foreseen was with Hendricks, as just about everybody on this board recognized at the time. Still, even Hendricks wasn’t a totally illogical move because they had exactly two locks for starting pitching at the time - Steele and Taillon.

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    The roster mistakes I am talking about occur in November, when decisions are made regarding minor league free-agents, Rule 5 protection, exercising club options, and the tendering of contracts to players on the MLB 40-man roster. The idea should be to maximize long-term control of talented young players (including minor leaguers yet to establish themselves in MLB). 

    Roster slots that can be filled by Spring Training NRI should not be allocated in November to marginal non-prospects expected to fill non-critical positions on the 26-man roster (like back-up catcher, utility infielders, 4th outfielder, and middle relievers) or to older players likely to decline. 

    And as far as self-evaluation (self-scouting) is concerned, the Cubs have invested literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in proprietary player development and analytical technology and have doubled the player development staff, so they should not be making some of the piss-poor roster decisions in November as they have been making. 

    There are ex-Cub relievers on other MLB clubs who could be in the Cubs bullpen right now and would clearly be upgrades over what's there, but they are someplace else. No excuses. Clearly somebody screwed up.

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    As long as there isn't a sore thumb / weak link in the group, a six-man rotation is preferable if a club wants to minimize innings for younger starting pitchers and keep veteran guys from wearing down in September. So Imanaga, Steele, Assad, Brown, Taillon, and Wicks would be the six, and that is actually probably one of the best group of starting pitchers in MLB (a lot of clubs couldn't run a decent six-man rotation even if they wanted to).  

    A six-man rotation does require a solid seven-man bullpen with no weak links and a lock-down closer, however, and unfortunately the Cubs bullpen as it is presently constituted (with Hendricks and Smyly in the pen) is one of the worst and least-reliable in MLB. 

    It would definitely help if the 2023 version of Julian Merryweather can come back 100% next month (TBD), but even that is not enough. 

    And Hendricks and Smyly absolutely cannot be in the pen if the Cubs want to compete for a post-season slot. If one or both can be moved as part of a salary offset in a trade (and keep in mind that Hendricks gets "10 / 5 no-trade" rights as of June 26th), that's fine, but otherwise the Cubs will just have to bite the bullet and release them and be prepared to eat some payroll.  

  • Childersb3 (view)

    You're only thinking about the 26man roster. Perlaza should've been added to the 40man roster. He then would have three option years.
    No GM is perfect. Theo wasn't. Jed has done some really good things. Pitching has improved wholeheartedly under Jed. 
    RPs like Hudson and Estrada are going to hit and miss. 
    Giving Hendricks 16.5mil can now be stated as a clear miss, and Kyle needs to be moved off the roster. They have to pay him. But the Bullpen spot needs to go to someone else. Kyle isn't a bullpen guy. But he's not a SP anymore either. 2016 Nostalgia doesn't win.
    Perlaza got more money in the KBO than he'd have gotten on the 40man, but Jed had the choice to give him a shot anyway. Mervis would probably do really well in the KBO also. But having watched Perlaza's bat speed for three years, I think he was better than Mervis.
    And Phil made a good point about giving Happ an extension (after having not traded him at the TDL in 2022 along with not trading Willy) when you're real prospect depth was in the OF. Happ is a really good 7th hitter on a good team. 17 HRs and 70 RBIs with good LF defense. That's Ben Zobrist like #'s. The issue is we have a lot of those kind of guys already. We needed a bomber some where in the lineup and LF, RF, 3B, 1B and DH usually provide those bombs.
    Seiya is good when healthy. He's gotten hurt every year, but he's a 20HR 80RBI guy when healthy. He just hasn't been healthy for a year to provide those #'s.
    Happ isn't a bomber.
    Morel is getting his chance to work out 3B. I'm glad Jed has kept him.
    1B? Hopefully Busch becomes 20HRs and 80 RBIs.
    DH? There's our biggest issue. We don't have a guy who can bop there. Just a real hitter. Mervis missed it. That's why Perlaza leaving without a 40man chance burns me.