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

UPDATED 6-10-2019

As things stand right now...


41 Cubs minor leaguers (two Article XX-D FA, 27 6YFA, and twelve 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 71 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 6-10-2019

GROUP 1 (Eligible to be Minor League FA post-2019 - potentially usefull MLB depth at AAA)
1. Colin Rea, RHSP - 2+140 MLB ST - has two minor league options left 
2. Junichi Tazawa, RHRP - 7+170 MLB-ST - has Article XIX-A rights & no minor league options left 
3. Dixon Machado, INF - 2+005 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & no minor league options left 
4. Philip Evans, INF - 0+110 MLB ST - has Article XX-D rights & two minor league options left
5. Francisco Arcia, C - 0+067 MLB ST - has Article XX-D rights & three minor league options left  
6. Jim Adduci, 1B-OF - 2+040 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & one minor league option left 
7. Cristhian Adames, INF - 1+086 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & no minor league options left 
8. Johnny Field, OF - 0+132 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & two minor league options left
9. Jacob Hannemann, OF - 0+027 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & two minor league options left  
10. Brian Duensing, LHRP - 9+055 MLB ST - has Article XIX-A rights & two minor league options left 
11. Wynton Bernard, OF - 0+000 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & one minor league option left
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 or as a September roster depth call-up 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 MLB Rule 55 Minor League FA post-2019)
LEGIT PROSPECT AT AAA
1. Danny Hultzen, LHRP (Rule 55 6YFA - likely to be added to 40 after World Series if not during season) - 0+000 MLB-ST  has Article XX-D rights & no minor league options left
2. Robel Garcia, INF (Rule 55 second-contract player - 50/50 chance to be added to 40 after World Series if not added during season - see NOTE-2 below)
3. Trevor Clifton (Rule 55 6YFA - 25/75 chance to be added to 40 after World Series)  
LEGIT PROSPECT AT AA
4. Jhonny Pereda, C (Rule 55 6YFA - long-shot to be added to 40 after World Series)
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SECOND-TIER PROSPECT AT AA
5. Ian Clarkin, LHP - SWING (Rule 55 6YFA) - 0+000 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & two minor league options left
6. Charcer Burks, OF (Rule 55 6YFA)
7. Roberto Caro, OF (Rule 55 6YFA)
SECOND-TIER PROSPECT AT SINGLE-A
8. Erick Leal, RHP - SWING (Rule 55 6YFA)
9. Luis Lugo, LHP - SWING (Rule 55 6YFA)
10. Ryan Lawlor, LHP - SWING (Rule 55 second-contract player - see NOTE-2 below)
NOTE-1: Even though they are nearing minor league free-agency, the players on this list (especially Hultzen, R. Garcia, 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, they 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 ten 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). 
NOTE-2: With mutual consent (player & club), a Rule 55 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 Robel Garcia and/or Ryan Lawlor are signed beyond the 2019 season (TBD).

GROUP 3 (Eligible for selection in 2019 Rule 5 Draft)
LEGIT PROSPECT (AT VARIOUS LEVELS)
1. Miguel Amaya, C (at Hi-A - virtual lock to be added to 40 on 11/20)
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2. Tyson Miller, RHSP (at AA - likely to be added to 40 on 11/20)
3. Dakota Mekkes, RHRP (at AAA - likely to be added to 40 on 11/20 if not added during season)  
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4. P. J. Higgins, C-INF (at AA - 50/50 chance to be added to 40 on 11/20) 
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5. Matt Swarmer, RHSP (at AAA  - 25/75 chance to be added to 40 on 11/20 if not added during season) 
6. Javier Assad, RHSP (at Hi-A - 25/75 chance to be added to 40 on 11/20) 
7. Tom Hatch, RHSP (at AA - 25/75 chance to be added to 40 on 11/20)
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8. Jose Albertos, RHSP (at Lo-A - long-shot to be added to 40 on 11/20)
9. Zack Short, SS (at AAA - long-shot to be added to 40 on 11/20 if not added during season)
10. Trent Giambrone, INF-OF (at AAA - long-shot to be added to 40 on 11/20 if not added during season)
11. Donnie Dewees, OF (at AAA - long-shot to be added to 40 on 11/20 if not added during season)
12. Wyatt Short, LHRP (at AA - long-shot to be added to 40 on 11/20 if not added during season)
13. Craig Brooks, RHRP (at AA- long-shot to be added to 40 on 11/20 if not added during season)
14. Michael Rucker, RHP - SWING (at AAA - long shot to be added to 40 on 11/20 if not added during season)
15. Vimael Machin, INF (at AA - long-shot to be added to 40 on 11/20 if not added during season)
SECOND-TIER PROSPECT - at AA or AAA
16. Zach Hedges, RHP - SWING (at AA) 
17. Ian Rice, C-1B (at AA)
18. Bailey Clark, RHRP (at AA) 
19. Eddy Julio Martinez, OF (at AA)
20. Conor Lillis-White, LHRP (at AA/EXST) 
21. Duncan Robinson, RHSP (at AAA/EXST)
22. Jordan Minch, LHRP (at AA) 
23. Tommy Nance, RHRP (at AA)
24. Jake Stinnett, RHRP (at AA) 
SECOND-TIER PROSPECT - at SINGLE-A 
25. Faustino Carrera, LHSP (Lo-A) 
26. Bryan Hudson, LHSP (Hi-A) 
27. Erling Moreno, RHSP (Hi-A) 
28. Alexander Vargas, RHP - SWING (Hi-A) 
29. Eury Ramos, RHSP (Lo-A)  
30. D. J. Wilson, OF (Hi-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 6-10-2019)
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 
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 
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  
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  
Jim Adduci, 1B-OF
Brian Duensing, LHP 


MLB RULE 55 FREE-AGENT POST-2019

SIX-YEAR MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENTS
Cristhian Adames, INF - Article XX-D player
Gioskar Amaya, INF
Francisco Arcia, C - Article XX-D player
Yasiel Balaguert, 1B-OF (serving as a COACH in 2019) 
Wynton Bernard, OF - Article XX-D player
Corey Black, RHP
Charcer Burks, OF
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 
Will Remillard, C (serving as a COACH in 2019)
Manuel Rondon, LHP 

SECOND CONTRACT MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS (see NOTES below):
Marcos Encarnacion, RHP (previously released by CIN) 
Robel Garcia, INF (previously released by CLE)
Julio Guante, RHP (previously released by DET)
Garrett Kelly, RHP (previously released by MIN)
Ryan Lawlor, LHP (previously released by ATL)
John Pomeroy, RHP (previously released by PIT)
Junichi Tazawa, RHP (Article XIX-A player - 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), LHP Jorge Ramirez (previously released by TEX), 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. 

OF Zach Borenstein has been released from Iowa. 

The Cubs have released LHP Alberto Baldonado and RHP Ryan Williams. 

aww...no more ryan williams.

I‘m sad about Williams too. 

The Cubs have released RHRP Dalton Geekie. 

Too many pitchers under contract -- still -- for the organization to evaluate.  There are guys sidetracked at every level and nobody can figure out if they are good unless they get to pitch.  Sorry for Geekie, Baldonado and especially Ryan Williams but those cuts only scratch the surface.  It looks more competitive to get a real pitching role on Tennessee or Myrtle Beach than Chicago.  That's just weird.

It's tough to get to Chicago, though. Ask Rowan Wick.

TJS for AAA Iowa RHSP Duncan Robinson. 

that sucks.  he wasn't much of a ranked prospect, but he had good command and pitch control to all parts of the plate plus he managed to fool batters outside of that.  nice curve that would probably play well in the bigs.

on the bright side, cory abbott and tyson milller are both making a case in AA to have a look at AAA batters.

Just as a reminder, a player on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) can NOT opt-out of a contract during the season even if the player signed a minor league contract with an opt-out prior to being added to the 40.

Only players signed to a minor league contract who have an automatic (Article XX-B) or contractual opt-out right can opt-out during the MLB regular serason.  

So for example, Carlos Gonzalez could have an opt-out (probably does) on July 1st. 

And Junichi Tazawa probably has a later opt-out (probably July 1st) in the minor league contract he signed on 4/4 after being released at the end of Spring Training than the automatic Article XX-B June 1st opt-out (and $100K retention bonus) he had in the original minor league contract he signed in January. 

And even though he is in the minor leagues, Tim Collins cannot have an in-season opt-out because he is on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster. 

I keep reading at various sites that the Cubs signed Robel Garcia after seing him play in the WBC (Garcia never played in the WBC) or they saw him play in Italy, but (as I wrote here last year when the Cubs signed him) what actually happened is the Cubs signed Garcia after watching him play for Team Italy in AZ Instructs last September-October. 

Team Italy was a guest of the Oakland A's at Fitch Park last Fall and fielded a team in the AZ Instructional League and Garcia just lit it up. And although the Cubs did not field a team in AZ Instructs post-2018, they did scout the games and that's where they saw Garcia. (The Cubs signed him in October as soon as Instructs concluded). 

And then Garcia tied for the lead in HR among Cubs minor leaguers at Minor League Camp in March, which is how & why he ended up on the AA Tennesee Opening Day roster. He wasn't there as some back-up utility infielder. 

The problem with Garcia (and this was mentioned to me by a scout recently) is that if he proves himself at AA (and he's now at AAA) he projects as a DH (for an American League team) or a switch-hitting bat off the bench (for a National League team) who can (in a pinch) play all four infield positions (though none of them very well). 

So he could potentially play for a soccer club while playing baseball as well? I am just making a broad stereotype that he played soccer first, and was good at it in Italy?

He’s from the Dominican Republic, not Italy. He was an Indians prospect for several years and went to Italy after being release a couple years ago. 

"So he could potentially play for a soccer club while playing baseball as well?"

No, you're thinking of Javier Assad.

https://www.google.com/search?q=6360337-video-cubs-prospect-javier-assad-kicks-ball-to-first-base-to-make-awesome-soccer-inspired-out.html&cad=h

The Cubs have released RHP Brad Markey. 

The Cubs released RHRP Matt Carasiti late Friday afternoon, and within minutes he was signed by the Seattle Mariners. Pretty much the same thing happened after Brad Markey was released by the Cubs last Sunday. He was signed by the Cincinnati Reds the next day and got a slot in AAA (something he was unable to do with the Cubs). 

Sometimes a club will tell a guy that there is no room for him in the system (or at the "appropriate" level in the system for that player), and so he is granted permission to explore other opportunities and will get his release if he finds something. If not, he can remain in the organization, but it will probably mean being placed on the "phantom" IL or being assigned (on paper) to a short-season affiliate's roster or being placed on the Temporarily Inactive List (unpaid Leave of Absence) until a roster slot opens up. 

While the club that releases the player gets nothing in return, the player and his agent don't forget. 

I know Kimbrel will be in Iowa soon, and Underwood just got bumped to the pen, but I’m hoping this indicates that Craig Brooks will get another shot in Iowa soon.

Man, I'm still handicapping Underwood's release this year as even-money. First starter, now the pen, next will be line-chalker. He just seems like out-and-out bust material at this time.

E-MAN: Duane Underwood Jr will be out of minor league options next season, so he would be a likely DFA or non-tender candidate post-2018. But it's also possible that he could get traded before it comes to that. In either case, he doesn't appear to have any long-term future with the Cubs. 

Am I crazy or do the Cubs seem to have a bad habit of holding on to underperforming minor leaguers. I am not talking about guys that are developing and are having a bad year, I get that there will be bumps along the way. I am talking about guys who had a disasterous first go round at a level and are having a disasterous second go round. And in some rare cases, a disasterous third go round. Is it really that important to clog the system at Double-A or Triple-A with older, "more experienced" players rather than giving guys a shot to compete and move up? I know with the draft the organization will get infused with 30-35 new guys, so there will be some attrition. But I guess I'm asking if this is normal? I don't want to call out any names (not trying to be intentionally hurtful) but at what point do you peg a player as topping out at a certain level and be realistic about their chances?

Not a direct answer to your question, but something I picked up along the way somewhere... Some of the value in minor leaguers is being a "seat filler" to fill out the system so that other prospecty types have a half-decent team to play with.  Good in the clubhouse (or at least not a problem), probably a plus defender, OBP in the .290-.320 range, SLG topping at .400.  A player like that gives the rest of the team something solid-enough to play with nightly. Especially the defense part b/c that helps the pitching have more "normalized" innings (ie, not having an inning  extended by an error or sloppy play in the field; learning to trust fielding & pitch to contact; etc.). 

For instance, I think there are some OF players who are clearly in this category, both currently & recently. Trey Martin was in the system for 7 years for that reason. I wouldn't be surprised to see Connor Myers hang on for a long time. On the infield, maybe somebody like Yasiel Balaguert. 

If I am talking out my @#$%, which is always possible/likely, somebody please correct me. 

That totally makes sense about seat fillers. I had read before that a guy like Connor Myers specifically, was always going to have a place in the organization because he's a plus plus defender. And I understand guys who have one tool that is plus or even plus plus that are kept around in hopes they can develop other facets of their game. Or the idea of organizational depth guys.

Mostly I am just wondering why we have so many pitchers getting blocked when some of the guys blocking them aren't necessarily demonstrably better. Plus sometimes it feels like Theo and Co. aren't willing to cut bait on a guy. Or they are stocking the high minors with classic Four-A players so fringy prospects aren't getting meaningful innings or assignments. I was pretty happy to see Giambrone and Short (before his injury) get the nod to Triple-A.

If the skill sets are relatively the same, I'd rather challenge the 24 year old, than have a 28 year old retread. I know the big league club doesn't have a lot of openings, but I just feel like the Cubs don't really have a plan to develop guys through the high minors unless they're superstars and it's obvious.

Jim Brower, a former MLB pitcher who had a pretty solid career, was the Cubs' Minor League Pitching Coordinator through 2017.  He was replaced by Brendan Sagara, for whom WHO? would be a fair comment.  Sagara's highest level of pitching experience was a cup of coffee with the independent Evansville Otters in the Frontier League.  I think it's fair to say development of the pitching-heavy 2016-18 draft classes has been disappointing, perhaps VERY disappointing.  I can't say this is Sagara's fault but it is definitely occuring on his watch.

JustSayin': Brendan Sagara is the Mad Scientist who developed & implemented the high-tech Cubs Pitching Lab at the UAPC in Mesa. The Pitching Lab can't turn everybody into Jacob deGrom, but so far it has helped to develop Tyson Miller into a legit MLB SP prospect and bring Danny Hultzen back from the dead. 

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  • crunch 19 hours 15 min ago (view)

    hell of a loss.

    killer 9th inning drama all going LA's way.  wow.

    it says a lot that the packed house in LA was still almost all there through the last pitch of the game.

     

  • crunch 19 hours 39 min ago (view)

    ESPN...it's all bad, all the time.

     

  • BobbyD 19 hours 44 min ago (view)

    I'm just glad it worked out for the diarrhea girl and her date. I don't know which is worse, Arod or that fucking commercial 8 times a game. 

     

  • crunch 19 hours 50 min ago (view)

    sitting in the dugout, it looks like kyle schwarber has an unfortunate touch of matt williams style early onset baldness coming on...or he recently got a way-too-close-on-top haircut.

    dude just turned 26 a few months ago.

     

  • crunch 20 hours 55 min ago (view)

    i dont have ESPN anymore since DirecTV Now raised their prices, so I have to rely on...umm...very legal and very cool ways for my ESPN fix.

     

  • Hagsag 21 hours 3 min ago (view)

    Pat and Ron, no Aroid for me.

     

  • crunch 21 hours 14 min ago (view)

    phew...last ESPN sunday cubs game until the williamsport little leage classic game Aug 18 vs PIT.

    i really like the LLClassic and i'm stoked the cubs will play this year.  i hope it sticks around for a long time.

     

  • QuietMan 21 hours 59 min ago (view)

    Picture:

    https://twitter.com/klocky7/status/113676604403350...

     

  • crunch 22 hours 43 min ago (view)

    t.barnette and d.hultzen worked today's IOW game.  nice to have emerging options...

    d.mekkes is continuing to be a future end-game reliever to keep an eye on, too.  he's not making many team prospect lists, and he's not blowing anyone away, but he's steady getting it done.

     

  • crunch 22 hours 49 min ago (view)

    mike trout will be a cub soon enough.  woo!  if they package both together the cubs might be able to snag griffin canning along with him.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    If Ben Zobrist were to return to baseball sometime in the next few weeks or next couple of months, keep in mind that he does have a minor league option left, so he (like Craig Kimbrel) could consent to an Optional Assignment to the minors to get into playing shape. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    As of today (6/16), Daniel Descalso and Brad Brach no longer have Article XX-B "no trade" rights and so they can be traded without restriction. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    LF Nelson Maldonado, 3B Grayson Byrd, CF Zac Taylor, INF Jacob Olson, and INF-OF-C Bryce Windham (the five college senior position-player draft picks who officially signed last Tuesday and who have been active in AZL mini-camp for almost a week) should be ready to play in AZL games right from the gitgo. 

    The sixth college senior position player draft pick signed by the Cubs (LF Darius Hill, who signed officially on Thursday) might not be quite ready on AZL Opening Day.   

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    Cubs 24th round draft pick 3B Grayson Byrd looks exactly like Justin Turner (at least above the neck). Long red hair and a full red beard. Now if he could only hit like Turner... 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    INF-OF Bryce Windham (32nd round pick - Old Dominion) worked out at catcher in "live" BP yesterday, so he could be the 6th Cubs AZL catcher (they really need three on both squads) if they don't add another catcher this week. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    JustSayin': Brendan Sagara is the Mad Scientist who developed & implemented the high-tech Cubs Pitching Lab at the UAPC in Mesa. The Pitching Lab can't turn everybody into Jacob deGrom, but so far it has helped to develop Tyson Miller into a legit MLB SP prospect and bring Danny Hultzen back from the dead.