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)
BobbyD 3 hours 29 sec ago (view)
Cubster: I agree with your comments, save one. That the president is "leading" America. He couldn't lead a pack of rats to a NYC dumpster on an August afternoon. The "man" is a f'ing disgrace.
crunch 5 hours 18 min ago (view)
though the team cheaped out on this offseason (still an overall top-tier payroll), i was at least looking forward to seeing the beginning of the david ross era...and who was going to win the 2nd base job...
nothing about 2020 baseball feels legit anymore. just hearing the players talk about it, you'd think they were organizing a casual pickup game for charity at an inconvient time and place...doesn't seem like they're really stoked about it.
Cubster 6 hours 27 min ago (view)
June 1st is a week from tomorrow. Given 5 weeks of spring training before starting (July 4th?), the season is on the brink of going bye-bye. It's bad enough in 2020 to be losing prime career years for Javy Baez and Kris Bryant, let alone Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, Kyle Hendricks, and Willson Contreras. If one of them gets coronavirus, loses lung capacity, and alters their career arc, Cub fans will for a long time have a bitter taste in their mouths. All for, at best, a bizarre half-season without fans watching in the ballparks.
Alexander Dimm 11 hours 36 min ago (view)
HAGSAG: I've been following this all spring and I fully agree. Let's not risk the health of these ballplayers. Let's plan for 2021 an be done with 2020. I know that whole game will be changed next year but it's already morphing now. Just start with a clean slate. I don't want scientists watching baseball when they should be working on a vaccine.
Hagsag 16 hours 14 min ago (view)
I love baseball as much as anyone, but I cant see this working. Put the 2020 season on the shelf and plan for 2021.
crunch 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
i still don't understand how any of this retains momentum if a team has an outbreak...
it seems like that would put a pause on things not only effecting the team with the outbreak, but the schedule and future opponents...and past opponents who recently played the team with an outbreak...
if it gets started, hopefully it can roll to end without going off the rails. it all seems so fragile with a lot of moving pieces.
CubbyBlue 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
I wish I felt better about the possibility of baseball this year. All those details - it just seems like something's not going to work. And to me the worst thing that could happen is they get started and 2 weeks later have to shut it down, then try to start it up again.
Baseball's role this summer is meant to uplift, and that scenario feels soul-crushing.
crunch 2 days 2 hours ago (view)
add the bjays to the list...
whatever works to get people paid.
crunch 2 days 5 hours ago (view)
"Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Brewers will keep their baseball operations staff intact for all of 2020.
There will be no furloughs and only top executives in the organization will take pay cuts."
2020 has officially crossed the line now...making me like the brewers...
seriously though, it's about time some of these 100s-millionaire to billionaire owners acted like this.
brewers, wsox, cards, and twins have all promised full pay for employees through june+ (and maybe longer when revisited)
crunch 4 days 3 hours ago (view)
the "slow opening" seems to be starting up this weekend and into next week for a variety of clubs...whether it's the ballpark or training facitlies. most all of the player access seems to be limited to those on the 40-man and nothing mandatory.
nothing for the cubs yet (that i've heard about). chicago is still a bit "hot" but AZ is open for sports...
crunch 1 week 6 hours ago (view)
i can't speak for this or all of the US, but my state govt level safety committee reports kinda shape up like this...and this aggregated view stated below is my own...
we're still technically short for how all pieces of the testing scheme interact with each other on whole, but it's catching up and should be rolling smoothly for a task like this (seems to be a dedicated lab for all MLB) by the time the season is proposed to start.
Hagsag 1 week 15 hours ago (view)
They plan on testing 10.000 per week? I thought we were short of tests.
crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)
i would be surprised to see this go start-to-finish without some kind of stupid drama. it's not that covid is gonna kill a gazillion people while they bleed from their eyes or something...it's that it's so easy to pass it others. if you find one guy positive, chances are pretty high he's taking down a handful of others with him even if they're all good to go in a couple weeks and feel fine during that downtime.
Craig A. 1 week 1 day ago (view)
This is going to be full of surprises. Young players who don't feel that bad may be angry that they can't play. A team may loose several players at once. They'll need a taxi squad that doesn't practice with the main team. Even the best plan can't prepare teams for every possibility.
crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)
"Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that MLB plans to process upward of 10,000 COVID-19 tests per week, according to a draft of the league's health-and-safety manual.
crunch 1 week 2 days ago (view)
some audio from him describing his symptoms...