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)
Dolorous Jon Lester 4 hours 10 min ago (view)
No argument there. Plays an excellent violin though.
crunch 15 hours 28 min ago (view)
tim815 15 hours 57 min ago (view)
He's better than Taylor Davis.
Dolorous Jon Lester 16 hours 39 min ago (view)
He's at a career juncture where I think he is a toss up of he is who he is or there's a little more left for him to achieve. Playing this as his age 27 season he is either in or damn close to his peak. I personally think he doesn't need the everyday playing time, just based on the fact that he's not a top prospect, is older, and doesn't project to be a starter at any spot for a first division team.
Charlie 17 hours 37 min ago (view)
This is the take if you see him as a legit prospect. Which, maybe? I know little about him, and his numbers in limited AAA exposure last season were really nice. Maybe a lively ball helps his career.
bradsbeard 17 hours 55 min ago (view)
Sounds like a long shot to get a trade done then. Thanks for clarifying!
Arizona Phil 18 hours 15 min ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: Before making a trade with the Rule 5 Draft pick's former club, the drafting club must first place the player on Outright Assignment Waivers and any of the other MLB clubs can claim the player for the $50,000 waiver price and assume the Rule 5 Draft obligations (actually it's Rule 6 Selected Player obligations, but you know what I mean).
bradsbeard 19 hours 30 min 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 19 hours 30 min 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. 20 hours 29 min ago (view)
Craig A. 20 hours 29 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 21 hours 13 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 1 day 20 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 1 day 40 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 1 day 1 hour 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 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
I see that Dillon Maples hasn't pitched yet. Is he injured or spending time in the lab?