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)
bradsbeard 57 min 31 sec ago (view)
AZ Phil, the "work out a trade" part of Rule 5 is still a mystery to me. Do the Cubs have to put Megill through waivers and (if he clears) offer him back to SD before they can trade for him?
Arizona Phil 57 min 48 sec ago (view)
For those of you who didn't see the game, here are the pitch-velo readings from Wednsdays Cubs - Royals game:
NOTES: An amazing pitcher... he's probably in mid-season form right now... just needs to gradually increase innings...
NOTES: A legit candidate to be the 5th starter
Craig A. 1 hour 56 min ago (view)
Craig A. 1 hour 57 min ago (view)
He'll be 27 in May and he's played in 36 games at AAA. Seems like he should be playing regularly.
Dolorous Jon Lester 2 hours 41 min ago (view)
I really like this idea. They've talked of a 3rd catcher as 26th meaning Phegley, who seems a waste of roster space, good spring notwithstanding. Higgins is far more interesting
tim815 5 hours 47 min ago (view)
Is Brailyn Marquez getting any time in big league camp? Having him around the veterans would seem a solid use of resources.
Thanks, as always.
Charlie 6 hours 8 min ago (view)
Hot take: The Cubs should be considering PJ Higgins as the potential 26th man. 3rd catcher / infield sub who can put the bat on the ball.
I think I'm just stealing an AZ Phil projection from a while ago, actually. But it makes sense!
Charlie 7 hours 10 min ago (view)
Zagunis's stock has dropped a lot since his first exposure to MLB pitching. His 2019 at AAA is particularly alarming given the power spike in that league.
Hagsag 12 hours 45 min ago (view)
I see that Dillon Maples hasn't pitched yet. Is he injured or spending time in the lab?
Arizona Phil 20 hours 5 min ago (view)
The Cubs have purchased the contract of 26-year old RHRP Jonathan de Marte from Quebec (Frontier League) and he has been assigned to AZL Cubs Blue.
He is the closer for Team Israel and has no previous experience in affiliated ball.
He was a NDFA out of the U. of Richmond in 2017 and has been playing independent ball for the past three seasons in the Atlantic League and Can-Am League as well as winter ball in Australia this past winter.
Arizona Phil 21 hours 56 min ago (view)
DJL: Nothing from Sunday or Monday.
Arizona Phil 21 hours 56 min ago (view)
W-RAT: Mark Zagunis was sent outright to the minors last September, and because he did not have the right to elect free-agency after being outrighted he remains under club control through the 2020 season, and so he is signed to a minor league contract that expires at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the conclusion of the 2020 World Series.
Wrigley Rat 22 hours 27 min ago (view)
Thank you AZ Phil! Does that mean he's been signed to a minor league contract, then? Because he's out of options.
Dolorous Jon Lester 23 hours 21 min ago (view)
I love these scouting reports. Thanks Phil!
You wouldn't happen to have this info for the road games Sun and Mon?
Arizona Phil 23 hours 32 min ago (view)
W-RAT: Mark Zagunis is assigned to AAA Iowa but he did not get an NRI to MLB Spring Training. He is eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2020 World Series if he is not added back to an MLB reserve list (40-man roster) in the meantime.
Arizona Phil 23 hours 56 min ago (view)
Most of the pitchers who threw today pitched Saturday night, so not a lot of new pitch/velo info.
NOTES: First Cactus League game outing of 2020 for Lester... looked uncomfortable on the mound and even when he was warming up in the bullpen before the game... stuff and command were not sharp... hopefully Lester has at least one good year left in him...