Cubs 2018 Rule 5 Draft & Minor League Free-Agent Watch List

UPDATED 11/2

As things stand right now...

17 Cubs minor leaguers are eligible to be MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agents (6YFA) at 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day following the final game of the 2018 World Series (Friday 11/2), and 70 Cubs minor leaguers (including seven who were eligible to be minor league free-agents but who signed 2019 minor league successor contracts) are eligible for selection in the December 2018 Rule 5 Draft. 

So the Cubs have until five days after the final game of the World Series to either sign a post-2018 Rule 55 minor league free-agent to a 2019 minor league successor contract or add the player to their MLB 40-man roster, otherwise the player will automatically be declared a free-agent. 

Then the Cubs must decide by November 20th which 2018 Rule 5 Draft-eligible players (including any player eligible to be a free-agent who has signed a 2019 minor league successor contract) to add their MLB 40-man roster (to keep the player from being eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft). 

The Cubs also must decide by November 20th whether to place a 2018 Rule 5 Draft-eligible minor league player who is not added to the MLB 40-man roster on 11/20 on their AAA Iowa reserve list or on the reserve list of an affiliate of a lower classification. At most 38 of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft-eligible Cubs minor leaguers can be placed on the AAA Iowa Reserve List on 11/20. However, although the AAA Reserve List limit is 38, probably more like 32 or 33 of the Rule 5 Draft-eligible players will actually be placed on the AAA Iowa reserve list on 11/20, because slots need to be left open for players the Cubs might want to select in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, as well as for free-agents signed to minor league contracts or players outrighted to the minors after 11/20 but prior to the Rule 5 Draft. (Any Rule 5 Draft-eligible player who signs a 2019 minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft will be eligible for selection). Any 2018 Rule 5 Draft-eligible Cubs minor leaguer who is not placed on the AAA Iowa Reserve List on 11/20 will be eligible for selection in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft.

Here are some of the more-noteworthy Cubs minor leaguers who are either eligible to be a minor league free-agent post-2018 or eligible for selection in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft... 


GROUP 1 (Eligible to be Minor League FA post-2018): 
"ON THE BUBBLE" TO BE ADDED TO 40 IF HE DECLINES MINOR LEAGUE SUCCESSOR CONTRACT: 
1. 
, LHP - SWING
WILL LIKELY BE OFFERED MINOR LEAGUE SUCCESSOR CONTRACT:
2. , OF 
3. , OF
4., LHRP
5. , RHRP
6. , INF 
7. , OF
8. , RHP - SWING 
9. , RHRP (February 2017 TJS)
10. , LHP - SWING
11. , OF
12. , INF
13. , INF 
14. , OF 
15. , RHRP 
NOT LIKELY TO BE OFFERED MINOR LEAGUE SUCCESSOR CONTRACT:
16. , OF-IF
17. , RHP - SWING
NOTE: Of the minor league players eligible for free-agency after the World Series, Kyle Ryan is the one most-likely to be added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster (as happened with RHRP Jose Rosario post-2016 and RHRP  post-2017)...  Jeffrey Baez is not just a potential post-2018 minor league free-agent, he is a legitimate prospect (and if he is not necessarily Top 30 prospects right now, he does have upside with the potential to eventually reach MLB), so the Cubs might want to think twice before letting him just walk away... Same goes for Erick Leal (the Cubs July Minor League Pitcher of the Month) and one-time top Mariners pitchers prospect Danny Hultzen... Getting a player to agree to sign a 2019 minor league successor contract is possible (Daury Torrez, , and signed one post-2017), but the player doesn't have to sign it, and even if the player does agree to sign a successor contract, he then becomes Rule 5 Draft eligible and the Cubs could lose the player that way, too, albeit with a $100,000 profit. (RHRP  was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2017, but he signed a 2018 minor league successor contract with the Cubs in September and was given an opportunity to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, where he caught the eye of the Baltimore Orioles, who then poached him in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft after the Cubs left him unprotected).

GROUP 2 (Eligible for selection in 2018 Rule 5 Draft)
"ON THE BUBBLE" TO BE ADDED TO THE 40 BY 11/20
1. , LHSP  (pitching in AFL)
2. , RHSP
3. , C-INF (playing in AFL)
4. , 3B-1B
5. , C (playing in AFL)
6. , RHSP (pitching in AFL) 
LONG-SHOT TO BE ADDED TO THE 40 BY 11/20:
7. , C-1B 
8. , RHSP 
9. , LHP - SWING (pitching in AFL)
UNLIKELY TO BE ADDED TO 40 BUT COULD RECEIVE RULE 5 DRAFT CONSIDERATION
10. , OF
11. , OF
12. , IF-OF
13. , RHRP
14. , RHP - SWING
15. , RHP - SWING
NOTE: If it's like 2017, the Cubs will add maybe three of these players to their MLB 40-man roster on 11/20, but it's also possible that two, one, or even NONE of these players will be added to the 40 post-2018. The bottom line is, this group is VERY fluid, very much subject to change. All it would take to go to the top of the list would be for one of the pitchers or position players to have a "break out" and/or an All-Star level AFL performance (like David Bote did in 2017). But none of the players listed as "on the bubble to be added to the 40 on 11/20" are "locks" or even "virtual locks" to get added to the 40 post-2018. 

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1B , C , RHRP , RHRP , C-1B , OF , LHP , RHRP , and INF  (all eligible to be minor league free-agents post-2018) were added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster during the course of the 2018 season, although Navarro, Gimenez, and Bass were subsequently outrighted back to AAA (and then Navarro was eventually released so that he could sign with an NPB club, Gimenez was traded to the Minnesota Twins, and Bass elected to be a free-agent after the conclusion of the MLB regular season). Fact is, it is not unusual for veteran players who are added to the MLB 40-man roster during the course of the season to be removed from the 40 when they are no longer of use to the club. For example, C-1B Taylor Davis, INF Mike Freeman, RHP , and LHRP  (all four eligible to be Rule 55 minor league 6YFA post-2017) were added to the 40 during the course of the 2017 season, although none of the four were retained for 2018 (Rosscup was traded to the Colorado Rockies in June 2017, Frankoff was claimed off waivers by the Seatle Mariners in September 2017, Freeman was sent outright to AAA Iowa in November 2017, and T. Davis was non-tendered on 12/1, although both Freeman and T. Davis eventually agreed to sign 2019 minor league contracts with the Cubs that included an NRI to Spring Training).

Besides adding players who are eligible to be minor league free-agents to the 40 during the MLB regular season, a player eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league free-agent (second-contract or 6YFA) is sometimes added to the club's MLB 40-man roster post-World Series  just to keep the player from becoming a minor league free-agent, especially if the player declines to sign a minor league successor contract. That's what happened last year, when the Cubs added RHRP  (eligible to be a Rule 55 second-contract minor league FA post-2017) to the 40 after the 2017 World Series to keep him from walking away as a free-agent, although he was released about a month later so that he could pursue an opportunity to pitch for the NPB Tokyo Yakult Swallows in Japan. (The Cubs received a substantial cash payment from the Swallows as the release fee).

But even if the player does agree to sign a successor contract, the club might choose to add the player to the MLB 40-man roster because the club doesn't want to risk losing the player in the Rule 5 Draft. In fact this happened in 2016, when LHRP (who was eligible to be a Rule 55 second-contract minor league FA post-2016) signed a 2017 minor league successor contract prior to the conclusion of the World Series, only to be added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster on 11/18 so that he would not be eligible for selection in the December 2016 Rule 5 Draft.  

The bottom line is, if a player eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent (either 6YFA or second-contract FA) is not added to an MLB 40-man roster or does not sign a minor league successor contract by 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series, the player will be automatically declared a free-agent and the player's former club receives no compensation if the player signs elsewhere. So minor leaguers like Jeffrey Baez and Erick Leal (as well as the other players eligible to be a minor league FA post-2018) have leverage other Cubs minor leaguers do not have. 

As far as players eligible for selection in the December 2018 Rule 5 Draft are concerned, the Cubs have added only one player (RHRP ) to the 40 during the course of the 2018 MLB regular season who would have been eligible for selection. By comparison, during the course of the 2017 MLB regular season the Cubs added four players to the 40 (RHP , RHRP , RHSP, and OF ) who would have been eligible for selection in the December 2017 Rule 5 Draft, although Floro was subsequently claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers. NOTE: IF-OF was also added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster during the 2017 season, but he would not have been eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft until post-2018. 

The Cubs then added three more post-2017 Rule 5 Draft-eligibles (RHSP , INF , and RHSP ) to the 40 on 11/20 of last year, Bote after hitting a robust 333/395/536 for the Mesa Solar Sox in the post-season Arizona Fall League. It's not unusual for the Cubs to assign a Rule 5 Draft-eligible player to the Arizona Fall League, as the AFL is often used as a "proving ground" for pitchers and position-players who are under consideration for promotion to an MLB 40-man roster. (Players who are eligible to be minor league free-agents after the World Series cannot be assigned to the AFL unless the player has either been added to an MLB 40-man roster or has agreed to a minor league successor contract).

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RULE 5 DRAFT
 

The MLB Rule 5 Draft is held on the 2nd Thursday in December and is presently the last order of business at the MLB WINTER MEETINGS. It is a mechanism that allows MLB clubs to select (draft) players off minor league reserve lists.

There is a "Major League Phase" where an MLB club can select Rule 5 Draft-eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs (any minor league classification) for $100,000 ("Major League Phase" Rule 5 Draft price increased from $50,000 to $100,000 beginning with the December 2016 draft), and a "AAA Phase" where a club's AAA minor league affiliate can select Rule 5 Draft-eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs of a lower classification (below AAA) for $24,000 (Rule 5 "AAA Phase" draft price increased from $12,000 to $24,000 beginning with the December 2016 draft).
NOTE: Effective December 2016, the "AA Phase" (where a club's AA minor league affiliate could select Rule 5 Draft-eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs of a classification below AA for $4,000) has been eliminated.

There is no limit on the number of rounds in each phase (there could be one, there could be three, there could be five or more). As long as at least one club is still selecting players, the phase will continue, but as soon as all 30 teams have a full reserve list (so that clubs can no longer make selections) or have passed, the phase is over.

There is no limit on the number of Rule 5 Draft-eligible players any one organization can lose in a Rule 5 Draft.


RULE 5 DRAFT ELIGIBILITY


1. A minor league player who was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract is eligible for selection starting with the 5th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season, and a minor league player who was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract becomes eligible for selection starting with the 4th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season.

2. If a player signs his first contract after the conclusion of the season of the MLB or minor league club to which he is first assigned (even if he signs prior to the Rule 5 Draft), the next season is considered to be the player's "first qualified season" for Rule 5 eligibility purposes. (Depending on the minor league, the conclusion of a minor league club's season could be as early as the first week of August, or as late as the second week of September).

3. A player eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent who signs a minor league successor contract prior to being declared a free-agent and a free-agent with prior MLB and/or minor league service who signs a minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft is eligible for selection if the player was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 5th Rule 5 Draft since he signed his first contract, or the player was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 4th Rule 5 Draft since he signed his first contract.

4. Any player on a minor league reserve list who has either been released or had his contract voided and then re-signs with the same MLB organization within one year is eligible for selection.

5. Any player on a minor league reserve list who has been outrighted to the minors previously in his career is eligible for selection.

6. A player on the Voluntary Retired List, Disqualified List, or Ineligible List is not eligible for selection.

7. An MLB club can designate any player on a minor league reserve list "eligible for selection" in the Rule 5 Draft even if the player would not normally be eligible, but once a player is designated "eligible for selection," he remains eligible for selection in all subsequent Rule 5 drafts. NOTE: A club might do this if the club is planning to release the player during the off-season. 

8. A minor league player-manager who would be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft if he was only a player can be selected, but if he is selected, the player-manager can reject the selection and retire. He has 30 days to decide. If he rejects the selection and opts to retire as a player, the player-manager is ineligible to be reinstated as a player for a minimum of one year.  

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Rule 5 Draft-eligible players most-likely to be on AAA Iowa Reserve List on 11/20 are in bold/italics/underlined (if player not added to MLB 40-man roster by 11/20)

CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS ELIGIBLE FOR SELECTION IN 2018 RULE 5 DRAFT (last updated 11-2-2018):
Anderson Acevedo, RHP (Second-Contract Player signed for 2019)
Tyler Alamo, C-1B    
Gioskar Amaya, INF (signed 2019 minor league successor contract)
Luis Aquino, RHP (Second-Contract Player signed for 2019) 
Luis Ayala, OF  
Yasiel Balaguert, 1B-OF (signed 2019 minor league successor contract)
Casey Bloomquist, RHP 
Andres Bonalde, LHP  
Craig Brooks, RHP 
James Buckelew, LHP (Second-Contract Player signed for 2019)
Charcer Burks, OF  
Roberto Caro, OF (signed 2019 minor league successor contract)
Eric Castillo, C (signed 2019 minor league successor contract)
Trevor Clifton, RHP 
Alfredo Colorado, RHP  
Yan de la Cruz, RHP (Second-Contract Player signed for 2019)
Enrique de los Rios, RHP 
Scott Effross, RHP 
Wander Feliz, RHP 
Riger Fernandez, LHP 
Emilio Ferrebus, RHP 
Wladimir Galindo, INF
Hector Alonso Garcia, RHP   
Robel Garcia, INF (Second-Contract Player free-agent signed for 2019)
David Garner, RHP (on AAA Iowa RESTRICTED LIST)   
Dalton Geekie, RHP (Second-Contract Player signed for 2019)
Yapson Gomez, LHP
Eric Gonzalez, C 
Jose Alejandro Gonzalez, RHP (ex-OF)  
Jacob Hannemann, OF (Article XX-D player)
Zach Hedges, RHP  
P. J. Higgins, C 
Jesse Hodges, INF  
Danny Hultzen, LHP (signed 2019 minor league successor contract)
Ryan Kellogg, LHP 
Ryan Lawlor, LHP (Second-Contract player signed for 2019)
Erick Leal, RHP (signed 2019 minor league successor contract)
Vimael Machin, INF 
Brad Markey, RHP 
Junior Marte, RHP 
Marcus Mastrobuoni, C  
Ivan Medina, RHP  
M. T. Minacci, RHP 
Jordan Minch, LHP 
Kevonte Mitchell, OF
Erling Moreno, RHP 
Preston Morrison, RHP 
Rafael Narea, INF 
Richard Nunez, C 
Pablo Ochoa, LHP 
Eugenio Palma, LHP  
Tyler Payne, C 
Henrry Pedra, INF  
Yeiler Peguero, INF 
Jhonny Pereda, C 
Chris Pieters, OF-1B (signed 2019 minor league successor contract)
Eury Ramos, RHP 
Will Remillard, C 
Ruben Reyes, LHP (ex-OF) 
Ian Rice, C 
Andry Rondon, RHP 
Manuel Rondon, LHP
Justin Steele, LHP 
Jake Stinnett, RHP  
Franklin Tineo, INF 
Sucre Valdez, RHP  
Jason Vosler, INF  
Ryan Williams, RHP
Chesny Young, INF
Rob Zastryzny, LHP (Article XX-D player) 
NOTE: RHP Aneuris Rosario was eligible for selection in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft before being placed on the Disqualified List on 4/24, and as long as he remains on the Disqualified List he will not be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft.  

Additionally, any player eligible to be an MLB Article XIX-A minor league free-agent, an MLB Article XX-D minor league free-agent, or an MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent post-2018 who signs a 2019 minor league contract or a 2019 minor league successor contract prior to the December 2018 Rule 5 Draft will be eligible for selection in the December 2018 Rule 5 Draft if the player was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 5th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season, and a minor league player who was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract becomes eligible for selection starting with the 4th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season.


MLB RULE 55 FREE-AGENT POST-2018

SIX-YEAR MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENTS
Jeffrey Baez, OF
Alberto Baldonado, LHP 
Wynton Bernard, OF (Article XX-D player)
Corey Black, RHP 
Stephen Bruno, INF 
Chris Coghlan, OF-INF (Article XIX-A player)
Casey Coleman, RHP (Article XX-D player)
Ryan Court, INF
Mike Freeman, INF (Article XX-D player)
Terrance Gore, OF (Article XX-D player)
Trey Martin, OF 
Cory Mazzoni, RHP (Article XX-D player)
Jose Paulino, LHP 
Bijan Rademacher, OF 
Jose Rosario, RHP 
Kyle Ryan, LHP (Article XX-D player)
Daury Torrez, RHP

SECOND CONTRACT MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT:
NONE

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RULE 5 DRAFT RESTRICTIONS
:

1. A minor league player eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft cannot be added to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), traded to another organization, or transferred from one minor league reserve list to another within the same organization, starting with the filing of MLB & minor league reserve lists on November 20th (or November 19th if November 20th falls on a Saturday or November 18th if November 20th falls on a Sunday) up through the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft.

2. A Rule 5 Draft-eligible player cannot be sent outright to the minors beginning at 5 PM (Eastern) on the third day prior to the Rule 5 Draft through the conclusion of the draft.

3. A club must have as many slots open on its MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) prior to the Rule 5 Draft as the number of players it selects in the Major League Phase, and an MLB club's AAA affiliate must have as many slots open on its reserve list prior to the Rule 5 Draft as the number of players the affiliate selects in the AAA Phase. 

4. A club can select a player off the reserve list of one of its own minor league affiliates, but if the player is selected in the Major League Phase, the club is bound by the same Rule 5 roster restrictions as if it had selected the player off the reserve list of another club's minor league affiliate. NOTE: This actually happened at least once a number of years ago, after a club inadvertently left one of its top prospects off its MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) when it was submitted to the MLB Commissioner on November 20th.

5. A player eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft cannot be "covered up" from selection, either by agreement between two clubs or by effect (such as by concocting a phony injury and placing the player on the disabled list in an attempt to decrease a player's value when the player is not really injured). Also, a player selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft cannot be "hidden" on a disabled list to help the drafting club fulfill Rule 5 roster obligations (such as by leaving the player on the DL after he is healthy enough to play). If the MLB Commissioner believes a club "covered up" a player to avoid losing the player in the Rule Draft or "hid" a selected player on a Disabled List, the offending club or clubs are subject to a penalty (TBD by the MLB Commissioner).


Comments

Wow. I feel like this should go in AZ Phil's corner for future reference -- someplace other than the AZ Phil Story Archive. I've glanced over the other sections in the Corner but I can't think of a great place for it, other than somewhere under the Rule 5 Draft section. Maybe there could be a second spot under that section? Just a thought. Just sticking it in the Story Archive might bury it and there is a lot of good reference info here.

Another golden written section from AZ Phil. A keeper.

Any action on fields in am tomorrow ? I’m towm for the day Thanks!

Assume yes. Somebody's trying to win a job, somewhere.

Any particular time Thx again

Saw some minor leaguer and Heyward hitting off a tee. (ooof)

OF Michael Foster (Cubs 2015 16th round draft pick - Northeastern U.) has retired to pursue a career in the private sector (he majored in chemical engineering in college). Foster was a member of the Team Canada 18U Junior National Team in 2010 (prior to attending Northeastern), and as a teenager he was rated one of the top five swimmers in Canada.

Phil, Markey, Torrez, Moreno, K,Ryan,J. Rosario in limbo on the Eugene roster now?

HAGSAG: K. Ryan, J. Rosario, and Moreno are at Extended Spring Training, but Markey (Iowa) and Torrez (Tennessee) are probably still with their teams and the Eugene assignments were made just to get them off the Iowa and Tennessee Active Lists. (There are no service time restrictions on short-season rosters until July 1st). Solis (Iowa), Pearson and Spingola (Myrtle Beach), and Camargo and Donahue (South Bend) were placed on the DL or sent to Eugene (on paper) but apparently remained with their teams as roster back-up because I haven't seen them down here either (since they left town last week). In fact Spingola was "called up" from Eugene yesterday and replaced Wladimir Galindo on the Myrtle Beach active list after Galindo was placed on the 7-day DL, but I am fairly sure that Spingola never actually left Myrtle Beach, even after he was "assigned" to Eugene last Thursday.

Phil, have kids from the DR showed up ?

PHIL, question regarding options. If a player was optioned, is recalled before his 20 days are spent in the minors, and then surpasses 5.000 years of major league service time, could be sent down again (without his consent)? Does using the option when allowed by service time restrictions negate those restrictions for the rest of the season? Thank you!

JDMYM: Once a player has accrued 5+000 years of MLB Service Time, he cannot be sent to the minors (by optional or outright assignment) without his consent. It doesn't matter if the player was optioned earlier that season prior to accruing 5+000 years of MLB Service Time (before he could decline an optional assignment) and then was subsequently recalled prior to spending 20 days on Optional Assignment or after spending at least 20 days on Optional Assignment. (A minor league option year is good for the entire season, and a player with a minor league option available can be optioned to the minors multiple times during the course of a given season without his consent - UNLESS - he reaches 5+000 years of MLB Service Time, at which point he could still be optioned to the minors, but not without his consent). Once the player has accrued 5+000 years of MLB Service Time, he becomes an Article XIX-A player and the restriction on being sent to the minors applies as of that date. This also would apply to a player who reaches 3+000 years of MLB Service Time and attains Article XX-D status during the course of a season (at which point the player can elect free-agency if sent outright to the minors). Also, spending less than 20 days days on Optional Assignment to the minors counts as a "full season" of MLB Service Time only after the conclusion of the season. For a player who spends less than 20 days on Optional Assignment to the minors in a given season, the days spent on Optional Assignment to the minors during the course of a season count as MLB Service Time retroactively after the MLB regular season is concluded.

The Cubs have released RHRP Jean Garcia. He was signed as a second-contract player by the Cubs in 2017 after he was released by the San Diego Padres.

My guess? The Cubs will be closely assessing whether the "fringe player" could be adequately replaced by a college junior/senior.

The Cubs have signed 24-year old RHP Anderson Acevedo (ex-NYY). The 6'2 220 righthander was released by the Yankees in August 2016 after serving a 72-game PED suspension that was imposed by MLB in July 2015. So his arm should be very fresh. 

He has been assigned to DSL Cubs #2. 

The Cubs have released SS Carlos Penalver

The Cubs have released RHP James Pugliese

The Cubs have purchased the contract of 23-year old RHRP Dalton Geekie from the Lake Erie Crushers (Frontier League). 

The 6'5 200 Geekie was selected in the 22nd round of the 2015 draft by the Atlanta Braves out of Georgia Highlands College and was a RP in the Atlanta organization in 2015-16. He missed the 2017 season after undergoing an elbow UCL transplant (TJS) in August 2016, and was released by the Braves at the end of Minor League Camp this past March. 

Presuming he passes his physical, Geekie will likely be assigned to Extended Spring Training in Mesa and then eventually to either Eugene or South Bend. Because he is technically still rehabbing from TJS, Geekie could be placed on the South Bend DL and spend up to 60 days on a minor league rehab assignment with a Cubs short-season affiliate (Eugene or one of the two AZL Cubs teams) in 2018. 

he must have impressed the hell out of some scout. he only threw 2 innings over 2 appearances in indie ball before getting snapped up.

He can probably help with the Cubs video and I. T. equipment as well, especially when it needs to get set-up or if it isn't working properly.

that one took me a little to long to get...i need a vacation.

HAHAHA! Good one PHIL! Man, CRUNCH with the Whole Foods Yu Darvish Coupon line, and now PHIL with Geekie helping with the A/V gear. Nice work.

All it takes is one of two things. Velo or spin rate. And "Here's your $100,000."

An open gripe.

 

Jeffrey Baez belongs in Triple-A. So many on the Iowa roster nor worth releasing, but shouldn't be keeping Baez in TN. Chesny Young, Wynton Bernard, Stephen Bruno among them.

 

Hopefully, the Cubs have a few trades getting executed in early-July to move some talent to create inernational spending space.

 

Close gripe.

TIM: Depending on how Justin Steele progresses this summer, the post-2018 off-season could be very unusual for the Cubs in that they might not add any Rule 5 Draft-eligible players to the MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) on 11/20, but there are three or four players eligible to be MLB Rule 55 minor league 6YFA post-2018 (LHRP Alberto Baldonado, OF Bijan Rademacher, OF Jeffrey Baez, and LHP Jose Paulino) who the Cubs might have to add to the 40 just to keep the player from walking away. 

While Paulino would likely sign a 2019 minor league successor contract (with a nominal raise and perhaps an NRI to Spring Training), Baldonado, Rademacher, and Baez would probably take the opportunity to try their luck in another organization where the pathway to The Show might be more open (if they are not added to the 40).  

So again, this isn't a Rule 5 Draft issue, this is a minor league free-agency issue, where the only way the Cubs can make sure to retain the player is by adding him to the 40 by 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series.

The Cubs have signed 20-year old FA RHP Julio Guante (ex-DET).

The 6'3 180 Guante was released by the Tigers last October. 

He has been assigned to DSL Cubs #2. 

Outright Asignment Waivers were secured and the Cubs have sent 1B Efren Navarro outright to AAA Iowa. (Navarro was Designated for Assignment last Saturday when the Cubs selected the contract of C Chris Gimenez from Iowa).

Because he is an Article XX-D player (he has been outrighted previously in his career), Navarro has the right to elect free-agency immediately, or defer free-agency until the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season (he has two days to decide).  

If he elects to be a free-agency immediately, his contract is terminated and he receives no termination pay, but he would be free to sign with any MLB organization or with any other professional club. 

If he accepts the Outright Assignment to Iowa and defers free-agency until the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season, Navarro's contract would remain in force. Also, he would not be eligible to be an Article XX-D free-agent on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season if he were to be added back to an MLB 40-man roster (and then remain on the 40) prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season. 

HanshinTigers are reportedly negotiating with Cubs to acquire AAA Iowa 1B Efren Navarro. If it happens, it would likely be a really nice payday for a career AAA player who has had a few cups of coffee in the bigs.

And depending on what kind of deal Navarro might get, the Cubs could receive a nice payday as well. 

Speaking of Nippon Ball, anyone heard from/about Murton this season? PHIL - you seen him out your way in the last 5 months?

The Cubs have (finally) released AAA Iowa 1B Efren Navarro so that he can sign with the Hanshin Tigers (NPB). The Cubs presumably will receive a "release fee" from Hanshin, but since Navarro was not on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster and since it's almost half-way through the season, the Cubs will very likely not receive the $1M MLB clubs typically get as a "release fee" from the NPB club for a player who is on the 40-man roster, but I would think the Cubs will probably get something like $250K. 

Cubs have released OF Lane Adams from AAA Iowa. He hit just 135/265/185 in 32 games at Iowa after being signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs on 5/8, although he did steal nine bases. 

So, Clifton, Je. Baez, and Pereda have the best chances of being 40man adds post WSeries.

Vosler, Rice, Martin, Burks and Leal are outside chances. That's a pretty weak group. Weakest in a while.

I’d be surprised if Baez were added. He hasn’t even been tried at AAA, and hasn’t hit much in AA since his crazy April. Martin has made himself interesting, but I’d guess he’s still a long shot. Would think that Rice has an inside track since it’s nice to have extra catchers on the 40 man. He’s due for a promotion to AAA any time now. I’m interested to see how Jake Stinnett finishes up, as he looked like he might get added last year after his strong AFL. He’s 4 for 4 in save chances without allowing a base runner since moving into the closer role in Tennessee.

BRADSBEARD: The issue with Jeffrey Baez is that he is eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2018, so if he does not agree to sign a 2019 minor league successor contract, the only way the Cubs could retain Baez would be by adding him to their MLB 40-man roster.  

The problem is, Baez signed a minor league successor contract last off-season, and a player usually won't do that two years in a row unless the player is being tracked as a future coach or manager (which Baez is not). So Baez is in a specific class with other post-2018 minor league 6YFA who are not likely to get called-up during the season but who could get added to the 40 after the World Series just to keep the player from walking away as a 6YFA, including Jose Paulino, Erick Leal, and Trey Martin (among the more-noteworthy names), and of that group and as things stand right now, I would say Jeffrey Baez is probably the only one in this particular class of player who is even "on the bubble" to get added to the 40 post-2018 (and even then it's not likely). And if a player in this group agrees to sign a 2019 minor league successor contract, that player will almost certainly not be added to the 40, because the concern is with losing the player to minor league free-agency, not losing the player in the Rule 5 Draft. (RHRP Pedro Araujo was in this class post-2017, and while he did agree to sign a 2018 minor league successor with the Cubs and got a Cubs slot in the AFL, he was selected by the Orioles in last December's Rule 5 Draft). 

Then there is another separate class of player (Freeman, K. Ryan, T. Davis, Coghlan, et al) who are similar to the Baez/Paulino/Leal group in that they are eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2018, but the difference is that these players (unlike Baez, Martin, Paulino) - ARE - candidates to get called-up to MLB sometime during the season. But most of these players would also be likely dropped from the 40 after the season if they were to be added during the season (you may recall this happened with Michael Freeman and Taylor Davis post-2017). But there are also some (like Baldonado, Rademacher, and D. Torrez) who the Cubs might not want to lose as a minor league FA post-2018 (if the player declines to sign a 2019 minor league successor contract). And if a player like Baldonado, D. Torrez, or Rademacher is added to the MLB 40-man roster during the season, that player could then very well remain on the 40 going into 2019, and if a player like Baldonado, Rademacher, or D. Torrez is not added to the 40 during the season, he is still "on the bubble" to get added after the World Series before he has a chance to be declared a minor league FA. (This happened with RHRP Matt Carasiti last year, who was under consideration to be added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster during the MLB regular season but never was, but then he was added to the 40 after the World Series just to keep him from walking away as a minor league FA). 

Then there is a completely different situation with players like Justin Steele, Trevor Clifton, P. J. Higgins, Jhonny Pereda, Erling Moreno, Ian Rice, Jake Stinnett, et al, who almost certainly will not get called up to MLB during the 2018 season, and while they are not eligible to be minor league free-agents post-2018, they are eligible for selection in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft. For any one of these players, the only concern is losing him in the Rule 5 Draft (the reason Adbert Alzolay and David Bote were added to the 40 post-2017). . 
   
And there is still another group (Hannemann, C. Young, Brooks, et al) who are similar to the Steele/Clifton/Higgins group in that they are Rule 5 Draft-eligible post-2019, but with the added twist that the player is advanced enough where he could realistically get called-up to MLB during the 2018 season (as happened with Mark Zagunis and Dillon Maples last year).    

So in summary, while there is no one Cubs minor league player eligible to be a minor league FA post-2018 or eligible for selection in the December 2018 Rule 5 Draft who stands out as being likely to get added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster during the 2018 season or post-2018, there are certain players in each of the four separate classes of players who are "on the bubble" to get added to the 40 at some point this year, depending on circumstances peculiar to that group (like adding depth to the MLB roster in September might cause Freeman, K. Ryan , T. Davis, and/or Coghlan to be added to the 40 after 9/1, or retaining a player eligible to be a minor league FA who declines to sign a minor league successor contract might mean Baldonado, D. Torrez, Jeffrey Baez, and/or Rademacher could get added to the 40 after the World Series, or protecting the player from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft could lead to Steele, Clifton, Higgins, and/or Pereda being added to the 40 on 11/20, etc.). 

And of course this is all very fluid as circumstances change and on-field performances vary from month-to-month. That's why I update the post on a regular basis.  

I will confess to not having read the update to the post. That’s a perfectly valid rationale for why Baez is on the bubble. I was more surprised to see that he has sort of struggled since his hot start and figured he probably doesn’t have the profile of a guy who will be picked in the Rule 5 (Corner OF only, getting a little on the older side without a ton to show for in the high minors), but it could happen. I’m sure they will try to keep him in the org if they can. Or perhaps if he starts hitting again they can spin him off to another team who has some IFA money to spare ...

AZPHIL -- What's up with Alex Pacheco?  I see him included in the Rule Five list but I'm not seeing him attached to any of the rosters.  Is he still a Cub or no?

ALEXANDER: LHP Alex Pacheco was placed on the DSL Cubs #2 Restricted List in 2016 because he was unable to secure a visa to get out of Venezuela when the VSL Cubs became DSL Cubs #2, and a couple of months ago he was moved to the Cubs "General Restricted List" (a long-term "parking place" for players who have been on a particular affiliate's Restricted List for at least two years without being reinstated). I'll take him off the Rule 5 Draft eligibility list so there is no further confusion. 

The General Restricted List is sort of like the Disqualified List, Ineligible List, or Voluntary Retired List, in that once the player is on the list, he remains on the list in perpetuity. It's essentially a baseball cemetery.  

Thank you, AZPhil.  Jeez...  the 'General Restricted List' sounds like a sad type of purgatory.  They don't officially leave the team.  They are forever on the 'GRL'. 

Cubs have released RHRP Ryan McNeil (Cubs 2012 3rd round draft pick * Nipomo HS - Nipomo, CA).

McNeil did not fit into the Cubs long-term plans (he was mired in AA) and was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2018 anyway, so this just means he'll get a few months head start on the FA process.

Cubs send Chris Gimenez outright to Iowa. Since he had the right to refuse an outright assignment and get his release (with full pay) instead, he must be OK with the assignment. Perhaps the Cubs told him he will definitely be called up in Septermber (or earlier if anything happens to Contreras or Caratini). 

Phil, what is the statis of Drew Smyly? Is he in Mesa? Is he close to pitching in a game? Thanks.

I believe I asked this as well. I have heard that he is still rehabbing there on a sports station, however PHIL could confirm this hopefully.

HAGSAG: I haven't seen Drew Smyly at the Cubs Mesa facility for about two or three months, but that doesn't mean he's not here. MLB players have their own rehab & work-out schedules and usually do not participate in group activities (because they don't have to).

Smyly was left behind at Extended Spring Training in Mesa when the Cubs finished MLB Spring Training, but he did not pitch in any EXST games or even "live" BP. At some point in time in May he went to Chicago and joined the MLB club to continue his rehab there, and I believe he threw either a "sim" game or "live" BP sometime in June at Wrigley Field, either pre-game or on an off-day. 

The thing to remember about players who are on an MLB Disabled List (and this is NOT true for players on a minor league DL) is that the player doesn't have to go anywhere. All he is required to do is remain with the MLB club, and that includes travelling with the club on the road. So (for example), Yu Darvish did not have to go to South Bend. He could have refused. And likewise, Drew Smyly does not have to go to Mesa. He can just stay in Chicago with the MLB club. Which is apparently what Smyly has been doing for most of the 2018 season.

However, most players who are rehabbing from an injury eventually do agree to go somewhere that is more conducive to the rehab process, like when Darvish pitched at South Bend. But the player is totally in control as far as whether he goes to another place, where he goes, and if he does, how long he stays there. It's up to the player to decide, and while the club can make a suggestion, ultimately the player must consent to the assignment. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that a DL rehab assignment is normally limited to 30 days for pitchers and 21 days for position players, but beginning in 2017 (as the result of changes in MLB rules that were part of the new CBA), a pitcher or a position player who is rehabbing from an elbow UCL transplant (Tommy John Surgery) - and that's ONLY TJS - can have his rehab assignment renewed once, so that a pitcher rehabbing from TJS can spend up to 60 days on a minor league rehab assignment, and a position player rehabbing from TJS can spend up to 42 days (six weeks) on a minor league rehab assignment. So (for example) if Drew Smyly began an official Article XIX-C Minor League Rehab Assignment right now and spent the entire 60 days on the assignment (he can transfer back & forth from minor league affiliate to minor league affiliate during the course of the rehab assignment), his rehab assignment would expire on September 6th, but it could end earlier than that (probably September 1st when active list rosters expand), at which point he could be reinstated to the Cubs MLB Active List.  

So I would expect Smyly to begin his Article XIX-C Rehab Assignment very soon and then stay on it for up to two months (60 days), probably beginning in AZL rookie ball in Mesa (but he could choose to begin in South Bend or Myrtle Beach) and then gradually working his way up to AAA Iowa. And if there are no medical setbacks, he could actually be 100% totally stretched-out as a starter and be able to throw 100+ pitches and start every 5th day by September 1st (if all goes well).

AZ PHIL: Since Alzolay is "shut down" for the season can the Cubs call him up and put him on the 60-DAY DL, opening a spot, I realize they have 3 open now, I know he would accure MLB service time, but hypothetically speaking is that allowed even though the injury was in Iowa?

cubbies.4ever: If a player on Optional Assignment to the minors is placed on a minor league affiliate's 7-day DL, he can be reinstated from the minor league affiliate's 7-day DL (even if he is not healthy enough to play), recalled from his Optional Assignment, and placed on the MLB club's 60-day DL once he has spent at least seven days on the minor affiliate's 7-day DL.  


If that were to happen, the player's DL assignment "clock" would be reset because although time spent on an MLB 10-day DL can be applied toward the minimum number of days a player must spend on the MLB 60-day DL before he is eligible to be reinstated, time spent on a minor league DL cannot be applied to a subsequent MLB DL assignment. 

Also, the player would begin to accrue MLB Service Time as soon as he is recalled and placed on the MLB 60-day DL, and that could eventually affect when the player becomes eligible for salary arbitration and free-agency. 

In addition, a pre-arbitration player on Optional Assignment to the minors has a "split contract," meaning he is paid one salary while he is on Optional Assignment and a different (much higher) salary if he is on the MLB 25-man Active List or MLB 10-day or 60-day DL. 

So (for example), if Adbert Alzolay were to be reinstated from the Iowa 7-day DL, recalled from his Optional Assignment, and placed on the Cubs MLB 60-day DL, he would begin to accrue MLB Service Time - AND - his salary would immediately increase from his first-year minor league "split salary" ($44,500) to the MLB minimum salary ($555K) which would be pro-rated based on the number of days left in the MLB regular season (which as of today would be 84 days), meaning an increase from about $240 per day (minor league split salary daily rate) to roughly $3,000 per day (Major League daily minimum salary), or by the end of the MLB regular season an overall increase from about $20,000 to $250,000 (a difference of $230K) if the player remains on the MLB 60-day DL for the balance of the MLB regular season. 

So if it happened today, it would cost the Cubs about $230K in additional 2018 payroll to recall Alzolay and place him on the MLB 60-day DL (not to mention starting Alzolay's MLB Service Time "clock"), presuming he remains on the MLB 60-day DL for the remainder of the MLB regular season. However, a player cannot be placed on a club's MLB 60-day DL or transferred from the club's MLB 10-day DL to the club's MLB 60-day DL unless the club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) is full, so the Cubs cannot recall Alzolay from his Optional Assignment and place him on the 60-day DL until the three open slots on the 40 are filled.  

Now that does NOT mean the Cubs wouldn't recall Alzolay and place him on their MLB 60-day DL if they need his 40-man roster slot at some point this season, just that there are a couple of "hidden costs" involved if they do. But the longer they wait to do it, the less it will cost in additional payroll and MLB Service Time and so the more likely it will happen.  

So if it happens, it probably wouldn't happen any earlier than September 1st when active list rosters expand from 25 to 40 players (and when only 30 days are left in the MLB regular season, so that the difference between Alzolay's minor league "split" salary and his MLB salary would amount to about an additional $80,000 in 2018 payroll), because that's probably when the Cubs will need additional slots on their MLB 40-man roster for a 3rd catcher (probably Chris Gimenez), a 5th outfielder (probably Jacob Hannemann), an additional utility infielder (probably either Mike Freeman or Chesny Young), another lefty for the bullpen (probably Kyle Ryan), and maybe even another LH bat off the bench (probably either Chris Coghlan or Bijan Rademacher). And that doesn't even include a spot on the 40 for the two guys who are on the MLB 60-day DL right now (Drew Smyly and Eddie Butler), although I suspect Butler will not be retained on the 40 once his minor league rehab stint is over. 

Phil, your knowledge is amazing!

Is there an update on Gioskar Amaya? I saw he had played in some Extended Spring Training games, but things have been suspiciously quiet since the short season rosters filled out.

erich081: All I can tell you is that Gioskar Amaya is not active on the field at Riverview, although he could be rehabbing his knee indoors at the UAPC. He had the surgery in February 2017, so it's been a long process, and he wore a thick brace on his knee when he was playing in games at Extended Spring Training.

It's possible that he could be working as an assistant coach at AA Tennessee or with one of the other Cubs minor league affiliates (maybe even at the Cubs DSL Academy), since that's probably his future in baseball going forward. 

To all Cubs bloggers (sorry, no Twitter here.)  You guys kinda get this and kinda don't, but Theo has transformed the Cubs organization into the best in the NL at scouting and developing New England college players.  Hendricks was already here, but looking at "surprise" contributors in the minor league system you quickly run into guys from Northeastern, Dartmouth, Sacred Heart, MIT, Holy Cross and beyond. Throw in that you're drafting these guys for short money on days 2 and 3 and this is an unbeatable value proposition, to end up with the likes of Vosler, Robinson, Short, etc.  Only the Yankees and Red Sox make a comparable effort and the Cubs payoff looks the best of all right now.

JustSayin': Matt Sherman is the Cubs Area Scout who covers New England, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and eastern Canada. Sherman was hired by the Cubs after Tim Wilken took over as Scouting Director back when Jim Hendry was the GM.

BTW, ten of the 16 area scouts (Tim Adkins, Tom Clark, Trey Forkerway, Keith Lockhart, Steve McFarland, Lukas McKnight, Ty Nichols, Matt Sherman, Billy Swoope, and Ron Tostenson) and one of the two National Cross-checkers (Sam Hughes) inherited by Epstein/Hoyer/McLeod from the Hendry/Wilken regime post-2011 are still employed by the Cubs Scouting Dept (seven are still working as area scouts, one was promoted to Regional Cross-checker, one was promoted to National cross-checker, and one was promoted to Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting). A seventh area scout inherited from Hendry/Wilken (the legendary Stan Zielinski) passed away last year.

Other than the Professional Scouting section being somewhat understaffed and the Scouting Department as a whole being slow to embrace new technology, the Cubs Scouting Department under Tim Wilken was actually very good and highly respected in the industry. If it hadn't been there wouldn't have been so many scouts retained (and promoted) after the regime change. 

JustSayin- Kyle Hendricks was NOT here, Theo traded w/Villanueva for him from Texas in his first year for Ryan Dempster, the only Cubs still remaining from the Hendry era are Willson Contreas, Javy Baez, and Dillon Maples

Jose Paulino, Chris Pieters, Yasiel Balaguert, Jeffrey Baez, Trey Martin, and Taylor Davis from the minor leagues are all Hendry guys.

erich081: Also Daury Torrez, Gioskar Amaya, and Jose Rosario, but Yasiel Balaguert was post-Hendry (just barely).

However, Hendry's Director of Scouting (Tim Wilken) and his Director of Player Development (Oneri Fleita) were still around (working under Jason McLeod) when Balaguert signed, and in fact both Wilken and Fleita remained in their positions for quite a while after Epstein/Hoyer/McLeod arrived (both through July 2012).

In fact, Wilken ran the 2012 draft (albeit with considerably less-authority than he had under Hendry) and all of Wilken's area scouts and cross-checkers were still in place through the 2012 draft, and a number of Wilken's guys remain with the Cubs even to this day (see my earlier comment). So there wasn't as much of a break between the Hendry regime and the Epstein/Hoyer/McLeod regime as far as amateur scouting is concerned (much moreso with regard to professional scouting and especially player development, with the number of pro scouts being essentially doubled in 2012 as the Cubs were looking to make trades and waiver claims and preparing for the December 2012 Rule 5 Draft, and the Player Development Dept was rebuilt by Brandon Hyde post-2012). 

To each their own on if Chad Noble (2010) (Bullpen catcher) and Kenny Socorro (2011) (International scouting assistant) count.

My apologies for not being completely accurate.  Hendricks was not drafted from Dartmouth by the Cubs so his case did not fit the theme of my comment.  Sherman is a highly regarded scout but lots of teams have highly-regarded scouts covering New England, at least in theory.  In practice, they watch a few games at UConn and BC and call it a day.  That's because when they see a prospect from the Ivy League, Patriot League or NESCAC, the idea of drafting that player gets vetoed by supervisors or management.  Under Theo, those propsects are getting drafted and having an impact in the system.  

So is Casey Coleman to be technical.  I suppose that doesn't count though

Will Remillard was promoted to Triple-A Iowa. Is this a feel good story or are the Cubs going to give him a shot since he's Rule 5 eligible after the season? I know they like to carry 3 catchers, but he makes 4 on Iowa's roster. Maybe they'll release Solis.

The Cubs have released RHRP Ryan Webb.

The 32-year old veteran right-hander was signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs after the conclusion of Extended Spring Training and was placed on the AA Tennessee DL while getting into playing shape in Mesa.

He was assigned to AZL Cubs #1 on a 30-day Rehab Assignment on 7/10, and while he pitched very well there, his rehab assignment expired on Thursday and there was no spots available for him at Iowa or Tennessee, so he was released. 

Given the way he threw in the AZL I would not be surprised if Webb gets a shot in AAA with another MLB organization.   

Phil, it looks like Allen Webster has been really good in a small sample in AA and Hultzen has pitched well after his initial blow up in Arizona League. Worth signing to successor deals? Anything left in either arm?

 

and has there ever been a Braxton Light sighting or is he just a randomly generated name that was mistakenly drafted?

DLS: Of the veterans the Cubs signed this year and sent to the EXST Rehab Throwing Program in Mesa (Allen Webster, Danny Hultzen, and Ryan Webb), Webster is the one who got moved-up to a full-season affiliate (AA Tennessee). He isn't stretched-out as a SP, but he has thrown multiple innings a couple of times and is a long-shot possibility for a September call-up to MLB as a bullpen "swing-man." Signing a 2019 minor league successor contract is always a possibility, but given his age I suspect Webster will want to test free-agency and maybe see if he can get a better opportunity elsewhere. He is the type of pitcher who could be one of those out-of-the-blue "surprise" guys that you see every year. 

Danny Hultzen will probably be back with the Cubs in 2019 - IF - he wants to continue his comeback. Because he is one season short of being eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2018 (he was a minor league "second-contract" free-agent with five years of minor league service time when he signed with the Cubs last off-season), Hultzen might be under control only through the 2018 season, or he - MAY - have signed a two-year contract (keeping him under control through the 2019 season) -- TBD. But whether he is already under control through 2019 or signs a 2019 minor league successor contract, Hultzen is actually eligible to pitch in the Arizona Fall League (despite being signed to a major league contract after being selected by Seattle in the 2011 draft and then spending five years in the Mariners organization, he has accrued zero MLB Service Time). So keep Hultzen in mind for a possible Cubs AFL slot (but only if he is signed for 2019). 

As for RHP Braxton Light (Cubs 2017 24th round draft pick - Wallace State CC), he suffered a right shoulder injury after being drafted last year while he was trying to get ready to pitch in the AFL and was inactive for the 2017 AZL season and then into the 2018 season (i don't know whether or not he had surgery). He was at Extended Spring Training this year but did not pitch in any EXST games or "sim" games, and he didn't even throw "live" BP until just recently. So he is just now getting into game shape. It's been a long wait for him to make his pro debut, so naturally he's very excited to finally get his career going. 

Thanks very much Phil!

AZ Phil, do you know if Hultzen has any option years left? I’m assuming not if he was given an MLB contract right out of the draft. 

BRADSBEARD: Danny Hultzen is out of minor league options. He had four and he used them all. So that would make it difficult to shuttle him back & forth to AAA if he were to be added to the MLB 40-man roster. 

Also, Hultzen is an Article XX-D player (he has been outrighted previously in his career), so if he were to be added to the 40 at some point and then his roster slot is subsequently needed for another player, he has the right to elect to be a free-agent if he is outrighted back to the minors. 

On the bright side, Hultzen has accrued zero MLB Service Time in his career (all of his DL stints occurred after he was optioned to the minors), so if he were to emerge as a quality MLB LHRP, his club would have him under control for six seasons (and it would be three seasons before he would be eligible for salary arbitration).   

That’s going to put him in the Anthony Bass situation if he does get called on next year. Which is too bad because the Cubs are probably not going to have many slots available in the pen and they will probably prefer to keep one reserved for option-able guys. 

RHRP Allen Webster and RHSP Duncan Robinson promoted to AAA Iowa from AA Tennessee, LHSP Justin Steele promoted to Tennessee from Myrtle Beach (Steele replaces Robinson in Smokies starting rotation), 2B Christian Donahue moves up to Myrtle Beach from South Bend (Donahue replaces Andruw Monasterio at MB), and C Eric Gonzalez moves up to South Bend from Eurgene. And AZL Cubs #1 RHRP Braxton Light to the Restricted List. 

And the reason AZL Cubs RHP Braxton Light was placed on the Restricted List a couple of days ago is that he received a 50-game prohibited substance suspension after testing positive for amphetamine.  

Just to review the rule, although a player is sometimes called a minor league "six-year free-agent," a player on a minor league reserve list must have spent all or parts of at least seven separate seasons on a minor league active list or DL (including Optional Assignments) before he can become an MLB Rule 55 6YFA (see post above). 

RHRP Cory Mazzoni (Designated for Assignment on Thursday) has cleared waivers without being claimed, so the Cubs have sent him outright to AAA Iowa.

Mazzoni did - NOT - have the right to elect free-agency if outrighted, but he will be declared a minor league 6YFA at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series if he is not either signed to a 2019 minor league successor contract or added back to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) in the meantime. 

FWIW, he also remains eligible to be an injury replacement player for the Cubs in the post-season (although he would have to be added back to the MLB 40-man roster before that could happen). Obviously this would be very unlikely, but it is possible. 

RHP Luke Farrell was claimed off waivers by Angels, and LHP Rob Zastryzny cleared waivers without being claimed and was sent outright to AAA Iowa. 

Zastryzny does not the have the right to elect free-agency after being outrighted - AND - he remains under club control through the 2019 season (although he will be eligible for selection in the December 2018 Rule 5 Draft). 

RHP Allen Webster, C Ali Solis, and OF-1B Chris Pieters have signed 2019 minor league successor contracts with the Cubs. RHP Erick Leal will likely sign one, too, after being added to the tentative Mesa Solar Sox roster. All were eligible to be minor league free-agents post-2018, so now they become eligible for selection in the December 2018 Rule 5 Draft, unless the player is added to the MLB 40-man roster by 11/20.

Also, all Cubs minor league second-contract players are signed for 2019 except LHP Danny Hultzen. He is presently eligible to be a Rule 55 second-contract minor league free-agent at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series, unless he either signs a 2019 minor league successor contract or is added the MLB 40-man roster in the meantime.

In addition to OF-1B Chris Pieters (who signed one last month), other Cubs minor leaguers who were eligible to be a minor league 6YFA or a second contract FA post-2018 but who have recently signed a 2019 minor league successor contract include INF Gioskar Amaya (who will likely serve as a player-coach in 2019), OF Roberto Caro (who is playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic), C Erick Castillo (who is playing winter ball in Venezuela), and LHP Danny Hultzen (who was eligible to be a Rule 55 second-contract FA). So these players will now be eligible for selection in the December 2018 Rule 5 Draft (unless the player is added the MLB 40-man roster by 11/20). 

This leaves 17 Cubs still eligible to be minor league free-agents at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series if player does not sign 2019 minor league successor contract or is not added to MLB 40-man roster by the deadline:  

PITCHERS: Alberto Baldonado, Corey Black, Casey Coleman, Erick Leal, Cory Mazzoni, Jose Paulino, Jose Rosario, Kyle Ryan, and Daury Torrez  

CATCHERS: NONE 

INFIELDERS: Yasiel Balaguert, Stephen Bruno, and Ryan Court

OUTFIELDERS: Jeffrey Baez, Wynton Bernard, Chris Coghlan, Trey Martin, and Bijan Rademacher. 

Because Erick Leal is participating in the Arizona Fall League he must sign a 2019 minor league successor contract prior to the deadline (free-agents are not permitted to participate in the AFL), but the signing has not yet been officially reported to MLB. (Clubs have up to 15 days to file a signed successor contract with MLB).   

RHP Allen Webster and catcher Ali Solis also signed 2019 minor league successor contracts last month (around the same time Pieters re-upped), but Webster was subsequently added to the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) and Solis' contract was sold to Monterrey (Mexican League) so that Solis could continue to play for los Sultanes in Serie del Rey (the Mexican League Championship series) after the deadline to return a loaned player (September 30th). It is unclear if Solis will return to the Cubs or remain with Monterrey in 2019. 

And RHP Erick Leal (as was expected) has indeed signed a 2019 minor league successor contract (he had to sign one prior to Friday in order to continue pitching in the AFL beyond Thursday, and in fact the Cubs would not have sent him to the AFL in the first place if he had not agreed to sign a successor contract).

Therefore Leal will now be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft in December, so the Cubs still might opt to add him to their MLB 40-man roster on 11/20. This happened with LHRP Jack Leathersich a couple of years ago. (Leathersich was eligible to be a Rule 55 second-contract minor league FA post-2016 but signed a minor league successor contract after the conclusion of the 2016 minor league season to keep him from becoming a free-agent, and then he was added to the Cubs 40-man roster prior to the 11/20 deadline so that he could not be selected in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft). 

If a make-up game (Pirates/Marlins, for example) is scheduled for the day after the originally scheduled last day of the regular season, how does that affect the other 28 teams in terms of service time and certain roster dates (optional assignment players get recalled, 10-day DL players get activated, etc)?

jdmym: It adds another day to the MLB regular season for ALL clubs (even the ones that aren't playing on that Monday), which does not affect players who have already accrued a full season of MLB Service Time, but it will add another day of accrued MLB Service Time in 2018 for any player who is not on Optional Assignment to the minors at the end of the MLB regular season and who has accrued less than 172 days in 2018.

So for the Cubs, that means Bote, Caratini, T. Davis, Gore, Maples, Mills, Norwood, R. Rosario, B. Wilson, and Zagunis (and any other player the Cubs might add to the MLB Active List or 60-day DL over the course of the next three weeks) will accrue an extra day of MLB Service Time beyond what they would have accrued in 2018 if the MLB regular season had not been extended by an extra day.

BTW, this is a new rule that was added in the new CBA in December 2016 for the 2017 season and beyond. You might even call it the "Kris Bryant Rule."

Prior to 2017, there was no additional MLB Service Time accrued if the season was extended beyond the originally-scheduled last day of the MLB regular season. If this rule had existed in 2015 (when Kris Bryant fell one day short of accruing a full season of MLB Service Time) and the season had been extended by just one extra day (either because of a make-up game for a postponement or a "Game #163" tie-breaker game affecting the post-season), Bryant could have accrued an extra day of MLB Service Time and thus a full season of MLB Service Time (172 days), making him eligible to be an Article XX-B MLB Free-Agent post-2020 instead of post-2021.

But back in 2015 (prior to the rule change), the Cubs knew positively and for sure when they selected Bryant's contract from Iowa on April 17th that the maximum number of days Bryant could accrue that season would be 171. If Bryant had been called up for the first time last year or this year, the Cubs wouldn't have known in advance if the MLB regular season might be extended an extra day (or more) beyond the originally scheduled conclusion of the MLB regular season, and so they very likely wouldn't have cut it that close. They would have probably waited an extra day or three just to make sure that Bryant could not accrue a full season of MLB Service Time (not that the Cubs or any other MLB club would manipulate the rules like that...). 

In addition to the affect on MLB Service Time, extending the MLB regular season by an extra day (or days) means that players on Optional Assignment to the minors do not need to be recalled until the day after the MLB regular season actually finally ends, and a post-2018 Article XIX-A or Article XX-D minor league free-agent (like Anthony Bass is right now) would have to wait an extra day (or days) to file for free-agency.  

Man, I hope I am completely wrong, but I have a bad feeling about this week.

My impression is that we are all right there with you, E-Man.

I feel strangely optimistic now, for some reason.  Brewers are due to lose a few, Cubs have slogged through a very rough 3 days, it's a nice day in Chicago -- I really think they are going to win these next 2.

If the Cubs just win 1 game this series and mercifully get Thursday’s game moved to the end of the season, I think they’ll be in decent shape. 2 up in the loss column with a day off and the Reds coming to town. If they can win 2, they’ll be back up to 4 up in the loss column and fairly well in control of their destiny. Hader is down today, and maybe tomorrow, so that’s an advantage for the Cubs. 

Hader threw 24 easy peasey pitches -- he may be available today and if not, tomorrow should be fine. 

Minor league players with Article XX-D status who were outrighted to the minors in 2018 but deferred their right to elect free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season have begun to elect free-agency (they can elect free-agency up through October 15th).  The only Cubs Article XX-D minor leaguer is RHRP Anthony Bass. If he does not elect free-agency under Article XX-D by 10/15, he would automatically be declared an MLB Rule 55 6YFA at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the conclusion of the World Series. 

Article XX-D is the only type of free-agency that still requires an affirmative action by the player. Article XX-B MLB free-agents are automatically declared free-agents (and are automatically removed from their club's MLB 40-man roster) at 9 AM (Eastern) on the day after the final game of the World Series, and MLB Rule 55 minor league 6YFA and second-contract free-agents are automatically declared free-agents at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series.   

The reason an Article XX-D minor leaguer would elect free-agency now rather than wait until after the World Series to be automatically declared an MLB Rule 55 minor league FA is that it gives the player about a month's head-start on getting a contract. Most Article XX-D minor league free-agents end up signing a minor league contract (with an NRI to Spring Training), but occasionally an Article XX-D player will get an MLB deal. The reason it rarely happens is that being an Article XX-D minor leaguer means the player was not claimed off waivers prior to being outrighted earlier in the year, but sometimes a player performs so well in the minor leagues after being outrighted that his stock rises well beyond where it was when he was outrighted. 

RHP Anthony Bass has elected free-agency.

As a 2018 Article XX-D minor league player (he was sent outright to the minors but deferred his right to be a free-agent until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season), Bass had to file for free-agency during the period of time beginning on the day after the final game of the MLB regular season through October 15th.

He is now free to sign a major league or minor league contract with any club (including the Cubs).

If he did not file for Article XX-D free-agency during that period of time, he would become an MLB Rule 55 six-year minor league free-agent (6YFA) automaticaly at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series. However, Bass would not be eligible to be a minor league free-agent (Article XX-D or Rule 55) if he is added back to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) prior to becoming a minor league free-agent.

AZ Phil, have you previously given your thoughts on the Cubs moving instructs back to January and I missed them? Just trying to give guys more time off after the season or are there bigger changes you are aware of that go along with it?

BRADSBEARD: I mentioned in a comment last month that there would be no post-2018 AZ Instructs (at least for the Cubs) and that instead there would be a minor league instruction & conditioning mini-camp in Mesa prior to the start of MLB Spring Training.   

As for why the schedule was changed, in recent years pitchers did not throw in games or even "live" BP at post-season Instructs (they threw only bullpen side-sessions) because there was a concern that pitching in games (or even facing hitters) after the minor league season was over could be counter-productive due to the possibility that fatigue combined with competition could lead to arm injuries. 

Moving the program to the month before the start of Spring Training will allow players (especially pitchers) to get into playing shape while they are simultaneously receiving instruction, so there will be "live" BP (so hitters can face pitchers instead of just machines) as well as supposedly about a dozen or more games (presumanly against the Angels and Giants, who will also be doing some form of instructs in January).     

All of the Cubs minor league coordinators and coaches will be there and not all Cubs minor leaguers will be invited to participate, which is what will make it more like traditional post-season Instructs and not just a general pre-season conditioning program.   

There will be a two or three week break in February between the end of the minor league instruction & conditioning mini-camp and the start of official minor league Spring Training (Minor League Camp) while the big leaguers are getting into game shape on the back-fields (prior to the start of Cactus League games).  

Thanks for the info! That makes sense about the pitchers. Hopefully that will make instructs more beneficial to both the pitchers and hitters. 

It sounds like a good idea.

"Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Anthony Iapoce is leaving the Rangers to become the new hitting coach for the Cubs."

iapoce returns to the cubs.

Catcher Tyler Pearson (Cubs 2014 25th round draft pick - Texas State) has retired. The 26-year old Pearson spent the 2018 season mostly at Myrtle Beach with a brief (two weeks) move-up to Iowa in May. He hit 205/293/326 in 113 minor league games over five minor league seasons (including 79 games at Myrtle Beach 2016-18), serving as a back-up catcher and de facto player-coach. His wife is a TV news anchor in Colorado and the couple had their first child this past summer. 

PHIL: I am still waiting to retire so I can help you out there with box scores.

I still have some left in the tank, however, I don’t think I am arbitration eligible with my IT job.

Hopefully there will still be Social Security around...

E-MAN: Although you are no longer eligible for arbitratiion, you do have 10/5 rights (you have been posting at Cubs blogs for at least ten years with at least the last five years at the same Cubs blog), meaning you cannot be traded to another Cubs blog without your consent. 

I demand a hot-stove breakdown of how many infield rakes and/or cans of Simoniz each TCR regular would be worth on the trade market.

We tried to acquire Michael Ernst from Cubs Den and Michael Cerami from Bleacher Nation at the trade deadline, but TCR just doesn't have the up & coming young writers those blogs are looking for. And asking for CT Steve's first-born in return was a bit of a non-starter (at least it was for Steve). 

Did the front office even consider trading in Silent Towel for a rental? Or can't you trade commenters serving lifetime suspensions?

i was DFA'd about 5 years ago, but i still hang around the parking lot spare changing and selling bootleg matt murton jerseys.

Do you sell any that have the C in orange?

$25 each, 2 for $40, no one else has what i have and if they do it's not at this price.  go cubs!  awrite...

AZ PHIL: What are your impressions of Giambrone and Hoerner so far?

E-MAN: Trent Giambrone is a bat-first utility player with speed and power who can play 2B-SS-3B-LF, but he is below-average defensively no matter where he plays (his best defensive position is 2B). 

Nico Hoerner is a steady (but not spectacular) SS who makes all the routine plays. He plays smart and has the make-up of a Derek Jeter-type team captain or an old school Lou Boudreau type player-manager on the field. While his arm is slightly below-average for a SS, he has the range to play SS so he should be able to stay there. However, on a Cubs team as it is presently configured (with Russell and Baez on the roster), Hoerner would probably play 2B. He has well above-average speed and is a good baserunner (he can score easily from 1st base on a double or go from 1st to 3rd or score from 2nd on a single to the outfield). He is a good hitter with a level line-drive stroke (a lot like Albert Almora). He hits the ball hard but he does not have a HR-type launch angle so he usually doesn't elevate the ball. So while he might not hit a lot of HR, he should hit a lot of doubles and triples and hit for a high AVG.

Hoerner is (in my opinion) absolutely positively the Cubs #1 prospect right now. He is the best SS in the AFL. As I mentioned in a previous comment, it is significant that the  Cubs sent him to the AFL (he is the only 2018 draft pick playing there) and moved him from the Mesa Solar Sox "Taxi Squad" (where he would have been able to play only two games a week) to the general active roster (he traded places with Trent Giambrone) just prior to the start of the AFL season, which to me is an indication that he is being "fast-tracked" by the Cubs. Ordinarily I would say Hoerner would almost certainly begin the 2019 season at Hi-A Myrtle Beach, but because I think SS Aramis Ademan will begin the 2019 season back at Myrtle Beach, Hoerner could conceivably begin the season at AA (depending on how he performs in Spring Training), although I guess Ademan and Hoerner could split SS/2B/DH at Myrtle Beach (at least for a while).   

And speaking of Spring Training, Hoerner will almost certainly get an NRI to Spring Training with the big club, and then depending on how he performs during the 2019 season in the minors, he could hit Chicago as early as sometime next season (although 2020 is much more likely ETA). I would think it would be reasonable to expect something like what happened with Ian Happ (drafted in 2015 and finished the minor league regular season at Lo-A and then played in the AFL, then a full season in the minors split between Hi-A and AA in 2016, and then arrival in Chicago after about six weeks AAA in 2017).     

Thanks Phil. I hope this is the year they start getting some bona fide pitchers graduated like position players...

E-MAN: The Cubs have about a dozen legitimate MLB SP prospects in the minors. Whether any of them are Top of the Rotation (TOR) types remains to be seen, but keep in mind Jacob deGrom was only a borderline Top 10 Prospect and was projected as a #4 starter while coming up through the Mets farm system, and Corey Kluber was projected as "back-of-the-rotation" SP when he was in the Padres and Indians systems (he was traded from SD to CLE in 2010). 

So it's possible that one or more of the dozen or so Cubs SP prospects presently in the minors could develop into a TOR starter. The only question is, which one(s)?

"Harper will hit free agency 10 days after the World Series ends, and according to Boras it's already a done deal where he'll end up. Boras stated, "We know who the team is. It's already completed and done, but Bryce has told me that he wanted to tell you personally.""

neat.

If Bryce Harper has already decided where he will sign and it's a done deal and it just hasn't been announced, that would be a violation of the CBA unless he re-signs with the Washington Nationals. So I strongly suspect Boras is just being waggish. 

Chelsea Janes‏ @chelsea_janesGuys. Boras was kidding. I even checked on it for you just in case. He was kidding. Look. Beyond. Headlines.

Phil, I see you have made roster adjustments to the Cubs depth chart. But, I can't see what they were. Help!I found it. The FA's have been removed.

1B-OF Yasiel Balaguert (eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league 6YFA) signed a 2019 minor league successor contract just prior to the 5 PM (Eastern) deadline on Friday, so a total of 17 Cubs minor leaguers were declared free-agents. 

Recent comments

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  • E-MAN: I suspect Stinnett's transponder has been turned off. 

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 5 min ago view
  • 11-10...back over .500!

    crunch 3 hours 34 min ago view
  • bob costas and john smoltz sang the 7th...neet.

    never forget this legendary costas moment...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqLxzOWW_M8

    crunch 4 hours 15 min ago view
  • he played 2nd (not that well) when he first came up when maddon wasn't busy trying to make lineup space for jonathan herrera.

    it's one of those things where baez is more talented, but that talent allows him to play 2nd as well as SS while russell excells at SS compared to his play at 2nd.

    that said, if they decide baez is in a groove they might shift russell to 2nd anyway... *shrug*

    crunch 4 hours 48 min ago view
  • n.hoerner took one off the wrist and was removed from the smokies game.  boo.

    also, cory abbott had another good outing.

    crunch 5 hours 4 min ago view
  • I was thinking the same thing.  Has Addy taken any reps at 2nd? 

    Sonicwind75 5 hours 6 min ago view
  • No way in hell should they move Baez off of shortstop when Russell in back.

    Hagsag 5 hours 19 min ago view
  • rizzo did a good baseball thing.  hopefully more of that will follow.  HR #195 career.

    maeda kinda sucks tonight.  he picked a great night for it.

    crunch 5 hours 41 min ago view
  • Thanks PHIL!

    A killer ASS.

    Jake Stinnett on the Cubs radar anymore?

    The E-Man 6 hours 2 min ago view
  • crowd is heavily sparce for a LAD/CHC night game except for the bleachers...even if it is a cold april night.

    crunch 6 hours 27 min ago view
  • David Bote to the Paternity Leave List and LHP Randy Rosario is recalled from Iowa, so the Cubs will apparently go with a nine-man bullpen and a three-man bench while Bote is absent. 

    Arizona Phil 6 hours 50 min ago view
  • Crying poor is more acceptable than honesty, if honesty would note a "gentleman's agreement" between the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, and Red Sox to not go over the spending limits.

    In the highly unlikely case that's in play.

    tim815 13 hours 22 min ago view
  • I agree that for only 3 games, taking into consideration option years and 40-man roster makes complete sense.  Guess I'm still a little peeved about the Ricketts crying poor when they more than likely have a lamp not being used that costs more than $25k. 

    Sonicwind75 14 hours 16 min ago view
  • VA PHIL: It's not better to be a cheetah if you end up with a suspension that keeps you off the savannah for 80 games.  

    Arizona Phil 16 hours 1 min ago view
  • Rob Richardson 16 hours 30 min ago view
  • As long as you're one of the faster gazelles, it's probably ok!

    Charlie 16 hours 40 min ago view