Cubs 2019 Rule 5 Draft & Minor League Free-Agent Watch-List

UPDATED 4-18-2019

As things stand right now...


41 Cubs minor leaguers (one Article XX-D FA, 30 6YFA, and ten second-contract players) are eligible to be MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agents at 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day following the final game of the 2019 World Series, and 73 Cubs minor leaguers are eligible for selection in the December 2019 Rule 5 Draft. 

So the Cubs have until five days after the final game of the World Series to either sign a post-2019 Rule 55 minor league free-agent to a 2020 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 2019 Rule 5 Draft-eligible players (including any player eligible to be a free-agent who has signed a 2020 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 2019 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 2019 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 35 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 2020 minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft will be eligible for selection). Any 2019 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-2019 or eligible for selection in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft (full lists further down the post)... 

LAST UPDATED 4-18-2019

GROUP 1 (Eligible to be Minor League FA post-2019 - potentially usefull depth at AAA or AA)
1. Francisco Arcia, C - 0+067 MLB ST - has Article XX-D rights & three minor league options left
2. Dixon Machado, INF - 2+005 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & no minor league options left 
3. Cristhian Adames, INF - 1+086 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & no minor league options left 
4. Johnny Field, OF - 0+132 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & two minor league options left
5. Junichi Tazawa, RHRP - 7+170 MLB ST - has Article XIX-A rights & no minor league options left
6. Matt Carasiti, RHRP - 0+052 MLB-ST - has three minor league options left
7. Colin Rea, RHSP - 2+140 MLB ST - has two minor league options left 
8. Brian Duensing, LHRP - 9+055 MLB ST - has Article XIX-A rights & two minor league options left 
9. Jim Adduci, OF-1B - 2+040 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & one minor league option left 
10. Jacob Hannemann, OF - 0+027 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & two minor league options left   
11. Phillip Evans, INF - 0+110 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & two minor league options left 
12. Wynton Bernard, OF - 0+000 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & one minor league option left
13. Zach Borenstein, OF - has never been on an MLB reserve list 
14. Roberto Caro, OF - has never been on an MLB reserve list
NOTE-1: Article XIX-A means player can't be sent to minors without his consent if added to MLB 40-man roster
NOTE-2: Article XX-D means player can elect free-agency if sent outright to minors after being added to 40
NOTE-3: The pitchers and position-players on this list are not really considered to be "prospects" and so if the player does get added to the MLB 40-man roster in 2019 it would be much more likely to happen as an "injury replacement" during the regular season than post-World Series, and if added to the 40 during the season, the player is likely to be dropped from the 40 post-WS (outrighted or non-tendered).

GROUP 2 (Eligible to be Minor League FA post-2019)
LEGIT PROSPECT AT AAA
1. Trevor Clifton, RHSP 
2. Alberto Baldonado, LHRP 
LEGIT PROSPECT AT AA
3. Jhonny Pereda, C
SECOND-TIER PROSPECT AT AA
4. Charcer Burks, OF 
5. Ian Clarkin, LHP - SWING - 0+000 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & two minor league options left
6. Erick Leal, RHP - SWING
NOTE: Even though they are nearing minor league free-agency, the players on this list (especially Baldonado, Clifton, and Pereda) are still considered to be MLB "prospects" and so even if the player is not added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster during the MLB regular season, each of them would be "on the bubble" to be added to the 40 post-World Series to keep them from walking away as a minor league free-agent. (Any of the six listed above not added to the 40 will almost certainly be offered a 2020 minor league successor contract, but if offered one, the player does not have to sign it). 

GROUP 3 (Eligible for selection in 2019 Rule 5 Draft)
LEGIT PROSPECT (AT VARIOUS LEVELS)
1. Miguel Amaya, C (at Hi-A so not likely to be added to 40 until 11/20)
2. Dakota Mekkes, RHRP (at AAA - could be added to 40 during season or else on 11/20)
3. Duncan Robinson, RHSP (at AAA - could be added to 40 during season or else on 11/20)
4. Matt Swarmer, RHSP (at AAA - sould be added to 40 during season or else on 11/20)
5. Tyson Miller, RHSP (at AA so not likely to be added to 40 until 11/20)
6. Tom Hatch, RHSP (at AA so not likely to be added to 40 until 11/20) 
7. Trent Giambrone, INF-OF (at AAA - possible Sept call-up or else could be added to 40 on 11/20)
8. Zack Short, SS (at AAA - possible Sept call-up or else could be added to 40 on 11/20) 
9. P. J. Higgins, C-INF (at AA so not likely to be added to 40 until 11/20)
10. Michael Rucker, RHP - SWING (at AA so not likely to be aded to 40 until 11/20)
11. Bailey Clark, RHRP (at AA so not likely to be added to 40 until 11/20)
12. Bryan Hudson, LHSP (at Hi-A so not likely to be added to 40 uintil 11/20)
13. Erling Moreno, RHP (at Hi-A so not likely to be added to 40 until 11/20) 
14. Javier Assad, RHSP (at Hi-A so not likely to be added to 40 until 11/20)
15. Jose Albertos, RHSP (at EXST so not likely to be added to 40 until 11/20)
SECOND TIER PROSPECT - at AA or AAA
16. Conor Lillis-White, LHRP (AA/EXST) 
17. Craig Brooks, RHRP (AA)
18. Jordan Minch, LHRP (AA)
19. Wyatt Short, LHRP (AA)
20. Brad Markey, RHP - SWING (AA) 
21. Zach Hedges, RHP - SWING (AA)
22. Manuel Rondon, LHP - SWING (AA)
23. Donnie Dewees, OF (AAA)
24. Ian Rice, C-1B (AA)
25. Eddy Julio Martinez, OF 
26. Jake Stinnett, RHRP (AA/EXST)  
27. Jerry Vasto, LHRP (AAA 60-day IL) - 0+037 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & two minor league options left    
SECOND-TIER PROSPECT - NOT AA READY 
28. D. J. Wilson, OF (Hi-A)
29. Faustino Carrera, LHSP (Lo-A) 
30. Eury Ramos, RHSP (Lo-A) 


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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, 1B Efren Navarro, C Chris Gimenez, RHRP Anthony Bass, RHRP Justin Hancock, C-1B Taylor Davis, OF Terrance Gore, LHP Jaime Garcia, RHRP Allen Webster, and INF Mike Freeman (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, Bass, Gore, and Freeman 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, Bass elected to be a free-agent after the conclusion of the MLB regular season, and Gore and Freeman were declared minor league free-agents on the 5th day after the last game of the World Series), Garcia was declared an MLB Article XX-B FA on the day after the last game of the World Series, and Hancock and Webster were non-tendered on 11/30. Only Taylor Davis was tendered a 2019 contract on 11/30 and remains on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster going into 2019 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 in 2018, when the Cubs added RHRP Matt Carasiti (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 a minor leaguer who is eligible to be a free-agent signs 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 Jack Leathersich (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 Trevor Clifton, Alberto Baldonado, Jhonny Pereda, and Ian Clarkin (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 who were eligible for selection in the December 2018 Rule 5 Draft is concerned, the Cubs added RHRP James Norwood to the 40 during the course of the 2018 MLB regular season and LHSP Justin Steele to the 40 on 11/20. By comparison, during the course of the 2017 MLB regular season the Cubs added four players to the 40 (RHP Dylan Floro, RHRP Dillon Maples, RHSP Jen-Ho Tseng, and OF Mark Zagunis) 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: INF-OF Ian Happ 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 Adbert Alzolay, INF David Bote, and RHSP Oscar de la Cruz) to the 40 on 11/20 of 2017, 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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MLB 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 a 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.  


CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS ELIGIBLE FOR SELECTION IN 2019 RULE 5 DRAFT (last updated 4-18-2019)
Jose Albertos, RHP 
Miguel Amaya, C 
Javier Assad, RHP 
Jhonny Bethencourt, INF 
Casey Bloomquist, RHP
Andres Bonalde, LHP  
Craig Brooks, RHP 
Jesus Camargo, RHP
Faustino Carrera, LHP 
Bailey Clark, RHP
Alfredo Colorado, RHP
Yovanny Cuevas, OF 
Zach Davis, OF
Donnie Dewees, OF
Scott Effross, RHP 
Riger Fernandez, LHP
Emilio Ferrebus, RHP 
Wladimir Galindo, 3B-1B
Trent Giambrone, IF-OF
Eric Gonzalez, C 
Fauris Guerrero, RHP 
Tom Hatch, RHP 
Zach Hedges, RHP  
P. J. Higgins, C-INF
Chad Hockin, RHP 
Bryan Hudson, LHP  
Ryan Kellogg, LHP 
Conor Lillis-White, LHP 
Rafelin Lorenzo, C 
Vimael Machin, INF 
Brad Markey, RHP 
Eddy Julio Martinez, OF 
Marcus Mastrobuoni, C
Ivan Medina, RHP 
Fidel Mejia, INF 
Rafael Mejia, 1B 
Dakota Mekkes, RHP
Tyson Miller, RHP  
M. T. Minacci, RHP
Jordan Minch, LHP 
Kevonte Mitchell, OF
Erling Moreno, RHP
Connor Myers, OF 
Tommy Nance, RHP 
Rafael Narea, INF 
Richard Nunez, C-1B
Pablo Ochoa, LHP
Eugenio Palma, LHP  
Tyler Payne, C
Raymond Pena, C 
Yeiler Peguero, INF
Tyler Peyton, RHP
Gustavo Polanco, C-1B   
Eury Ramos, RHP 
Ruben Reyes, LHP (ex-OF)
Ian Rice, C-1B 
Duncan Robinson, RHP 
Abraham Rodriguez, OF-1B  
Manuel Rodriguez, RHP 
Manuel Rondon, LHP
Michael Rucker, RHP 
Carlos Sepulveda, INF
Wyatt Short, LHP 
Zack Short, INF  
Jake Stinnett, RHP
Matt Swarmer, RHP 
Jesus Tejada, RHP 
Alexander Vargas, RHP
Jerry Vasto, LHP (Article XX-D player)
Omar Ventura, RHP 
Ryan Williams, RHP 
D. J. Wilson, OF 
Delvin Zinn, INF 
 
Additionally, a free-agent who signs a 2020 minor league contract prior to the 2019 Rule 5 Draft or a minor league player who is eligible to be a minor league free-agent post-2020 but who signs a minor league successor contract prior to becoming a free-agent will be eligible for selection in the 2019 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 ARTICLE XX-D MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT POST-2019  
Brian Duensing, LHP 


MLB RULE 55 FREE-AGENT POST-2019

SIX-YEAR MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENTS
Cristhian Adames, INF - Article XX-D player
Mike Adduci, OF-1B - Article XX-D player
Gioskar Amaya, INF
Francisco Arcia, C - Article XX-D player
Alberto Baldonado, LHP
Yasiel Balaguert, 1B-OF (serving as a COACH in 2019) 
Wynton Bernard, OF - Article XX-D player
Corey Black, RHP
Zach Borenstein, OF 
Charcer Burks, OF
Matt Carasiti, RHP 
Jose Cardona, OF
Roberto Caro, OF
Erick Castillo, C
Ian Clarkin, LHP - Article XX-D player
Trevor Clifton, RHP
Enrique de los Rios, RHP
Phillip Evans, INF - Article XX-D player 
Johnny Field, OF - Article XX-D player
Luke Hagerty, LHP - Article XX-D player
Jacob Hannemann, OF - Article XX-D player
Jesse Hodges, INF
Danny Hultzen, LHP - Article XX-D player
Erick Leal, RHP
Luis Lugo, LHP 
Dixon Machado, INF - Article XX-D player
Jhonny Pereda, C
Chris Pieters, OF-1B (serving as a COACH in 2019)
Colin Rea, RHP - Article XX-D player (Super Two)
Will Remillard, C 

SECOND CONTRACT MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS (see NOTES below):
Robel Garcia, INF (previously released by CLE)
Dalton Geekie, RHP (previously released by ATL)
Julio Guante, RHP (previously released by DET)
Garrett Kelly, RHP (previously released by MIN)
Ryan Lawlor, LHP (previously released by ATL)
Junichi Tazawa, RHP (previously released by MIA)
Danny Zardon, C-INF (previously released by PHI)
NOTE-1: With mutual consent (player & club), a second-contract minor league player who has accrued fewer than seven minor league seasons can be signed to a multi-year minor league contract with club control extending up through the player's seventh minor league season. So it is possible that one or more of the Cubs minor league second contract players are signed beyond the 2019 season (TBD).
NOTE-2: RHP Donato Auguste (previously released by KC), LHP Anderson Parra (previously released by PHI), and C Juan Vasquez (previously released by SD) are second-contract minor league players and so any or all of the three might or might not be minor league FA post-2019 (see NOTE-1 above), but none of the three would be eligible for selection in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft if signed beyond 2019.


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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 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 (Atlanta Braves) inadvertently left one of its top prospects off its MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) when minor league reserve lists were 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 Injured 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 am Injured List to help the drafting club fulfill Rule 5 roster obligations (such as by leaving the player on the Injured List 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 an Injured List, the offending club or clubs are subject to a penalty (TBD by the MLB Commissioner).

Comments

Looking at Phil's depth cart for starting pitchers at MB, there seems to be a little hope for the future. Thoughts anyone?

I disagree categorically.

They won't have anyone that's Syndegaard. They have 15 guys that could be (Brandon Woodruff/Junior Guerra) or better.

Expect the Cubs to sign at least a half-dozen veteran players and pitchers with MLB and/or AAA experience to minor league contracts over the next couple of months, including a catcher, a middle-infielder, a four-corner (1B-3B-LF-RF) player, an outfielder, and a couple of pitchers. 

Any chance Derek Dietrich has to settle for a minor league deal? I know you mentioned him before as a possibility for the Cubs. 

dietrich is a miserable 3rd baseman...also probably done with 2nd base at this point in his career.  he's a corner OF/1st type with a last-hope type defensive player at 2nd/3rd.

that said, rumored cubs target d.descalso is a rather cruddy 3rd baseman, too, but he's servicable.

hopefully d.bote's bat stays adequate because he's the main backup at 3rd as it stands.

BRADSBEARD: I believe both Derek Dietrich and Cory Spangenberg (SD #1 draft pick in 2011 when Hoyer & McLeod were running the Padres) are among the Cubs preferred minor league depth signing targets, and Daniel Descalso and Jon Jay are the two primary MLB bench targets (I suspect the Cubs would like to trade Ian Happ for a young SP with upside).  

HAGSAG: The Depth Chart reflects the current Cubs minor league reserve list assignments, which includes the moving on 11/20 of players who were not eligible for selection in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft to the Myrtle Beach reserve list from the AA Tennessee and AAA Iowa rosters. That's why Duncan Robinson (for example) is listed as a Myrtle Beach SP on the Depth Chart, even though he finished the 2018 season at AAA and is likely to be a SP at either AA Tennessee or AAA Iowa on 2019 Opening Day. 

The Depth Chart will be adjusted in March to reflect Minor League Camp assignments. 

Phil, I know you will. We count on it.I am sure a good chunk of the MB starters will wind up in Tenn.

RHP Preston Morrison (Cubs 2015 8th round draft pick - TCU) has retired. 

For those of you who follow such things, the MLB office has (as usual) been closed for business (waivers, approval of contracts, etc) over the holidays (beginning on 12/22), and so the normal seven-day DFA period has been extended to allow waivers to be requested and clubs to claim players.

That's why Luke Farrell was Designated for Assignment by the Angels on 12/21 but has yet to be assigned, and it's why Robby Scott was traded to the Diamondbacks yesterday (12/30) even though he was Designated for Assignment by the Reds on 12/21, and it's why Clayton Richards was traded to the Blue Jays yesterday (12/30) even though he was Designated for Assignment by the Padres on 12/20. 

All DFA's initiated 12/20-12/28 must be resolved by this Friday (1/4). 

The Cubs have signed 27-year old free-agent RHRP Matt Carasiti to a minor league contract. Carasiti was acquired by the Cubs from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for LHRP Zac Rosscup in June 2017 and then was added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster post-2017 World Series, before being released less than a month later so that he could sign with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows (NPB). 

OF Drew Wharton (Cubs 2018 30th round draft pick - Clemson) has retired. 

The Cubs have signed 28-year old free-agent RHSP Colin Rea to a 2019 minor league contract. 

The Cubs have signed free-agent OF Zach Borenstein to a minor league contract. 

The Cubs have signed RHSP Christian Bergman and INF Cristhian Adames to 2019 minor league contracts, and both will presumably get an NRI to MLB Spring Training. 

didnt hear about this rumor...nonetheless...

"Patrick Mooney of The Athletic reports that contrary to previous rumors the Cubs did not meet with Bryce Harper on Friday.

Mooney goes on to reiterate that the Cubs have been clear that they will not be signing Harper or any other high-dollar free agent this winter."

Something to keep in mind about players signed to minor league contracts: 

A released minor league player receives two weeks salary as termination pay if he is released during Spring Training or during the minor league season.

A minor league player who is injured during the course of Spring Training or during the minor league regular season receives two weeks  salary as termination pay if he is released no later than the 14th day of his club's regular season, but the injured player receives a full season's salary if he is released after the 14th day of his club's regular season and prior to being healthy enough to be reinstated from the DL.

Which means if any of the NRI players who at Cubs MLB Spring Training get hurt during Spring Training, the player can be released (even if the player is injured, even if it's a season-ending injury) through the 14th day of the minor league regular season and receive two weeks salary as termination pay. 

And that's why free agents signed during the off-season really, really, REALLY want to sign a major league contract rather than a minor league contract, even if the player would get the same salary on the minor league deal as he would on a major league deal. And it's another reason why it sucks to get outrighted to the minors prior to the start of Spring Training.

As things stand now, it is likely that nine pitchers currently on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster will be optioned to Iowa by the end of Spring Training: 

Adbert Alzolay 
Dillon Maples 
Alec Mills 
James Norwood 
Randy Rosario 
Kyle Ryan 
Jen-Ho Tseng 
Duane Underwood Jr 
Rowan Wick 

It's possible that K. Ryan, Tseng, and/or Wick could get outrighted off the 40 (or claimed off waivers) when de la Cruz and Russell are ready to be reinstated from the Restricted List in May, but until that happens, there will probably be only four slots open at Iowa for pitchers not on the 40, and two of them will probably be Trevor Clifton and Dakota Mekkes (and Conor Lillis-White and Duncan Robinson could make the Iowa Opening Day roster as well). 

Which means that is is possible that (at most) only two of the veteran pitchers signed to minor league contracts will actually make the Iowa Opening Day roster (that is, only two from this group of 13): 

Alberto Baldonado
Christian Bergman
Matt Carasiti 
Ian Clarkin 
George Kontos 
Carlos Ramirez 
Colin Rea 
Rob Scahill 
Junichi Tazawa
Jerry Vasto 
Allen Webster
Mike Zagurski 
Rob Zastryzny  

Whichever of the 13 don't make the Iowa Opening Day roster would presumably be released if unwilling to go to EXST and stay in shape in case needed as an injury replacement at Iowa. 

And that's also presuming that Corey Black, Luke Hagerty, Danny Hultzen, and Jose Rosario begin the season at EXST. 

So that would probably mean these 13 pitchers would start the season at AA (even though some of them should probably be at AAA): 

Craig Brooks 
Scott Effross
Tom Hatch 
Zach Hedges 
Conor Lillis-White
Brad Markey 
Jordan Minch 
Duncan Robinson 
Michael Rucker 
Justin Steele 
Jake Stinnett  
Matt Swarmer 
Keegan Thompson 
with Oscar de la Cruz likely to be reinstated from the Restricted List and optioned to AA by the first week of May 

And then these 13 pitchers would presumably start the season at Hi-A Myrtle Beach (and some of these guys should be at AA): 

Cory Abbott 
Bailey Clark 
Bryan Hudson 
Alex Lange 
Ryan Lawlor
Erick Leal
Brendon Little  
Tyson Miller 
Erling Moreno 
Tyler Peyton 
Manuel Rondon 
Wyatt Short 
Erich Uelmen 

And so that would probably leave Luis Aquino, Casey Bloomquist, James Buckelew, Yan de la Cruz, Enrique de los Rios, Dalton Geekie, Brian Glowicki, Ryan Kellogg, Garrett Kelly, Luis Lugo, Mario Meza, Tommy Nance, Alexander Vargas, and Ryan Williams in limbo (at EXST) as potential AAA/AA/Hi-A injury replacements, or one or more of them could get released.  

And then at least 60 more pitchers will be competing for 13 slots at South Bend: 

Maikel Aguiar 
Jose Albertos 
Chris Allen 
Javier Assad 
Sean Barry 
Andres Bonalde 
Jonathan Bruzual 
Fernando Calderon
Jesus Camargo
Faustino Carrera 
Derek Casey 
Alfredo Colorado 
Danis Correa
Yovanny Cruz 
Jeremiah Estrada 
Riger Fernandez 
Kohl Franklin 
Hector Alonso Garcia 
Jose Alejandro Gonzalez
Fauris Guerrero 
Ben Hecht 
Elias Herrera 
Brendan King 
Chi-Feng Lee 
Brailyn Marquez 
Junior Marte 
Ivan Medina 
Riley McCauley 
Brady Miller 
M. T. Minacci 
Zach Mort
Eduarniel Nunez 
Pablo Ochoa 
Carlos Ocampo 
Raidel Orta 
Eugenio Palma 
Jeffrey Passantino 
Jack Patterson 
Yunior Perez 
Jake Reindl
Peyton Remy 
Paul Richan
Stephen Ridings  
Ethan Roberts 
Manuel Rodriguez 
Andry Rondon 
Ruben Reyes 
Casey Ryan 
Cam Sanders
Josh Sawyer
Luis Silva   
Jake Steffens 
Niels Stone 
Mitch Stophel 
Nathan Sweeney 
Jesus Tejada 
Riley Thompson 
Sucre Valdez 
Didier Vargas
Carlos Vega 
Blake Whitney  

Some of the four dozen pitchers who don't make the South Bend Opening Day roster will be at EXST competing for jobs at Eugene (and waiting for a pitcher to get hurt at South Bend), while a few others will be released. 

AZ Phil is in midseason form.

neither cubs sat/sun/mon/tues/wed/thurs games are televised.

lame...very very lame.

first televised game is friday march 1st unless something changes (@Dbacks on the ARZ feed).

2/25 split squad cubs/dodgers game has been picked up to be televised (dodgers feed) ..cubs also playing SD the same day (radio only)

3:05pm EST

https://twitter.com/MDGonzales/status/109751175840...

it's now 79-83 since the brews signed moosetacos, btw...

Has anyone heard if any of these past Cubs minor leaguers have found a team..Mazonni, Rademacher, D. Torrez, Coghlan or Trey Martin? 

HAGSAG: No word yet, but don't be surprised if guys like Rademacher, Martin, and Torrez end up in Mexico or in independent baseball.

A number of former Cubs minor leaguers and big leaguers (INF Arismendy Alcantara, C Sergio Burruel, INF Dustin Geiger, INF-OF Junior Lake, RHP Yoanner Negrin, OF Felix Pie, RHP Armando Rivero, INF Issmael Salas, OF Dave Sappelt, and RHP Carlos Zambrano) played in the Mexican League last year, and INF-OF Logan Watkins just signed with Tijuana after playing indy ball in 2018.  

Besides Watkins, RHP Dallas Beeler, 1B Danny Canela, 1B Kevin Cornelius, OF Shawon Dunston Jr, C-IF-OF Anthony Giansanti, RHP Trey McNutt, RHP James Pugliese, INF-OF Nate Samson, RHP Nick Sarianides, OF Daniel Spingola, LHP Tommy Thorpe, and RHP Michael Wagner played in North American independent leagues last year, RHP Seth Frankoff and LHP Brooks Raley played in the KBO (Korea), LHP Darin Downs played in the CPBL (Taiwan), and OF Xavier Batista hit 25 HR for Hiroshima in the NPB (Japan) last season. 

So there actually are more than just a couple of options for guys like Rademacher, Torrez, Martin, and Mazzoni.  

Don’t see BJ signed to any club yet. Mike Olt, however, played AAA for the Red Sawx last year. Anyone hear if he is resigned?

E-MAN: Mike Olt signed a 2019 minor league contract with the Minnesota Twins last month. 

mlbtr compiles multiple Cub roster moves from today (mostly from Patrick Mooney and Mark Gonzales tweets)...

Alzolay, Tseng to AAA; Steele, De La Cruz to AA; D Robinson, Clarkin, Rea, Burks, Hannemann to minor league camp. As are Brooks Baldonado and Marzilli to Minor league camp. Scahill outright released. Roster at 54.

The Cubs have signed INF Dixon Machado to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to Iowa. 

He is an above-average defensive SS who will provide addidtional INF depth for the Cubs at AAA.  

Machado has 172 games of MLB experience with DET off & on over the course of four seasons (2015-18). 

Confirmed RHRP George Kontos has been released. 

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

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 28 min ago view
  • 11-10...back over .500!

    crunch 2 hours 57 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 3 hours 38 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 11 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 4 hours 27 min ago view
  • I was thinking the same thing.  Has Addy taken any reps at 2nd? 

    Sonicwind75 4 hours 29 min ago view
  • No way in hell should they move Baez off of shortstop when Russell in back.

    Hagsag 4 hours 43 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 4 min ago view
  • Thanks PHIL!

    A killer ASS.

    Jake Stinnett on the Cubs radar anymore?

    The E-Man 5 hours 26 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 5 hours 50 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 13 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 12 hours 45 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 13 hours 39 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 15 hours 24 min ago view
  • Rob Richardson 15 hours 54 min ago view
  • As long as you're one of the faster gazelles, it's probably ok!

    Charlie 16 hours 3 min ago view