Cubs Clear Roster Slots in Preparation for Off-Season
The Cubs have sent RHP James McDonald, INF Chris Valaika, IF-OF Josh Vitters, and OF Ryan Kalish outright to Iowa.
McDonald--who spent the entire 2014 season on the 60-day DL with a sore shoulder--elected to be a free-agent immediately (he was able to elect to be a FA because he has accrued more than three years of MLB Service Time). and Kalish and Valaika can elect free-agency right away, too (they have up to eight days to decide), because they both have been outrighted previously in their careers.
Vitters cannot elect to be a free-agent, but he will automatically be declared an MLB Rule 55 minor league six-year free-agent (6YFA) at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series unless he agrees to sign a 2015 minor league successor contract before then (possible but not likely... he will probably prefer to try his luck elsewhere). Kalish and Valaika will automatically be declared minor league 6YFA at that time, too, if for some reason they have not elected free-agency in the meantime.
All of the outrighted players can sign 2015 minor league contracts with the Cubs if they wish (with Valaika and Kalish being the most likely of the four to do so). Any player who signs a minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft is eligible for selection (as was the case with Hector Rondon post-2012 and Marcos Mateo post-2013), although if any MLB club was interested enough in McDonald, Kalish, Valaika, or Vitters to select the player in the Rule 5 Draft, the club would have just claimed the player off waivers.
So the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man Roster) now stands at 37, but RHP Carlos Villanueva will automatically be declared an MLB Article XX-B free-agent at 9 AM (Eastern) tomorrow (or at 9 AM Eastern on Friday if the World Series ends after midnight Eastern). That will cut the roster down to 36. But then OF Justin Ruggiano and OF Ryan Sweeney must be reinstated from the 60-day DL no later than 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series, so that will put the roster up to 38.
In addition, the Cubs must decide in the next few days whether to exercise their 2015 club options on LHSP Tsuyoshi Wada and RHRP Kyuji Fujikawa. (I would say Wada.. yes, and Fujikawa... no).
The Cubs also must decide by 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series whether to add any of their potential minor league free-agents to the 40-man roster. They could try and sign the ones they want to keep to 2015 minor league successor contracts (probably for 40-man roster money plus an NRI to Spring Training), but it's a player option... if the player doesn't want to sign on the line which is dotted, the only way to be sure to retain the player for 2015 is to add him to the MLB 40-man roster.
RHPs Marcus Hatley, Starling Peralta, and Dae-Eun Rhee (plus LHRP Hunter Cervenka if he is eligible) are the potential minor league free-agents the Cubs would probably most want to retain post-2014, but again, preferably by signing the player to a 2015 minor league successor contract rather than by adding the player to the MLB 40-man roster. .
MLB RULE 55 CUBS MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT POST-2014: (last updated 10-29-2014)
Lars Anderson, 1B
Jeffry Antigua, LHP
Alberto Cabrera, RHP
Marcelo Carreno, RHP
Lendy Castillo, RHP
Hunter Cervenka, LHP (see NOTE)
Charlie Cutler, C
Eduardo Figueroa, RHP
Luis Flores, C
Edgar Gonzalez, INF
Marcus Hatley, RHP
Ryan Kalish, OF
Marcos Mateo, RHP
Jonathon Mota, INF
Starling Peralta, RHP
Carlos Pimentel, RHP
Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP
Jose Rosario, RHP
Chris Valaika, INF
Josh Vitters, OF
NOTE: Hunter Cervenka will be eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league 6YFA post-2014 if he signed a 2008 contract when he signed his "first contract" with the Boston Red Sox on 8-15-2008. However, if he was “Signed for Future Service“ (first contract was a 2009 contract), he will not be eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league 6YFA until post-2015.
SECOND CONTRACT FA:
Jesus Arias, RHP (previously released by CLE)
Humberto Garcia, INF (previously released by CHW)
Yeiker Lovera, RHP (previously released by CLE)
Nate Maldonado, C (previously released by CHC)
Manny Ramirez, OF (previously released by TEX)
Brohiglyn Rivero, RHP (previously released by TB)
Julio Sanchez, RHP (previously released by COL)
Roberto Vahlis, C (previously released by TOR)
crunch 37 min 1 sec ago (view)
happ / rizzo / contreras(DH) / schwarber / bryant / heyward / baez / bote(2nd) / caratini
Charlie 1 hour 28 min ago (view)
Weather looks a *little* spotty for this afternoon. Here's hoping for no interruptions while Darvish is still in the game.
Dolorous Jon Lester 4 hours 17 min ago (view)
It really speaks to how hard he is to get to that he continually danced out of danger multiple times without his best stuff until the 7th. Once the 8 and 9 guys were on, he definitely shouldn't have turned the lineup over again. Agreed someone needed to be ready to throw 7th
Charlie 12 hours 9 min ago (view)
He was missing badly in the middle of the zone throughout the game. No idea why someone wasn't warmed up to start the 7th.
crunch 15 hours 49 min ago (view)
i wasn't initially on board with the extra wildcard team, but the 1-game playoff and having to start the next round almost immediately after burning a top pitcher really made that "extra slot" earn it's keep competitively.
i don't think i'm going to be won over by a 16-team playoff no matter how it's presented, though.
Sonicwind75 16 hours 21 min ago (view)
I triple that motion. Really liked the 3 in and 2 WCs with a 1 game playoff, best playoff setup of my lifetime. It reinforces the importantance of 162, winning your division and there is a benefit to get that number 1 seed too.
Eric S 18 hours 46 min ago (view)
Unfortunately scoring one run in playoff games is a continuing trend for this core group of Cubs
Dolorous Jon Lester 18 hours 50 min ago (view)
Hendricks really did a great job today. You could tell he didn't have his best stuff but kept them off the board for 6 innings. Deserved better than the L.
Normally I'd say this one was on Ross for not seeing that Hendricks was done when the 8 and 9 hitters got on in the 7th but.... one run isn't going to win a lot of games.
crunch 19 hours 19 min ago (view)
he also had his first 3-walk game since april 1st, 2019.
Eric S 19 hours 20 min ago (view)
Hendricks battled but the Cubs luck ran out in the 7th.
Lots of Cubs weak sauce on display this afternoon
crunch 19 hours 51 min ago (view)
ATL wins, bottom 13th.
HOU advances over MIN. part of me hopes this sub-.500 team makes it to the world series so more people can push back on this 16-team playoff stuff. it would be eyerolling if it's 2 sub-.500 teams (MIL/HOU).
crunch 20 hours 27 min ago (view)
cubs game suuuuuuuuuuucks. straight garbage.
cin/atl is off the hook (scoreless in the 13th).
crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
happ / rizzo / bryant / schwarber / contreras / heyward / baez / caratini(DH) / kipnis
ABC broadcast (all 3 games, W/Th/F)...
j.osich DFA'd...j.phegley added to be the "3rd/emergency" catcher
btw, the cubs play all early day games this round. wtf...
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
Couldn't agree more. It was fine for this nonsense season, but playing a full 162, what's the point of pushing for 100 wins if 80 gets you in, and there's no real benefit to winning 100, as if you lose the wrong two games, you're gone
crunch 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
There's a lot I hate about this playoff format and I hope we get back to 3-in with 2 teams playing a brutal 1-game playoff format.
i don't want to watch 162...or 150...games to see 16 out of 30 teams get a shot at winning it all.
we just watched the cubs drop 3 out of 4 to a team that was 15-38. dropping a playoff series to a team that had the 5th best record and survived a 1-game sudden death playoff has a bit more legitamacy than a team that didn't even have a .500 record (MIL + HOU this year, btw).
Charlie 1 day 16 hours ago (view)
Yay for playoff games taking place in the middle of a workday? I'll be watching this one well after the fact. Enjoy, to all those watching it live on Wednesday afternoon!