Cubs Clear Roster Slots in Preparation for Off-Season

The Cubs have sent RHP , INF , IF-OF , and OF 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)


SIX-YEAR FREE-AGENT:
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)

Comments

mlbtr is running with the story... http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/10/cubs-to... Cubs to hire Madden (based on Jon Heyman tweet and the promise of a CBS.com story to follow) Here: http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/writer/jon-heyma... and Kaplan says the deal is not done. sidebar adds some other twitter info (like Sadadev Sharma)

PREDICTION: Ricky Renteria will be given a contract extension and pay raise and will be promoted to the position of "Special Assistant to the GM." 

If so it would be just to keep him as far as possible from the playing field. In all seriousness though, why would he get a pay raise?

They will offer, doubt he will take it.

this is shocking news

...says no one.

Sounds like Renteria and Cubs worked it out nicely.

@jessespector "We fixed the glitch." --Theo Epstein, soon http://t.co/JZlgiiRqXD

the cubs now have a "Cadillac" upper management structure (with 2 GMs running things and a huge-paid manager) and hopefully they're investing in a 4-5m a year babysitter to manage a team worth watching. this intentionally tanking stuff is beyond old. come april i'd prefer the maddon talk to be the "well that's neat" of the off-season rather than the focus.

I heard they will be kicking the tires on Raul Ibanez.

I thought they were worth watching this year. Renteria may have had a few screws loose regarding personnel, but his team played pretty good fundamentals. I assume Maddon's teams traditionally do, too.

I wonder if Maddon will keep the hitting coach they just hired. Or Bosio. And play Valnbuena over Olt at third until Bryant is called up. I have so many, many questions.

I'm sure he will, I recall a few stories when Cubs were trying to unload Milton Bradley and Rays were somewhat interested and that Maddon is a guy that can pretty much get along with anybody.

I guess anything is possible, but I imagine they would certainly try it for a year.

Maddon to also replace Trestman, will also coach Bears during remainder of Cubs' offseason, according to the Twitterverse. Or maybe that was the Onion.

watching billy butler run 1st to home on a double...one of many reasons i'll miss baseball this off-season. ha.

going to the bottom of the 9th with SF trying to protect a 1 run lead and hosmer/butler/gordon due up...yeah, that's a satisfying game 7 even it ends without a KC comeback (or attempted comeback).

Madison Bumgarner for manager!!!

Well that was fun...

Speaking of.. guess who was taken in 2007 draft 7 picks after recently released Josh Vitters? /for the 1000th time FU HENDRY!

True, though you can say that about almost any team drafting in any round any year. With the supplementary picks, there were 61 First Rounders in 2007, and here are the only ones with a career WAR over 5.0 so far: 1 - David Price - 23.1 5 - Matt Wieters - 13.6 9 - Jarrod Parker - 6.0 10 - Madison Bumgarner - 17.1 14 - Jason Heyward - 24.5 27 - Rick Porcello - 10.6 34 - Todd Frazier - 10.9 38 - Brett Cecil - 5.5 48 - Josh Donaldson - 16.6 54 - Tommy Hunter - 6.2 Interestingly, round 2 had Giancarlo Stanton, Jordan Zimmerman, and Freddie Freeman. Jonathan Lucroy was round 3, Rizzo was round 6.

I thought it was funny because Vitters was released yesterday and looked up the 2007 draft and then vomited on my desk.

j.heyward 24.5...dude wut?

True. But Vitters brought to you by the same team that gave us other 1st round busts like Hayden Simpson, Mark Pawelek, Ben Christensen, Bobby Brownlie, Jerry Tabb, Scot Thompson, Drew Hall, Make Harkey, Ty Griffin, Lou Montanez, Tyler Colvin, and Brooks Kieschnick. It's truly remarkable that management only managed to cull a handful of meaningful MLB contributors since 1965. We are talking guys like Palmiero, Woody, Joe Carter, Dunston, Jon Garland, Cashner - that's it. I am not counting Josh Donaldson, who the Cubs drafted, but managed to trade because they evaluated him less than a constantly-injured Rich Hardin. in 50 years. 6 very good MLB players taken in the 1st round by the Cubs. When compared to winning organizations like the Braves, Dodgers, Cardinals, etc., it is both laughable and pathetic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chicago_...

Yeah, I am with you on that, I had a guest post examining the Cubs drafts throughout history this past June: http://www.thecubreporter.com/06042014/best-c... It lists all players with 3.0+ career WAR by draft year.

Ron Cey with a CAREER 53.5 WAR. Wow. Then you showed Mad-Dog: 106 Career WAR. Good thing we traded Maddux. He was not worth the money. [fucking idiots]

Baseball is hard.

Given the Cubs' system and makeup, should we be excited or depressed that a team can win with one elite dominant pitcher?

with the trend of run scoring, it seems that having a good pitching staff is nearly an afterthought...

Cards win a WS a few years ago without Wainwright the whole year and Giants win with bad Lincecum and no Cain. Just get in the playoffs and hope for the best.

List of 121 players (including Cubs RHP Carlos Villanueva) who were declared MLB Article XX-B free agents this morning:  

link 

These players were automatically removed from their club's 40-man roster at 9 AM (Eastern) today. The club retains exclusive negotiating rights with the player through 11:59 PM (Eastern) Monday night, after which the player is free to sign with any club.

There are 32 additional players (including Cubs LHSP Tsuyoshi Wada and RHRP Kyuji Fujikawa) who could be declared MLB Article XX-B free-agents depending on whether a contract option is exercised or declined prior to the Monday deadline. 

The club has until Monday to decide whether to extend a Qualifying Offer to the Article XX-B FA (so that the club will receive a compensatory draft pick if the player signs a major league contract with another club prior to the next Rule 4 Draft). If a QO is offered, the player then has seven days to decide whether to accept or decline the QO.

To be eligible to receive a Qualifying Offer from his former club, the Article XX-B FA must have spent the entire previous regular season on the MLB Active List (25-man roster) and/or MLB DL or other MLB Inactive List of that club. Players acquired in a trade during the MLB regular season are not eligible to receive a QO. 

A Qualifying Offer must be a one-year guaranteed major league contract with a salary at least equal to the average salary of the 125 highest-paid MLB players in 2014 (which is/was $15.3M). If an Article XX-B accepts a QO, the player must be added back to his club's MLB 40-man roster immediately. 

Also, an Article XX-B FA who signs a 2015 major league contract after the Monday deadline receives an automatic "no trade" right through next June 15th. However, if the Article XX-B FA either re-signs with his former club prior to the Monday deadline or signs a minor league contract at any time with any club, the player does not receive the automatic "no trade" right.    

 

Nats exercised Denard Span's option. There was some discussion about Cubs interest in him if that option was declined. Move on, there is nothing here.

Rob, can I formally request that you remove anybody from using this site who uses the term, Maddon's Men? Thanks.

you maddon, bro?

"Cubs Fire 'Happy', Get 'Mad'"

Dude. Perfect. Long sustained golf clap. (Picture big crowd at 18th hole lifetime achievement type ovation).

That was very bad. Yet good. High time they got "mad".

Would you say the Cubs are going to "get their mad on" in 2015. Eh? Eh?

I'm not Mad, what About You?

ask in april. if we're fed a shit sandwich of "savior manager" rather than players then i'll be mad...but not at maddon. sign em, trade for em, don't care...

Review of "Shark Sandwich"...

you can't print that!

AZ PHIL: Will CJ project out as a reliever in your view? Any other kids you have seen out there project as a potential TOR starter, or is Pierce Johnson about it? Have you seen Carson Sands yet? I remember you telling us about Chris Archer a "long time ago" when I would ask. Of course we know now Trey McNutt is better. Glad Jim Hendry realized it.

E-MAN: C. J. Edwards will continue to start in AAA and he could still eventually end up being a starter long-term, but I think it's likely that he projects initially as a late-inning reliever, along the lines of somebody like Neil Ramirez or Hector Rondon of the Cubs, or maybe Wade Davis of the Royals. That type of reliever. And then maybe as he matures Edwards could get slotted back into the starting rotation and be another Jake Arrieta, or he could stay in the bullpen and be very valuable there.

Exact same thing with Pierce Johnson. Edwards and Johnson have very similar upsides and both will probably break-in as relievers. They both have similar red flags, too, that being command/control. But when they throw strikes, Edwards and Johnson can be dominators.

Remember, we're not talking about just one or two more Brian Schlitters or Blake Parkers here. Edwards and Johnson have high-quality/high-leverage stuff, and both would probably throw even harder if they know they are pitching only one inning. It certainly helped Neil Ramirez and Justin Grimm. But with better command either Edwards and/or Johnson could be another Jake Arrieta. Or one or both could get traded.  

As far as the pitchers who project as starters, I like Jen-Ho Tseng very much. I haven't seen him throw since Minor League Camp (he skipped Instructs because of an innings limit), but he was the best pitcher at Minor League Camp last March and so it was not a surprise to me that he had the year that he had at Kane County. But Tseng is more like Kyle Hendricks than he is like Edwards or Johnson. Tseng has outstanding command and is more durable (so far) than either Edwards or Johnson and projercts as a classic rotation starter. Whether he'll be a #1 or a #3 or a #5 or 4-A is TBD. 

I saw Carson Sands pitch several times in the AZL and also  at Instructs, and he has the repertoire you look for in a lefty starter. A plus-curve, a change-up he can throw for strikes, ansd a 91-92 MPH fastball with movement that occasionally touches 93. I guess a ceiing projection would be a Madison Bumgarner type, but that is true for a lot of guys after they first sign. But Sands is an outstanding young pitcher (so far).

Trevor Clifton has filthy stuff but he is more like Edwards and Johnson, with command being an issue. I believe Clifton and Sands will be in the starting rotation at Ft. Wayne next season. Jake Stinnett and Jeremy Null will likely be in the FW rotation, too. Stinnett is the classic RH starter with a plus-fastball, curve, and change-up. Null is 6'7 and he throws from a high-angle downward plane. Null's two-seam sinker is very good, but he also has a plus-slider. He's just a two-pitch pitcher right now, however, but if he can develpo a decent change-up he would be a definite MLB starter prospect. James Norwood throws 95-96 with a hard breaking ball, but he looks very raw for a college pitcher. He could  be a "piggy-back" candidate at FW in 2015. LHP Justin Steele is another high-round LHSP from the 2014 draft class, and while he throws a bit harder than Sands, he is not as polished. I think Steele os more likely to be left behind at Extended Spring Training and then be the ace at Eugene.

Josh Conway has finally returned to full-time action after missing most of the last two seasons, first with TJS (before he was drafted, while he was at Coastal Carolina) and then the elbow fracture he sustained after slipping on a muddy mound at Maryvale (Brewers) while pitching at EXST in 2013. Conway has not got his fastball velocity back yet, and he is a slider first and fastball second type, with the change-up being very much a work-in-progress. So if he is just a "two-pitch pitcher" he'll end up in the bullpen (presuming he can get his fastball back to 93-94). Meanwhile he shoukld join Sands, Clifton, Stinnett, and Null in the starting rotation at FW in 2015 to get him more innings.

I am not as impressed with Erick Leal. I have seen him pitch literally dozens of times over the past two seasons (most recently at Instructs), and I have never seen him throw harder than 90 (and that's an outlier). His fastball sits consistemtly at 88-89, and it doesn't have movement. He is a curve-ball first pitcher.who uses the fastball to set-up the curve, but I'm not sure that will get him to MLB. He does not project as a reliever. It's strictly "starter or bust" for Leal, and he could be odd man out (relegated to "piggy-backing") if Sands, Clifton, Stinnett, Null, and Conway are indeed the starters at FW in 2015. 

Tseng, Paul Blackburn, Duane Underwood, Daury Torrez, and Jonathan Martinez (acquired from LAD for Darwin Barney) will probably be the starters at Myrtle Beach, although LHP Tyler Ihrig was best pitcher at EXST this past season and did a nice job at Boise and KC. Ihrig could be the one lefty starter at MB, especially if Tseng jumps to AA.

LHP Rob Zastryzny developed nicely as a starter at Daytona and pitched better & better as the season wore on. He mixes & matches a lot, changing speeds on his fastball by manipulating his grip and arm angle. Tyler Skulina didn't develop like Zastryzny, fighting control problems and then getting hit hard too often when he did throw strikes. Skulina still could be a decent starter at AA or AAA, but he is at least one tick below Edwards and Johnson right now, although he should be in the Tennessee rotation in 2015. 

Juan Carlos Paniagua is unhittable when he throws strikes, but he relies on a hard-to-command power-slider to get swings & misses. His 97 MPH fastball is very straight and he has difficulty throwing it for strikes, and although the Cubs used him as a starter at Daytona in 2014 to get him more innings, he projects as a late-inning reliever at AA Tennessee in 2015. He remiods me a lot of Pedro Strop.

As for the other starters who should get promoted to Tennessee in 2015, Tayler Scott is very hittable. His four-seamer tops out at 91, and his two seamer functions almost like a change-up at 84-85. Felix Pena is OK but nothing special, and so he will probably end up in the bullpen (middle-relief) when and if he gets to AAA (presuming he even gets that far while a Cub, since he can be a minor league FA post-2015). 

The 2014 Tennessee starters beyond Edwards and Johnson aren't in the same class as the guys at the lower levels. Corey Black has major command issues and he projects as a "boom or bust" power reliever, not as a starter. Ivan Pineyro has continued to suffer from forearm tightness in the AFL (often a pre-cursor to TJS), but if healthy he would project as a AAA starter in 2015 and (if he can stay healthy) probably a starter at the MLB level.

So tio sumarize, the Cubs have several nice starting pitcher prospects, but most are at the lower levels.

Although he is not a starter, Cuban defector Armando Rivero has closer stuff, and I would say he has an excellent chance to win a job in the Cub bullpen in 2015. He is 27-years old and he was a closer in Serie Nacional (the Cuban major league) prior to defecting, so there is no reason to keep him at Iowa for another year if he pitches well in Spring Training.  

I suspect the Cubs will park Arodys Vizcaino at Iowa for another season and develop him as a closer. He pitched on a rather limited schedule out of the bullpen in 2014, but the Cubs need to cut him loose in 2015 and see if he can handle the required demands and load of a late-inning reliever. After struggling upon getting promoted to Iowa from Tennessee, Vizcaino pitched "lights out" the last couple of weeks at Iowa prior to getting a September "cup of coffee" in Chicago.

The Cubs really need a good lefty reliever who can pitch reliably in the 7th & 8th innings. Wesley Wright is more of a #2 bullpen lefty. Zac Rosscup has the stuff to be a #1 lefty in the pen, but he struggles to throw strikes. Too bad the Cubs lost Jeff Beliveau off waivers a couple of years ago, because he is more what they need out of a LHRP. Hunter Cervenka is the only other lefty relief prospect above A-ball who projects as an MLB pitcher, although Sam Wilson could be the best one of all. Wilson should be the #1 lefty at FW in 2015, and he could get fast-tracked.  


PHIL: Thanks - I feel like I won the AP Jackpot :) I had the pleasure of watching Tseng at Kane County this summer. He was very strong - consistently in the low 90's, and kept the poor Beloit Bees - or whatever they are called - off balance until he got tired in the 6th (although it was only a 7-inning game - game 1 of a DH). I was not impressed with Belliveau in his work with the big club, but I guess Joe Maddon knew how to get the best out of him. Nice to hear about Carson Sands, and the Cuban, as well. As we know, many a solid pitcher get their starts in the pen - and I remember seeing Klayton Kershaw in the pen for the Dodgers pitching against the Cubbies - and dominating. From what I gather in your thoughts (and you allude to this directly) - we have some nice prospects in the system - but only at the lower rungs right now.

"I guess a ceiing projection would be a Madison Bumgarner type" I expect no less than 270+ innings from him in 2020, year 5 of The Dynasty.

"Clifton and Sands will be in the starting rotation at Ft. Wayne next season" I hope they get a start or two at Fort Wayne while they're playing for South Bend! (It's hard to tell the teams without a scorecard.)

VA PHIL: I still haven't gotten used to the new Cubs affiliations. For some reason sometimes I confuse one Indiana MWL city with another. I guess that's why I'm not Indiana Phil.

It's official Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 42s43 seconds ago Chicago, IL Theo statement: "Jed and I provided updates to Rick via telephone and today informed him that we will indeed make a change." "We offered Rick a choice of other positions with the Cubs, but he is of course free to leave the org. and pursue opportunities elsewhere." See ya, Rickster.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass.

"We offered Rick a choice of other positions with the Cubs, but he is of course free to leave the org. and pursue opportunities elsewhere." how about manager at iowa so he can keep an eye on that olt fella

Then they'd have to send Olt to Double A to get some playing time, and so on.

AZ Phil: While looking for more Joe Maddon info I came across an article at Fangraphs about top July 2 international prospects. I remember that this year the Cubs were very limited due to intentionally overspending their budget the previous year. How are the Cubs positioned for international signings in 2015 and are they linked to any specific players at this time? Thanks in advance.

SONICWIND: The Cubs will continue to be under ISBP bonus restrictions (they cannot sign an international player subject to ISBP for more than a $250K bonus) until the start of the 2015-16 ISP on 7/2. Then they will get reset back to the same place they were at in the 2013-14 ISP when they signed Eloy Jimenez, Gleyber Torres, Jen-Ho Tseng and others... that is, UNLESS the long-proposed International Draft is implemented in the meantime.

The projected ISBP that each club will be assigned for the 2015-16 ISP has not been announced yet, but the Cubs will get the #9, 39, 69, and 99 slots. 

I am not aware of the Cubs being linked to any of the top 2015 international prospects, but MLB has imposed new restrictions on clubs as far as working out prospects in advance at club facilities and making unofficial deals with players in advance, so I doubt that we will be hearing and reading as much about which teams are connected with which player as we have in the past.  

And of course the Cubs are not under any limitations as far as how much of a bonus they can give to international players not subject to the ISBP limits (players 23 years or older who have spent all or parts of at least five seasons in an MLB-recognized foreign major league).

 

Joe Maddon the Zen Manager...(thanks to @TheBlogfines for the compilation)

 ·  Feb 16

My main purpose now is 2 create the message & make sure the players understand it. It's a casual pace. They don't need me lording over them.

 ·  Apr 17

I promise you every team will have a moment like this. It's how you handle it. When you let it bother you that's when it gets more profound.

 ·  May 21

I want the boys to enjoy the struggle so they can draw on the experience when it happens again because it will happen again. Stop & learn.

 ·  May 24

Everyone is talking about it, but I don't mind the length of games. It is the silence between the notes that creates the music.

 ·  Jun 24

As always I loved the effort, but it’s actual victories, not moral victories, that we’re looking for.

Ok everybody, what next? Which free agents should the Cubs sign? I know everyone says money is the ultimate factor, but, all things being pretty much equal, I think a free agent is going to be more likely to want to play for Maddon than Renteria. Renteria seemed well liked but Maddon has that almost impossible to live up to aura, Now the problem is going to be which free agent is good to sign? Most of them have terrible long term value. Free agency is just awful right now. Who do you guys think is worth the albatross that most long term contracts end up becoming? Remember, the second half of their contract will most likely mean the team is paying for almost nothing unless the Cubs score on a rare exception. I'm assuming they'll go after Lester and that most everyone will want that, but who else? Here's a link to those currently eligible: http://mlbplayers.mlb.com/pa/news/article.jsp...

lester, sheilds, scherzer...if we wanna talk team need + top tier. along with what the cubs have, adding one of the above would give the cubs 2 top tier pitchers and an adequate 3/4 with hendricks + t.wood. if needed/desired at mid-season, they could go after another pitcher. long term value and free agents are 2 things that rarely mix, especially when you're handing out contracts longer than 1-2 years. a big market team gets the youth so they can afford to over-pay every once in a while when the kids are in the pipeline to take the $$ hit off the entire payroll...well, the big market teams that don't just throw $$ at guys with no thought to the kids in the pipeline anyway. things could happen on the trade market, too...impact things. i don't buy into the castro-trading thing this off-season, but they do have some interesting pieces which may be attractive to some teams. unfortunately for the pitching part of that, the angels have already tipped that they're looking to trade MLB-ready bats + prospect bats for pitching. outside of pitching...i wonder if they'll make a run at c.rasmus for CF...

Rasmus? Who put up a .298 OBP despite pretty average .292 BABIP? I mean, the power potential is worth a look in spring training and a minor league contract. But that's a lottery ticket at best.

this team has specialized in lottery tickets the past many years. he's a high-K, power hitting CF. i see him as a .250/.330 type hitter (when healthy), myself...nothing special. it's pretty much the only lineup need the team has (CF) and he could probably be had for 5-10m a year depending on how many years a team wants to throw at him. i'm not pining for him, but he's the only starter quality + "costly" bat i could see them going after in the FA market. that said, i wouldn't be shocked to see them not even consider him. i'm just tossing that out there based on age, projection, relative cost, and need.

The thing is, there isn't much that inspires me outside of pitching. I think they'll need to at least make a run at Lester or Scherzer. I honestly haven't seen much of Shields outside of the playoffs. I hope he was just tired. It's time to overpay for a pitcher, though, as much as I know I'll be grumbling about that pitcher's contract in year 5 of The Dynasty.

it seems the cubs have decided j.turner is worth a roster spot and $1m...picked up his option. meh, no big deal...even though i wonder what they see in him aside from his age at this point. he's a long way from the 2011 version of his arsenal.

mlbtr has it's free agent predictions up and there is quite a few Cubs in their X-Mas stockings. Predictions outside of the Cubs include: Jason Hammel-Twins; Victor Martinez and Luke Gregerson WSux; ARam-Brewers; Scherzer and Hanley Ram- Yanks; Shields and Liriano-Red Sox; Andrew Miller-Tigers. They predict the Cubs go wild: Lester, Masterson and Peavy. Also Russell Martin, and Dave Robertson for the bullpen. I might have been picking as I am usually 100% wrong (winner of the Captain Wrongway Peachfuzz award) when TCR has held that annual contest. I do like Lester and would love Miller. Not sure about throwing love to the rest (I like Russell but doubt he's coming to the Cubs). Seems like Maddon has held the fort without a star catcher although he's had league average or slightly better ones like Dinner Navarro, John Jaso, Kelly Shoppach, Ryan Hannigan, Jose Molina. I expect them to get an experienced backup like David Ross although he isn't much of a hitter at this point. I hope they figure out someone that helps. The year of Navarro/Castillo was a pretty good combo, especially as Navarro was a switch hitter. Jed stein has always been price sensitive as far as the backup catcher expense and Navarro was a terrific signing. Baker seemed like more of a good team presence but added little on the field. http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/11/2014-15...

so they have the cubs spending about $35-$40m on 3 SP and another $12-15m on r.martin. neat. i still don't get the r.martin thing...especially since welly has handled his pitchers quite well. it's one thing when it's time to pay him top dollar, but he's got a couple cheap years left (along with 3 years of club control).

"Also Russell Martin and Dave Robertson for the bullpen" Wow the Cubs must be really throwing their money around if the sign Martin to be a bullpen catcher. If Peavy signs we riot!

Sad but true... http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/ba-corr... or for those that don't have a BA subscription... http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/profe...

r.kalish chooses to be a FA.

Brewers acquired 1B/DH Adam Lind from the Blue Jays for RHP Marco Estrada. The 31-year-old has slashed .301/.366/.490 with 29 homers and 107 RBI over 239 games the past two seasons with the Jays and will add a nice left-handed power dimension to the middle of the Brewers lineup. He is a below-average defender at first base though, and should get plenty of days off against tough southpaws. Nov 1 - 2:22 PM

Nice pick-up for Brewers...Lind has trouble staying healthy, but getting off turf might help.

nice one for the brewers. they've had a weird multi-year black hole at 1st.

Cubs picked up Jacob Turner's 2015 option, $1M.

Ricketts buys 2 of the rooftop buildings.

Since Jacob Turner was not eligible to be an Article XX-B free-agent (he has just over two years of MLB Service Time), the only effect of having a club option was that the Cubs could have made Turner an "auto-renewal" player by declining the club option, and if he became an auto-renewal player the Cubs could have saved $200K by tendering Turner a guaranteed or non-guaranteed contract for no less than $800K (if maximum 20% pay cut), or non-tendered Turner and either offer him a contract for low base pay (no less than $500K) below $800K plus maybe a performance bonus, or maybe even a minor league conttract.

But the Cubs decided not to mess with Turner and just pay him the $1M.  

Bottom line is Turner was not eligible to be FA if the club option was declined, unless the Cubs had decided to non-tender him and take the chance that he would not accept whatever salary terms the Cubs offered. 

Contract sites say he gets $500k if he's in the minors and has the same option for next year ($1m/500k in minors). If I'm reading this right, Cubs would come out ahead most likely if he had a decent season this year and can just pay him $1m next year instead of arbitratiob cost. Seems like a decent low-risk bet to me, but a bet nonetheless.

Turner is out of minor league optiions, so the only way he gets the $500K in 2015 is if he gets outrighted.

He will be eligible for salary arbitration post-2015, so if he is indeed pre-signed for $1M in 2016, that's probably a good deal, especially if he has a good season.  

I got the years messed up, he had the options for last year which Marlins picked up and this upcoming year (which Cubs picked up)... my bad.

If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em. Well I guess they kinda did beat 'em but the issue lingers a bit, so, buy 'em! Brilliant. I wonder if that came out of the Cubs budget or the Obama-is-a-dirty-Muslim-Terrorist budget.

maddon to be announced on monday.

Who?

So with the world's greatest farm system, TheJedi and now the Maddening, the question is 3-peat, 6-peat or 8-peat?

I'd be good with Scherzer or Lester, maybe Masterson if they feel he's fixable (or similar top tier potential at mid-tier prices) and a vet bat or two. Don't think they'll go after Martin myself, but I could be wrong.

Think a trade for Miguel Montero would make more sense, could use some lefties in that lineup. Be nice if they'd hurry up and get the DH in the NL already and they could sign Victor Martinez and see if he can catch 40-50% of the time.

I'd be happy with that scenario, especially if Martin was involved, although the back end of his contract will probably get ugly. Montero would be nice, too. As for DH, gotta wait now til the Maddon Dynasty is over so we can watch his wheels spin.

The universe owes us at least 10.

Would hope they go for a lower career IP in Scherzer over an over worked Lester and get a Liriano/Masterclown while avoiding Peavy. I could see this group just going all in on Lester and Scherzer at 20-25 per year on both and saying we don't need much more since we are set on salaries and would only have to give a second and third round pick this year since our first round pick is protected (since we have 9th pick) knowing next year we'd loose a first rounder for Price or Zimmerman. A Gomes or Hunter would be a good veteran OF, forget Martin he's over priced and not that worth it. Not interested in a closer - paying for one is usually not worth it see - Nathan etc. Love the Montero trade option would be a good one. Its going to be an exciting off season!

No way to know if Price or Zimmermann would be around next year anyway...

Here's my prediction: 1.) we are gonna have a HELL of a lotta fun as fans next year. We won't make playoffs but it's gonna be nonstop excitement. 2.) we will NOT sign Lester Shields Sherzer or trade for a top pitcher either. That might frustrate some peeps. If we DO sign somone it will be Lester. Did I mention how interesting and fun next season will be? Plus we will all re-learn what it feels like to care about winning again - which honestly should freak most of us out at times. Maybe the Bulls/Hawks will work those muscles for us a little.

1 pitcher who's been established for a single season, the rookie, a prayer for a t.wood bounce-back, and a 4 and 5 that barely belongs in AAA doesn't sound like a recipe for fun. ...along with a high possibility of keeping k.bryant in AAA until may/june+ maybe someone could tell the rickets that all the free agents are conservatives and throwing 10s of millions at them will help sway the senate to republican control. someone slap some elephant stickers on lester's ride. that said, there are some decent "2nd tier" pitching options out there...complete with the risk of an ejax gamble on their performance for their payout.

I'm oddly enjoying WSCR spending the last few days talking Cubs 24/7. WSux fans must be frustrated that their station is in transition and has been invaded by Cubs talk. With WBBM being the new Cubs radio flagship, their sister sports talker has had a background change and even the unlistenable Dan Bernstein has had to use Cub sources to fill his airwaves. The relationship will eventually be similar to WBBM (also the Bears outlet) and the Bears. They advertise during their commercial breaks that they are the "Home for Bears fans". I wonder what is next for them, hiring a host who is a real Cub fan? Their past MO was hiring the most negative Cub fan they could find (Hanley). Even those type of hosts seem to realize that the battleship Cub has turned the direction 180 degrees.

Terry Boers is a Cub fan, and Bernstein is a logical White Sox fan, he criticizes Sox more than Cubs.

That's also the only listenable show on that station at this point.

They must be an acquired taste that I will hopefully never acquire.

Baseball America reports that the Cubs have signed (re-signed) LHP Hunter Cervenka and LHP Jeffry Antigua to 2015 minor league successor contracts.

RHRP Marcus Hatley, RHSP Dae-Eun Rhee, and RHP Starling Peralta (probably the Cubs top three post-2014 minor league 6YFA) have apparently not yet signed 2015 minor league successor contracts.  

The Cubs have until 5 PM (Eastern) today to decide whether to add any of their unsigned Rule 55 6YFA to the 40-man roster, if they are unable to entice the player to sign a 2015 minor league successor contract in the meantime. NOTE: The Cubs also must reinstate Ryan Sweeney and Justin Ruggiano from the 60-day DL by 5 PM (Eastern) today.

MLB RULE 55 CUBS MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENTS AT 5 PM (EASTERN) 11-3-2014: (updated 11-3-2014)


SIX-YEAR FREE-AGENT:
Lars Anderson, 1B
Alberto Cabrera, RHP
Marcelo Carreno, RHP
Lendy Castillo, RHP 
Charlie Cutler, C
Eduardo Figueroa, RHP
Luis Flores, C
Edgar Gonzalez, INF
Marcus Hatley, RHP
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

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)

Once a player is declared an MLB Rule 55 minor league FA, the player can sign a major league or minor league contract with any club, including the player's former club.

Because Cervenka and Antigua signed 2015 minor league succsessor contracts, neither of them will be declared MLB Rule 55 minor league 6YFA this afternoon, although both will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft next month.

BTW, the last player the Cubs selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft (RHP Hector Rondon from CLE in December 2012) and the last player the Cubs lost in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft (RHP Marcos Mateo to AZ in December 2013) were minor league 6YFA-eligibles who signed minor league successor contracts prior to becoming a 6YFA, so it would not be that much of a surprise if Cervenka gets plucked in the Rule 5 Draft next month. 

A free-agent signed to a minor league contract or re-signed to a minor league successor contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft is eligible for selection.



The Cubs did not add any of their MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent eligibles to their 40-man roster prior to yesterday's 5 PM (Eastern) deadline, but six Rule 55 minor league FA eligibles from other organizations were added to their paremt club's MLB 40-man roster:

Wynton Bernard, OF (DET)
Enrique Burgos, RHRP (AZ)
Ed Easley, C (STL)
Tyler Ladendorf, 2B (OAK)
Paulo Orlando, OF (KC)
Carlos Perez, C (HOU)

Bernard was eligible to be a Rule 55 second-contract FA (he was previously released by SD), and the other five were eligible to be a Rule 55 six-year FA (6YFA).  

 

Recent comments

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  • Arizona Phil 11 hours 10 min ago (view)

    RHP Kelvin Abreu (April 2019 IFA - Venezuela) had his contract voided and he has been released. He spent his entire pro career (four months) on the Restricted List.  

     

  • Charlie 15 hours 20 min ago (view)

    I didn't watch the game, but I see that Lester got knocked around despite a significant headwind from CF. That's a rare feat.

     

  • Arizona Phil 16 hours 53 min ago (view)

    I think it's becoming increasingly likely that the Cubs will not exercise Lester's 2021 $25M option after next season (paying the $10M buy-out instead and direct the remaining $15M elsewhere). The 2021 $25M option automatically vests if Lester throws at least 400 IP over the course of 2019-20, but that isn't going to happen.

     

  • Arizona Phil 17 hours 14 min ago (view)

    It's the Polar Bear in an Arctic Snowstorm all white uniforms. Burn 'em! Bring back the unis from the Little League Classic. They actually looked sharp.  

     

  • Eric S 17 hours 19 min ago (view)

    Thru seven innings, Cubs have one hit (by Nick C, of course) - this after somehow winning yesterday’s game with a total of two hits. Clearly it’s time to fire Chili Davis again

     

  • Eric S 18 hours 6 min ago (view)

    Feel bad for the patrons at Wrigley this afternoon - seeing Strop in the fifth inning is a bad sign. At least the weather is nice

     

  • JustSayin' 19 hours 56 min ago (view)

    The buzz on Riley Thompson is that he did what many pitchers do, just way too blatantly.  The opposing manager asked the umpire to check Thompson's glove because he was "going there every time" and the ball was "snapping" when it came out of his hand.  It was a ten-day suspension.  That is supposed to cost you two starts but South Bend uses a six-man rotation so Thompson only missed one.  Kudos to Buddy Bailey and the SB staff for navigating Thompson's absence effectively, with a lot of pitchers being asked to change or expand their roles over these two weeks.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    South Bend RHSP Riley Thompson has been reinstated from his suspension. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have released DSL Cubs #2 RHRPs Keiber Arredondo and Kleiber Carreno (both IFA signed post-2016 DSL season out of Venezuela). 

     

  • crunch 1 day 17 hours ago (view)

    cubs sweep!

     

  • Eric S 2 days 10 hours ago (view)

    Woo Hoo!!! Cubs win a crazy one!  KB with another late inning, game winning homer - good stuff!

     

  • crunch 2 days 10 hours ago (view)

    schwarb set the cubs team record for fastest to 100 by a cub a bit less than a week ago.  bryant would have won a couple MVP awards in a row the past couple years.

     

  • Eric S 2 days 10 hours ago (view)

    That was a good send by the butterman - great throw by Yaz Jr

    Try as he might, Eddie Vedder can’t find da butterman

    Thanks. I’ll show myself out now

     

  • Eric S 2 days 10 hours ago (view)

    200th home run of the season by KB probably would have set some kind of record too

     

  • crunch 2 days 10 hours ago (view)

    the inital graphic was KB #200, but i was like...hold on...

    it was technically true in the loosest sense of the phrase.

     

  • Eric S 2 days 10 hours ago (view)

    That would have been pretty cool if it had been KB’s 200th home run in less than five full seasons!