Cubs MLB Roster

Cubs Organizational Depth Chart
40-Man Roster Info

40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full), plus three players are on the 60-DAY IL

26 players on MLB RESERVE LIST are ACTIVE, plus eleven players are on OPTIONAL ASSIGNMENT to minors and three players are on the 15-DAY IL

Last updated 6-15-2024

* bats or throws left
# bats both

Javier Assad
Colten Brewer
Kyle Hendricks
* Shota Imanaga
Mark Leiter Jr
* Luke Little
Tyson Miller
Hector Neris
* Drew Smyly
* Justin Steele
Jameson Taillon
Keegan Thompson
Hayden Wesneski

Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

David Bote
* Michael Busch
Nico Hoerner
Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson
Patrick Wisdom

* Cody Bellinger
* Pete Crow-Armstrong
# Ian Happ
Seiya Suzuki
* Mike Tauchman

Kevin Alcantara, OF
Michael Arias, P
Alexander Canario, OF
Jose Cuas, P
Brennen Davis, OF
Porter Hodge, P 
Nick Madrigal, INF 
* Miles Mastrobuoni, INF
* Matt Mervis, 1B
Daniel Palencia, P 
Luis Vazquez, INF

15-DAY IL: 3
Yency Almonte, P
Ben Brown, P 
* Jordan Wicks, P 

60-DAY IL: 3
Adbert Alzolay, P 
Caleb Kilian, P
Julian Merryweather, P

Minor League Rosters
Rule 5 Draft 
Minor League Free-Agents

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

UPDATED 10-13-2019

As things stand right now...

72 Cubs minor leaguers (including six second-contract players and one player eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2019 who signed a 2020 minor league successor contract) are eligible for selection in the December 2019 MLB Rule 5 Draft, and 22 Cubs minor leaguers are eligible to be declared MLB Rule 55 minor league 6YFA at 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day following the final game of the 2019 World Series.

In addition, one player (1B-OF Jim Adduci) was eligible to be an Article XX-D minor league free-agent (he had the right to elect free-agency after being outrighted in June, but he elected to accept the outright assignment and defer the choice until after the conclusion of the 2019 MLB regular season). So the Cubs had until the end of the 2019 MLB regular season to either sign Adduci to a 2020 minor league successor contract or add him back to their MLB 40-man roster, but they did not do either, and so therefore he could file for free-agency beginning on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season and extending up through October 15th (he filed on 9/30). 

The Cubs then have until five days after the final game of the 2019 World Series to either sign a post-2019 MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent (including any Article XIX-A or Article XX-D player who did not file for free-agency by October 15th) 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 minor league free-agent post-2019 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 9-30-2019

GROUP 1 (Eligible to be Minor League FA post-2019)
1. Colin Rea, RHSP - 2+140 MLB ST - has two minor league options left - will likely be added to 40 after World Series
2. Taylor Davis, C-1B - 0+102 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & two minor league options left
3. Dixon Machado, INF - 2+005 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & no minor league options left
4. Phillip Evans, INF - 0+110 MLB ST - has Article XX-D rights & two minor league options left
5. Johnny Field, OF - 0+132 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & two minor league options left
6. Alex Wilson, RHRP - 5+072 MLB-ST - has Article XIX-A rights & one minor league option left
NOTE-1: Article XIX-A means player can't be optioned or sent outright 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
COMMENT: RHSP Colin Rea was 2019 PCL Pitcher of the Year and he is likely to be added to the 40 after the World Series, but the only way the others on the list might be retained is if the player is offered and then signs a 2020 minor league successor contract. 

GROUP 2 (Eligible to be Minor League FA post-2019 - not ready for MLB)
1. Jhonny Pereda, C (at AAA - Rule 55 6YFA - outside chance to be added to 40 after World Series)
2. Oscar de la Cruz, RHRP (at AA - Rule 55 6YFA - outside chance to be added back to 40 after World Series) 
3. Trevor Clifton, RHSP (at AAA - Rule 55 6YFA - outside chance to be added to 40 after World Series) 
SECOND-TIER PROSPECT (will likely be offered 2020 minor league successor contract) 
4. Luis Lugo, LHP - SWING (at AA - Rule 55 6YFA)
5. Erick Leal, RHP - SWING (at AA - Rule 55 6YFA)
6. Charcer Burks, OF (at AAA - Rule 55 6YFA)
7. Roberto Caro, OF (at AA - Rule 55 6YFA) 
8. Erick Castillo, C (at AAA - Rule 55 6YFA) 
9. Manuel Rondon, LHRP (at AA - Rule 55 6YFA)  
10. Corey Black, RHRP (at AA - Rule 55 6YFA)
11. Enrique de los Rios, RHP - SWING (at Hi-A - Rule 55 6YFA) 
12. Gioskar Amaya, INF (at AA - Rule 55 6YFA) 
COMMENT: Even though they are nearing minor league free-agency, the players on this list (especially Jhonny Pereda, Oscar de la Cruz, and Trevor Clifton) are still considered to be "prospects," and so even if not added to the MLB 40-man roster each of the players listed 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 - likely on AAA Reserve List if not added to MLB 40-man roster)
1. Miguel Amaya, C (at Hi-A - virtual lock to be added to 40 on 11/20)
2. P. J. Higgins, C-INF (at AAA - will likely be added to 40 on 11/20) 
3. Tyson Miller, RHSP (at AAA - 50/50 chance to be added to 40 on 11/20)
4. Trent Giambrone, INF-OF (at AAA - outside chance to be added to 40 on 11/20)
5. Zack Short, SS (at AAA  - outside chance to be added to 40 on 11/20) 
6. Jordan Minch, LHRP (at AAA - outside chance to be added to 40 on 11/20)
7. Matt Swarmer, RHSP (at AAA - outside chance to be added to 40 on 11/20)
8. Dakota Mekkes, RHRP (at AAA - outside chance to be added to 40 on 11/20)
9. Wyatt Short, LHRP (at AAA)
10. Craig Brooks, RHRP (at AAA)
11. Ryan Lawlor, LHRP (at Hi-A)
12. Javier Assad, RHSP (at Hi-A) 
13. Jose Albertos, RHSP (at Lo-A)
14. Bailey Clark, RHRP (at AA)
15. Michael Rucker, RHRP (at AAA)
16. Vimael Machin, INF (at AAA)
NOTE: All 16 players listed above are legit candidates to get selected in the 2019 MLB Rule 5 Draft if not added to the MLB 40-man roster by 11/20
17. Duncan Robinson, RHSP (at AAA)
18. Mark Zagunis, OF (at AAA)
19. Donnie Dewees, OF (at AAA) 
20. Conor Lillis-White, LHRP (at AA) 
21. Zach Davis, OF (at AA) 
22. Eddy Julio Martinez, OF (at AA) 
23. Connor Myers, OF (at AAA) 
24. Jerry Vasto, LHRP (at AAA) 
25. Zach Hedges, RHP - SWING (at AA) 
26. Tommy Nance, RHRP (at AA)
27. Jake Stinnett, RHRP (at AA) 
28. Ian Rice, C-1B (at AA) 
29. Erling Moreno, RHP - SWING (at Hi-A)
30. Delvin Zinn, INF (at Hi-A)
31. Bryan Hudson, LHSP (at Hi-A) 
32. Faustino Carrera, LHSP (at Lo-A) 
33. Scott Effross, RHRP (at Hi-A) 
34. Alexander Vargas, RHP - SWING (at Hi-A) 
35. Chad Hockin, RHRP (at Hi-A) 
36. Manuel Rodriguez, RHRP (at Hi-A)
37. Jesus Camargo, RHRP (at Hi-A)  
38. Eury Ramos, RHSP (at Lo-A) 
NOTE: All of the players listed above are good candidates to get selected in the AAA Phase of the 2019 MLB Rule 5 Draft if not added to the AAA Iowa reserve list by 11/20 (depending on how many AAA slots the Cubs leave open going into the Rule 5 Draft, there could be as many as 38 Rule 5 Draft-eligible players placed on the AAA Iowa reserve list).


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, 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 remained on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster going into 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 Colin Rea, Jhonny Pereda, Oscar de la Cruz, and Trevor Clifton (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). 
NOTE: Prior to 2019, players who were eligible to be MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agents after the World Series could not be assigned to the AFL unless the player had either been added to an MLB 40-man roster or had agreed to a minor league successor contract, but with the AFL season now starting and ending three weeks earlier than in prior years, the AFL season will end prior to MLB Rule 55 minor league players becoming free-agents, and so players eligible to be MLB Rule 55 minor leaguers five days after the final game of the World Series can play in the AFL even if the player has not signed a minor league successor contract).



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.


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.  

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 
Marcos Encarnacion, RHP (second contract player previously released by CIN - see NOTE-1 below)
Emilio Ferrebus, RHP 
Wladimir Galindo, 3B-1B
Trent Giambrone, IF-OF
Eric Gonzalez, C 
Julio Guante, RHP (second-contract player previously released by DET - see NOTE-1 below)
Fauris Guerrero, RHP 
Luke Hagerty, LHP (Article XX-D & MLB Rule 55 player - signed 2020 minor league successor contract)
Zach Hedges, RHP  
P. J. Higgins, C-INF
Chad Hockin, RHP 
Bryan Hudson, LHP  
Ryan Kellogg, LHP 
Garrett Kelly, RHP (second-contract player previously released by MIN - see NOTE-1 below)
Ryan Lawlor, LHP (second-contract player previously released by ATL - see NOTE-1 below) 
Conor Lillis-White, LHP 
Rafelin Lorenzo, C 
Vimael Machin, INF 
Eddy Julio Martinez, OF 
Marcus Mastrobuoni, C
Ivan Medina, RHP 
Fidel Mejia, INF 
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
Eugenio Palma, LHP  
Tyler Payne, C
Raymond Pena, C 
Tyler Peyton, RHP
Gustavo Polanco, C-1B   
Eury Ramos, RHP 
Ian Rice, C-1B 
Duncan Robinson, RHP 
Abraham Rodriguez, OF-1B  
Manuel Rodriguez, RHP 
Aneuris Rosario, RHP 
Michael Rucker, RHP 
Carlos Sepulveda, INF
Wyatt Short, LHP 
Zack Short, INF  
Jake Stinnett, RHP
Matt Swarmer, RHP 
Alexander Vargas, RHP
Willians Vasquez, RHP (second-contract player previously released by ATL - see NOTE-1 below)
Jerry Vasto, LHP (Article XX-D player)
Omar Ventura, RHP  
D. J. Wilson, OF 
Mark Zagunis, OF (Article XX-D player)
Danny Zardon, RHP (ex-C-IB - second-contract player previously released by PHI - see NOTE-1 below)  
Delvin Zinn, INF 

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), RHP Aneudis Beard (previously released by TEX), RHP Rodrigo Garcia (previously released by NYY), 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, but none of the them are eligible for selection in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft if signed beyond 2019.

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-2019 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.

Jim Adduci, 1B-OF (Article XX-D outrighted player - filed for free-agency on 9/30)


Gioskar Amaya, INF
Yasiel Balaguert, 1B-OF (served as a COACH in 2019) 
Corey Black, RHP
Charcer Burks, OF
Roberto Caro, OF
Erick Castillo, C
Trevor Clifton, RHP
Taylor Davis, C - Article XX-D player
Oscar de la Cruz, RHP - Article XX-D player  
Enrique de los Rios, RHP
Phillip Evans, INF - Article XX-D player 
Johnny Field, OF - Article XX-D player
Chih-Wei Hu, RHP - Article XX-D player
Erick Leal, RHP
Luis Lugo, LHP 
Dixon Machado, INF - Article XX-D player
Jhonny Pereda, C
Chris Pieters, OF-1B (served as a COACH in 2019)
Colin Rea, RHP 
Will Remillard, C (served as a COACH in 2019)
Manuel Rondon, LHP 
Alex Wilson, RHP - Article XIX-A player



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 AAA Phase of the 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" 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).


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

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. 

[ ]

In reply to by bradsbeard

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.

[ ]

In reply to by bradsbeard

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. 

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). 

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.

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

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. 

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).

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

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In reply to by Hagsag

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). 

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.

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

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). 

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. 

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In reply to by The E-Man

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?

[ ]

In reply to by erich081

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. 

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In reply to by First.Pitch.120

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.

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In reply to by JustSayin'

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. 

The Cubs have released LHRP Brian Duensing. 

Duensing was sent outright to AAA Iowa at the end of Spring Training (because he has Article XIX-A rights Duensing had to consent to the assignment), and was placed on the I-Cubs 7-day IL on May 12th.  

So the Cubs are on the hook for Duensing's entire $3.5M salary, unless he signs a major league contract with another club (not too likely).   

The Cubs have released LHRP Ian Clarkin. He was claimed off waivers from the White Sox (twice) last off-season before finally being outrighted to the minors in February. He spent the 2019 season in the AA Tennessee bullpen, and was scheduled to be a minor league 6YFA post-2019, so this means he will get about a five-month head-start on the FA process. 

The guy who needs to be moved-up to AA ASAP is LHRP Ryan Lawlor. I saw him throw in Minor League Camp and his FB was 91-93 (T-94) with a solid breaking ball, and lefty relievers can come out of nowhere. He's 25 years old and really has nothing more to prove at single-A. 

Saw Kimbrel last night. Sat 94 w/FB, first 7 of his 19 pitches were strikes. No Ks, no BBs, 1 ringing double. Needs more seasoning, I‘d say. Sure passes the eye/mound presence test, tho...

CK started tonight to beat the storm & went 2/3, 14 pitches; A hit (HR), a walk and a K...are those the “three true outcomes”? Again sat 94, touched 95...built like a football player.

We're beginning to see some in-season position-player promotions in the Cubs system, with 1B Tyler Durna (a Mark Grace clone) and INF Delvin Zinn (who projects as an MLB utility infielder) moving-up from South Bend to Myrtle Beach. Expect a few of this year's college draft picks to move-up to Eugene from the AZL this week as well. 

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In reply to by Eric S

Tyler Durna and Delvin Zinn are the type of players the Cubs would probably have to give up to get somebody like Neil Walker (from Miami), if the Cubs are looking to improve their bench. Kind of like the Cubs trading INF Andruw Monasterio (very similar player as Zinn) to Washington for Daniel Murphy last August. (Like Zinn, Monasterio projects as an MLB utility infielder).  

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In reply to by Eric S

ERIC S: It would require a better package than what the Cubs gave up to get Jose Quintana from the White Sox in 2017, so Nico Hoerner, Miguel Amaya, and any two pitchers in the Cubs organization (Royals choice) would probably be the best offer the Cubs could make, and even that might not be enough.  

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In reply to by Eric S

It’s not as steep in the general sense. Both cease and Eloy were top 100 prospects I think? And Eloy was I believe number 2 or 3 in all MLB. 

Hoerner and Amaya, while our top 2, are ”only” borderline top 100, which is why Alzolay would almost certainly merit inclusion. He’s MLB ready and has upside The fourth guy would either be a high floor type (college arm in our 10-20 range) or lower in the system but high upside (in other words, a lottery ticket).

While this would really hurt our system, other teams systems could pretty easily outbid that package.

[ ]

In reply to by Eric S

The thing about the Cubs minor league system circa 2019 is that while there are no Gleyber Torres, Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease elite-type prospects, the system has a lot of depth & redundancy, which allowed the Cubs to rather easily acquire Cole Hamels, Daniel Murphy, Jesse Chavez, and Brandon Kintzler last year and Justin Wilson and Alex Avila in 2018. 

So while the Cubs can't offer an MLB Top 10 or even Top 50 prospect in a deal, they can package a couple or even three legit (though not elite) MLB prospects to acquire players who will be free-agents post-2019 (like Neil Walker, Melky Cabrera, Jake Diekman, or Tony Watson) or maybe have control for an additional season beyond 2019 (like Jonathan Villar). 

The Orioles in particular look like an obvious trade partner for the Cubs (if the Cubs see somebody they like in Baltimore) because the Orioles are already way out of contention and former Cubs Player Develoment Director and MLB Bench Coach Brandon Hyde, former Cubs Minor League Field Coordinator (and Catching Coordinator) Tim Cossins, and former Cubs Minor League Infield Coordinator Jose Flores are on the Orioles MLB staff, and I'm not sure that there are very many in the Cubs organization right now who know as much about the Cubs minor league system as Hyde, Cossins, and Flores.  

A player the Cubs might look to acquire (and it would cost at least as much as Whit Merrifield would cost) is Orioles OF Trey Mancini (plus maybe Jonathan Villar as well). The package going to Baltimore would almost certainly have to include Hoerner and M. Amaya, but the Cubs can add additional legit (though not elite) prospects as well and still have more similar-type prospects left over just because of their overall organizational depth/redundancy. 

Keep in mind that while Hoerner, M. Amaya, and Alzolay are probably the Cubs Top 3 prospects, all three are only borderline Top 100 prospects in MLB. We're not talking Gleyber Torres, Eloy Jimenez, and Dylan Cease-type prospects here. 

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

Looking at Villar’s 2018 stats ... switch hitter who bats better as a lefty (360 OBP) vs righty (265 OBP). 16 stolen bases (6 CS).  Haven’t checked defensive stats but presumably better glove than Bote at 2nd?  Villar could assume lead off role against righty pitchers (gets on base better than Schwarber, less station to station and is an actual base stealing threat)

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In reply to by Eric S

ERIC S: Villar is faster (he's one of the fastest players in MLB) and has more range than Bote at 2B but Bote has a stronger arm. Villar can play SS as well as 2B (but he's MUCH better at 2B), so he is a 2B who can also play SS while Bote is a 2B who can also play 3B. 

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In reply to by Eric S

ERIC: Right. If Villar were to be acquired by the Cubs this month, Russell can be optioned to Iowa until September roster-expansion and then traded or non-tendered post-2019. And if Villar replaces Russell on the 25, the Cubs would still have room for another bench bat (like N. Walker or M. Cabrera, or even both if Descalso is dropped from the 25) since they are presently operating with a three-man bench and a nine-man bullpen (which probably won't last much longer). 

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In reply to by George Altman

On the one hand, I absolutely agree with you.

On the other, that’s kinda how we got into this mess of basically having 8 average to above average MLB position players and like 3 pitchers in Theo era grow from drafted/ international signing to actual MLB innings for Cubs.

Look at the best run orgs. They don’t operate that way. I think the Cubs really, really need to scout their own organization a little better. 

OF Carlos Gonzalez has elected free-agency after being outrighhted to Iowa yesterday (Monday). 

Jesse Hodges was signed by then-Cubs Pacific Rim Scouting Coordinator Steve Wilson as a NDFA in September 2012 after being named MVP and leading Team Canada to the 18U World Cup Championship in South Korea but struggled to make contact and/or find a consistent power stroke in pro ball, Rafael Mejia (2014 IFA - Dominican Republic) could put on quite a show in BP (he won the HR Derby at AZ Instructs post-2016) but he couldn't translate his power to games (plus he was a well below-average defender who was moved from 3B to 1B a couple of years ago to cut-down on his too-frequent errors at the hot corner), Ruben Reyes (one of about two dozen players signed by the Cubs out of Mexico 2015-18) was a plus-defender in the OF with a plus-arm but he couldn't hit a lick and so he was converted to a LHP last summer in the AZL, and Dalton Hurd (Cubs 25th round draft pick - Seattle University) was a glove-first athletic corner OF who (like Reyes) just could not hit in pro ball. 

The Cubs have released INF Cristhian Adames and OF Jose Cardona (6YFA signed by the Cubs last off-season). They were on Rehab Assignments in the AZL. 

It was interesting that the Cubs would opt to release AAA Iowa CF Jacob Hannemann at this time.

A 2017 Rawlings AAA Gold Glove winner, Hannemann was one of the in-house candidates (Wynton Bernard and Roberto Caro are the other two) to get a September call-up for the very specialized "5th OF / PR" gig (the job Terrence Gore did last year), plus Hannemann is in the mdidle of a hot streak at the plate (hitting 320/363/360 over his last nine games).  

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

The Cubs usually just place #3 catcher Erick Castillo on the 7-day "phantom" IL when they need a roster slot at Iowa. Obviously they didn't do that this time. 

BTW, somebody asked me recently how a club can place a player on the "phantom" IL in the minor leagues but not in MLB. That's because a physician must certify an injury before a player can be placed on an MLB IL, but a physician's certification is not required before placing a player on a minor league IL.

The only thing is, the club still must give a reason when placing a player on a minor league IL ("arm fatigue" is a good one for pitchers and "calf strain" or "back tightness" is typical for position players), and the player must go along with the phantom IL assignment in order for it to happen. That's why it usually involves pitchers or position players who are borderline release candidates and/or guys who have an interest in becoming a coach with the organzation, and it's also sometimes why you see players who are tired of being moved back & forth from the active list to the IL just to help out the organization with a roster jam get released. 

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

Also, the move seemingly leaves the Cubs very thin in MLB-ready CF depth. If Almora were to get injured, there would be zero true CF in the organization with MLB experience. I don't love the idea of trying to play a postseason with Heyward as the only real OF on the roster. 

One thing the Cubs will need to do is make sure that post-7/31 trade deadline every position in the Iowa lineup and on the bench and every slot in the I-Cubs starting rotation and bullpen are filled by players who are MLB-ready, because the Cubs will not be able to make a waiver trade for an MLB player in August as in years past. 

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

I’ve been thinking about this with regard to guys like Dixon Machado and Phillip Evans. The Cubs aren’t going to want to give those guys a chance in the majors before September because they are out of options and because they are needed as insurance after the trade deadline (or possible trade chips if the Cubs fall out of it). Just seems like the new deadline rules have made it harder for fringe MLB guys on minor league deals to get another crack at the majors. 

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

That was an assumption on my part about Evans. Should have checked! But regardless, the point stands about Machado. Adames was in the same boat but at least the Cubs gave him his release so he could look for another opportunity. Even with options remaining Evans might be more valuable to the Cubs off the 40 man in the odd chance that another team becomes desparate for a replacement in August. Colin Rea is another guy like that (even though he has options). 

Why hasn't Zagunis replaced Descalso on the roster yet? Heyward and Almora are currently the only natural outfielders on the roster. And Descalso sucks too.

Also any news on Cedeno? Haven't found any. Hasn't pitched since 6/20 and 30 days are up on the rehab assignment on Tuesday.

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In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

DJL: With approval of the MLB Commissioner, if a player incurs a new (different) injury or illness or suffers a recurrence of the previous injury or illness while on a Minor League Rehabilitation Assignment, the player must be recalled from his Rehab Assignment and remain inactive for at least five days (for position players) or seven days (for pitchers) before starting another Minor League Rehab Assignment. 

They don't usually update it when that happens, but you can tell when it does because the player is inactive for a number of days and is not reinstated from the IL (as has been the case with Cedeno since his last minor league rehab appearance on 6/20).  

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

LHRP Xavier Cedeno has started a new (fresh) Article XIX-C Minor League Rehab assignment, this time with AZL Cubs #2. Because he was inactive for at least seven days after the previous Rehab Assignment at AA Tennessee was halted, there is a reset, and so he could spend up to 30 days on the new assignment.  

No roster move tonight. :(

Zagunis for Descalso, come on already, make it happen!!!!!!

The Cubs have signed 20-year old second-contract FA RHRP Rodrigo Garcia (ex-NYY) to a minor league contract. He was the closer for the DSL Yankees in 2017 but hasn't pitched for a couple of years.  

HAGSAG: Nelson Velazquez has been in Mesa for a while but I don't know the nature of his injury. Hopefully he will begin an AZL rehab assignment soon and then get back to South Bend.   

[ ]

In reply to by seamer

seamer: With Jacob Hannemann and Wynton Bernard having been released, Roberto Caro and Zach Davis (both now at AA after Z. Davis got promoted from Myrtle Beach yesterday) are really the only two in-house September "5th OF / PR" candidates.

Both Caro and Z. Davis are fast and steal a lot of bases, although Caro is a much better defensive OF than Z. Davis (Caro can play all three OF positions while Z. Davis is limited to LF-CF because of a below-average arm). Caro could conceivably have an MLB career as a 4th or 5th OF, especially starting next season when MLB active rosters will be expanded from 25 to 26 and the 26th man cannot be a pitcher.   

If either were to be added to the 40 in September, it's very unlikely he would survive the off-season on the 40. The Cubs just have too many Rule 5 Draft-eligible players they will have to protect. So a September call-up for either of them would be like the Cubs adding Terrence Gore or Quintin Berry in previous seasons. Strictly a seasonal temp job.  

Cubs 2019 first round pick RHP Ryan Jensen scheduled to make his first minor league start tonight for the Eugene Emeralds

AZ Phil,

What can you tell us about Alexander Guerra and his performance as of late?  2 - 3HR games in two weeks, 1.200 Slg %.  Does he have any kind of value as a prospect?

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In reply to by videographer

videographer: Alexander Guerra is 22 years old and is repeating AZL.

He played in Serie Nacional (the Cuban major league) prior to signing with the Cubs in 2017 and it was presumed (at the time he signed) that he would almost certainly be at South Bend in 2018, but he reported to Mesa out of shape (weighing 250+) and was left behind at Extended Spring Training and then was assigned to the AZL.

Exact same thing happened this year. 

As I've mentioned here before, Guerra has plus-HR power with an uppercut swing but he swings & misses a lot, and while he is a polished receiver, he has just an OK arm (nothing special) and he is not very athletic behind the plate.

Hopefully he can (finally) get to South Bend in 2020.   

Phil can you give me a scouting report on Pedro Martinez? It seems the Cubs are loaded with young MI'ers.

[ ]

In reply to by Hagsag

HAGSAG: Pedro Martinez is a bat-first switch-hitting infielder capable of playing 2B-3B-SS (best position is 2B). He runs well and is a savvy baserunner, shows occasional HR power, and is at least as good a hitter as Reivaj Garcia (probably even better). 

Cubs minor league LHP Ryan Kellogg (Myrtle Beach) will be pitching for Team Canada in Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru (which begin tomorrow). 

PHIL: What was your recent feelings on Thomas Hatch. He was a top draft choice for TheoJed.

E-MAN: Hatch was the first pick for the Cubs but only the 3rd round pick in 2016 because the Cubs didn't have a 1st or 2nd round pick that year.

He is Rule 5 Draft eligible for the first time post-2019, and I had his chances to get added to the 40 only 25/75 (in other words, an outside possibility but not likely).  

I would say he was at the top of the next tier (second tier) of Cubs SP prospects behind the Top 10 (Marquez, Alzolay, R. Thompson, Richan, Jensen, Franklin, Abbott, Steele, Little, and Gallardo), so in other words, at the top of a second group of 10 (Hatch, Lange, Swarmer, Clifton, Assad, Uelmen, Sanders, Patterson, Y. Cruz, Estrada, and Y. Perez). 

LHRP Tim Collins has elected free-agency. He was outrighted to AAA Iowa on Saturday after being Designated for Assignment on Friday. 

PHIL: I noticed Sierra and Ademan, though part of the same IFA class, aren't listed as Rule 5 eligible while Amaya is. Sierra and Ademan were signed August 23rd, 2015 while Amaya signed July 17th of that year. Does that have something to do with it? How does that work? 


K-DUB: The Cubs officially signed SS Aramis Ademan, INF Luis Diaz, CF Jose Gutierrez, LHP Brailyn Marquez, RHP Hector Matos, INF Christopher Morel, C Henderson Perez, RHP Yunior Perez, INF Yonathan Perlaza, and RF Jonathan Sierra (part of one of the best Cubs IFA classes ever) on the day after the conclusion of the 2015 DSL regular season, and because they were assigned to the DSL Cubs Future Services List, it pushed their Rule 5 Draft eligibility back a year. That's because if a player officially signs after the conclusion of the regular season of the affiliate to which he is first assigned, his first season (for Rule 5 Draft eligibility purposes) is the following season. 

In the case of C Miguel Amaya, the Cubs signed him in July 2015 because he was not willing to wait until after the conclusion of the 2015 DSL regular season to sign. Same goes for the Mexican players signed by the Cubs that summer (most notably RHP Jose Albertos, RHP Javier Assad, and LHP Faustino Carrera). 

I actually talked to a Cubs scout about this, and they would not have been able to delay the signings of Ademan, Sierra, Marquez, et al, if the players weren't willing to wait. 

BTW, the Cubs did the same thing in 2016 with OF Carmelo Alfonzo (has since been released), RHP Keiber Arredondo, LHP Jonathan Bruzual (has since been released), RHP Kleiber Carreno, RHP Yovanny Cruz, RHP Jose Gomez, INF Oswaldo Pina, and OF Ricardo Verenzuela, thus delaying their Rule 5 Draft eligibility by a year (they won't be eligible until 2021, even though they signed in August 2016).  

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In reply to by Eric S

it is amazing how quickly he adapts to cover for his over-aggressive or just plain boneheaded stuff.

it's a great skill to know you're in danger and know you should do something about it to tilt things to your advantage.

plus, it's fun to watch when it works and done by someone with a good success rate making it work.

Cubs minor league LHSP Riger Fernandez (AZL Cubs #2 - 2014 IFA - Venezuela) has retired. 

Cubs have signed veteran RHRP Alex Wilson (outrighted to AAA by MIL on 5/1 and released by the Brewers two days ago) to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa.  

If Wilson pitches well at Iowa and is added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster in Septermber, he is under club control through the 2020 season (he would be eligible for salary arbitration post-2019 if he is added to the 40 and tendered a 2020 MLB contract).  

He had some decent years as a middle reliever with BOS (2013-14) and DET (2015-18), but was non-tendered by the Tigers post-2018.

He signed with CLE after being non-tendered but was released by the Indians at the end of Spring Training, and then he signed with the Brewers. 

Now 32, Wilson was drafted by the Cubs back in 2008 (10th round out of Texas A&M) but did not sign. 

AZPHIL, do the Mets inherit the 2020 options in Brad Brach’s contract? Or does that get torn up since he was released? Thanks!

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In reply to by jdrnym

Not Phil, but has this to say about your question: "The deal also contains a dual option for 2020 — the Mets can either pay Brach $5MM or buy him out for $100K.  If the latter option occurs, Brach can enact a player option worth $1.35MM." (But I'd trust Phil more!)

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In reply to by QuietMan

Part of releasing Brach now means the Cubs are on the hook for the balance of his contract minus the pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum salary after he signed with the Mets. However, it is possible that the Mets and Brach may have negotiated a contract with a mutual option for 2020 like the contract Brach signed with the Cubs prior to the 2019 season (so that the Mets could potentially keep him under club control beyond 2019). 

The only way the Mets would "inherit" the contract is if they had claimed Brach off waivers (in which case the Cubs would not be on the hook for the post-2019 buy-out or the 2020 option), but the Mets apparently waited until Brach cleared Outright Release Waivers before signing him (which is S. O. P.), so they will only be paying him the pro-rated MLB minimum salary for the balance of 2019 (the exact same pro-rated 2019 MLB minimum salary the Cubs are paying Jonathan Lucroy, which is why I said the Brach-for-Lucroy payroll exchange was essentially a de facto "trade").  

What happens in the case of a player released in the midst of a multi-year contract is that the orginial club is on the hook for what remains of the contract minus the MLB minimum salary if the player signs with another club for any or all of the years covered by the original contract. For example, the San Francisco Giants have been paying Pablo Sandoval the MLB minimum salary ever since they signed him in August 2017 after he was released by the Boston Red Sox, with the Red Sox paying the balance of Sandoval's $18M per year salary through 2019. (The Red Sox are also on the hook for the $5M club option buy-out for 2020). 

How that applies to Brach is that when the Cubs released Brach they automatically declined the 2020 $5M club option and so they will have to pay the $100K buy-out, and then Brach can exercise or decline the 2020 $1.35M player option. If he exercises it he gets $1.35M from the Cubs (offset by the MLB minimum salary if he signs a 2020 MLB contract with another club). If he declines the $1.35M player option, the Cubs are only on the hook for the 2020 $100K club option buy-out.   

If the contract Brach signed with the Mets is only for 2019 and if he pitches well over the course of the last couple of months of the 2019 season, he may believe that he can get more than $1.35M in 2020 and thus he might choose to decline the player option and try his luck in the free-agent market (which would take the Cubs off the hook for his $1.35M 2020 player option, but not the $100K buy-out). In fact, Brach might have declined the 2020 player option even if he had remained with the Cubs, figuring he could do at least that well ($1.35M) as a 2020 FA. 

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In reply to by jdrnym

jdmym: If a released player signs a minor league contract his salary-offset is the minor league minimum salary for that level, and then if the player's contract is subsequently selected and he is added to the MLB 40-man roster his salary-offset becomes the MLB minimum salary starting on the day he is added to the 40. 

The Cubs have signed RHP Chih-Wei Hu (ex-TB) to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa. Hu was traded by TB to CLE last November and was sent outright to the minors by the Indians about a month ago before being released on July 30. 

Hi all!

Just wanted to mention that a former TCR'er is coaching a little league team with his son that is 2 wins from making the Little League World Series. They play today at 4pm CST on ESPN in an elimination game. And yes....the Illinois team.

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In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

DJL: Right now Hultzen is throwing one inning every three or four days (which is what he was doing at Extended Spring Training) and he is virtually unhittable when he does pitch, and while it's not really feasible for an MLB club to carry a one-inning bullpen arm who isn't available on consecutive days, there could be a role for him in September when active list rosters expand from 25 to 40, presuming the Cubs can find a slot on the 40.  

Cubs 2020 schedule has 4 games in PIT followed by a 3 game weekend series against the Cards, and off day, 2 in Baltimore, and 4 in Washington. That travel doesn't make sense with the 3 home games in between all those east coast games.

May 3 city road trip starting in San Diego followed by Pitsburgh, and Milauwkee is even worse from a travel standpoint, especially when they're in Arizona and LA the week before.

Also strange that the Cubs will have played the Pirates 13 times (7 of 1st 12 games), Brewers 9, and Cards 3 before a single game against the Reds (first game is 5/29). All games against the Rockies in September as welll.

2 off days in the final week of the season is nice given the lack of off days late in the season recently.

Cool that the Red Sox will be at Wrigley and have the Cubs been to new Yankee Stadium before? Dodgers at Wrigley on my birthday too.

RHRP Marcos Encarnacion (DSL Cubs #2 closer) busted for PED (the ever-popular stanozolol), gets 72-game suspension that will carry through the 2020 season (he will be 25 in November 2020). Encarnacion formerly pitched in the Reds organization and was signed as a 23-year old second-contract FA by the Cubs in June. 

South Bend RHRP Sean Barry (Cubs 21 round draft pick - U. of San Diego) has retired. 

Eugene RHP John Pomeroy (signed by Cubs as a second-contract FA in April after being released by PIT) has retired. 

C-1B Taylor Davis has cleared waivers and was sent outright to AAA Iowa, and he will be a minor league 6YFA after the World Series unless he signs a 2020 minor league successor contract.

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

Taylor Davis could be added back to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster and be a post-season injury replacement (replacing Cedeno, Graveman, Morrow, or Webster on the Cubs Post-Season Eligibility List) if necessary, although if he is added back to the 40 during the post-season another player would have to be DFA'd (players cannot be placed directly onto or transferred to the 60-day IL after the conclusion of the MLB regular season). 

Maples shit the bed in Game 1 of the PCL playoffs, giving up 3 in the B11th to blow an easy save. He fanned the side to save the G4 win. Those 2 back-to-back outings are DM in a nutshell. Not hurt that I'm aware of...

All Cubs players still on Optional Assignment to the minors must be recalled tomorrow (Monday), and Cubs minor league 1B-OF Jim Adduci can file for free-agency under Article XX-D beginning tomorrow and extending through October 15th (he was outrighted to the minors in June and because he had been outrighted previously in his career he had the right to elect free-agency immediately and forfeit the balance of his salary or accept the outright assignment and defer free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season). 

If Adduci does not file for free-agency under Article XX-D by the 10/15 deadline he will automatically be declared a Rule 55 minor league 6YFA at 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series, but Article XX-D minor leaguers who accept an outright assignment to the minors and defer free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season almost always file ASAP because that way they get about a month head-start over the 500 or so minor leaguers who will be declared Rule 55 minor league FA after the World Series.  

BTW, Article XX-D minor league free-agency is the only type of free-agency that still requires the player to file. Article XX-B MLB free-agency is automatic on the day after the final game of the World Series and MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agency is automatic at 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series. 

The Cubs will have the #16 MLB waiver claim priority through the 30th day of the 2020 MLB regular season, the #16 pick in the December 2019 MLB Rule 5 Draft, and the #16 slot in each round of the 2020 MLB Rule 4 Draft (First-Year Player Draft). 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Keep in mind that the new waiver claim rule requires that a club that claims a player off waivers during the period of time beginning on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season and extending up until the first day of Spring Training must keep the player on its MLB 40-man roster for at least seven days before the player can be placed back onto waivers.

Also (and this is not a new rule), if a player is claimed off waivers and the claiming club's MLB 40-man roster is full, the player claimed off waivers cannot be Designated for Assignment to keep the roster at 40. The claimed player must be immediately added to the claiming club's 40-man roster and a different player must be immediately Designated for Assignment to make room on the 40 for the claimed player.  

In addition (and this is also not a new rule), a club cannot claim a player off waivers and then trade the player to another club with a lower (worse) waiver claim priority if one or more clubs with a waiver claim priority between those two clubs also claimed the player.

So claiming a player off waivers is different than selecting a player in the Rule 5 Draft, because a club can always select a player in the Rule 5 Draft and then immediately trade the player to a club with a lower (worse) Rule 5 Draft slot. That's because there is no way to prove if any club between those two clubs would have selected the player if he had been available. And that's why a Rule 5 Draft selection is absolutely - NOT - in any way, shape, or form, a "waiver claim" (as Rule 5 Draft selections are erroneously listed on the transaction page at 

The Cubs will likely add anywhere between three and six minor league players to their MLB 40-man roster post-2019:

Miguel Amaya, C (Rule 5 Draft-eligible)

P. J. Higgins, C-INF (Rule 5 Draft-eligible)
Colin Rea, RHSP (minor league FA) 

50/50 ON THE BUBBLE (likely to be added if Cubs add more than three): 
Tyson Miller, RHSP (Rule 5 Draft-eligible)

OUTSIDE SHOT (but only if Cubs add more than four): 
Trent Giambrone, INF-OF (Rule 5 Draft-eligible)
Jhonny Pereda, C (minor league FA) 
Zack Short, SS (Rule 5 Draft-eligible - playing in AFL) 
Jordan Minch, LHRP (Rule 5 Draft-eligible - pitching in AFL) 
Oscar de la Cruz, RHRP (minor league FA) 
Trevor Clifton, RHSP (minor league FA) 
Matt Swarmer, RHSP (Rule 5 Draft-eligible)
Dakota Mekkes, RHRP (Rule 5 Draft eligible)
NOTE: O. de la Cruz and/or Clifton would not be even outside-shot candidates to get added to the 40 post-2019 if the player signs a 2020 minor league successor contract prior to becoming a minor league 6YFA .

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

AZ Phil, what do you think the Cubs will do with Oscar de la Cruz if they don’t add him back to the 40 man? Can they try to re-sign him but wait until after the Rule 5 to make it official? Do you think they will try to keep him in the organization in some fashion? 

[ ]

In reply to by bradsbeard

BRADSBEARD: I think the Cubs want to retain Oscar de la Cruz post-2019, just not on the MLB 40-man roster.

So the Cubs will (or probably more likely already have) offer ODLC a 2020 minor league successor contract. (A player eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league second-contract or 6YFA can sign a minor league successor contract starting on the day after the conclusion of his minor league club's season - which includes the post-season if his club makes the playoffs-- up until 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the conclusion of the World Series, and the negotiations sometimes will extend right up to the deadline).

The bottom line is, once offered a minor league successor contract, the player does not have to sign it. 

So a successor contract is essentially a contract extension offer (with a maximum 20% allowable pay cut from what the player was paid the previous season) where the player gives up his right to be a minor league FA (in advance) in exchange for signing a minor league contract for the next season. And in order to entice a player to do that, the club usually has to offer the player more money than the player (and his agent) would expect to get if the player were to decline the successor contract and become a minor league FA instead.  

So it gets kind of tricky... Just how much is enough to get the player to "re-up" (as it were) for the next season instead of becoming a free-agent and maybe getting more money on the open market? 

One way to do it is just by offering the player more money than he got the previous season (or in the case of a player rehabbing from a major injury, just the same salary is usually OK). While most all players eligible to be a minor league FA receive a successor contract offer, for a minor leaguer without ODLC's upside the successor contract "best offer" might be only $20,000, or $25,000, or $40,000, or $50,000, depending on the player.   

But in the case of Oscar de la Cruz, the Cubs would probably have to offer him more money than he would have received if he was still on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster. Since de la Cruz's 2020 minor league split salary if he was still on the 40 would be just a bit over $90,000, offering him $100K (plus an NRI to MLB Spring Training) might be enough to tempt him to sign a 2020 successor contract and not test the free-agent market.

Or it might not. 

If de la Cruz declines to sign a successor contract, then the only way the Cubs can be sure to retain him is by adding him back to the 40 before he is automatically declared a Rule 55 minor league 6YFA at 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the fnal game of the World Series. 

Once de la Cruz is declared a 6YFA he could still re-sign with the Cubs, but he will absolutely - NOT - get what he was offered by the Cubs if he had agreed to sign a successor contract prior to becoming a free-agent. That's because if a club offers a player as much (or more) after he becomes a FA as what he was offered when he was offered a successor contract no player would ever sign a successor contract. So practically speaking, the successor contract offer has to be the club's best offer. The offer will only go down (sometimes considerably) once the player becomes a free-agent.  

As far as the Rule 5 Draft is concerned, a minor league successor contract must be filed prior to 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series, so it can't be delayed until after the Rule 5 Draft. The filing of a minor league free-agent contract can be delayed until after the Rule 5 Draft, but even if it hasn't been officially filed with MLB, is it must reported to MLB as a "pending contract" and the player is eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft. 

The only way a player can sign a minor league contract and not be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft is if the player actually and literally waits to sign until after the Rule 5 Draft. But in the meantime the player could sign with another club. Sometimes (occasionally) a player and a club will have a verbal "gentleman's agreement" in place where the player waits until after the Rule 5 Draft to sign, but that's usually players on the 40 who are non-tendered on 12/2 and then wait until after the Rule 5 Draft (which is maybe only ten days after the player is non-tendered) to sign. 

In the case of Oscar de la Cruz, the fact that he wasn't claimed off waivers when he was outrighted to the minors in July is a pretty good indicator that he probably won't be selected in the Rule 5 Draft, because if ODLC is attractive enough to get taken in the Rule 5 Draft for $100,000 with roster restrictions, he would have likely been claimed off waivers for $50,000 with no roster restrictions (de la Cruz has two minor league options left because he gets a 4th minor league option in 2021). 

So the Cubs can probably feel fairly safe about getting de la Cruz through the 2019 Rule 5 Draft without being selected, but that's only if they can convince him to sign a 2020 minor league successor contract. If he declines, the Cubs might feel compelled to add him back the 40 just to keep him from walking away as a minor league 6YFA. 

LHRP Jordan Minch has been very impressive (so far) in the AFL, throwing strikes (that's something new) and showcasing a 92-94 T-95-96 FB and a slider.

If he can keep it up over the entire six weeks of AFL play he could possibly get added to the 40. Just an outside shot (at best) right now to be sure, but it's a possibility, and because he's active pitching in AFL games his 40-man roster value can be upgraded by game performance (which is not the case for a lot of the other Cubs 40-man roster long-shots).

Continuing to throw well in the AFL can also make Minch more attractive to other clubs as a potential Rule 5 Draft pick if the Cubs don't add him to the 40.  

Does anyone have insight into the new management hires and musical chairs the Cubs announced yesterday?  Craig Breslow might be the only guy out there with extensive MLB experience AND the grey matter to challenge any quant not making sense. His role intrigues me but are they going to give him real responsibility to clear out the deadwood (including the existing minor league coordinator who was never good enough to be the pitchers he's coaching?)  Or, is this a superficial change aimed at keeping ownership off Theo's back? 

[ ]

In reply to by JustSayin'

I hope Sagara doesn’t end up leaving because of the shakeup. The Athletic did report that his position might be eliminated but that he should be offered another role in the organization somewhere. All I know is Sagara’s name came up frequently in connection with the pitch lab, and he was credited for improvements with Ryan, Wick, and Wieck. Maybe he’ll end up focusing more specifically in that role helping guys tweak things in the lab. 

AZ Phil, what are your thoughts on the discussion to eliminate 42 low minor league teams in 2021? What would this do to the Dominican League? Thanks.

[ ]

In reply to by Hagsag

The discussions on this matter have been quite varried.  There seems to be a lot of pressure connected to this on minor league team owners who haven't upgraded their facilities/park in a while or who lag in quality compared to their competitors.

It seems like this would not only cause some teams to fold, but some radical redistribution of existing teams/cities into new minor league levels rather than just pruning some teams over others.

This is a rather heavy push to eliminate a chunk of leverage minor league owners have in contract negociations with MLB teams.  Dunno how this will all work out.

Also, I don't think any of this would effect the more team-controlled Dominican leagues.  A/A-/Rk would most likely have the strongest impact.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

I can’t help but wonder if someone used Crunch’s account for just this one post or maybe Crunch copied and pasted it! It has nothing to do with the content. I just can’t remember Crunch using the shift key to uppercase the beginning of any sentence he’s posted in the past. 

Curiouser and curiouser. 

[ ]

In reply to by WebAdmin

i've been doing a lot of writing from home for work stuff lately and i have to actually look like i'm trying to make sense...i guess i was still living in that world when i wrote that.  btw, if you'd like to know why i have stong opinions on why argentine bahiagrass should be artificially germinated at 20-35C rather than 30-35C, man do i got some good reading for you.

if you check posts more recent by me there's the usual stupidity and lack of capital letters.  heh.

that said, the stuff i brought up has a bit to do with this pressure from up top by MLB owners is strongly suspected to be a way to force some minor league cities to upgrade their facilities/park or face a loss of a team in their city.  the whole "let's get rid of some minor league teams" thing has been one of the more dramatic things going on in the business side of baseball lately.

HAGSAG: Besides reducing the costs that are associated with operating a minor league club, reducing the number of minor league affiliates would allow MLB organizations to increase the salaries of their remainng minor league players (who would be the organization's most-legit prospects) without having to increase the organization's aggregate minor league payroll. 

The reason MLB clubs want to eliminate the advanced Rookie level (Eugene for the Cubs) and cut-back Rookie level complex teams to one per MLB organization (which would leave AZL Cubs #1 as the Cubs one and only short-season team) is part of the general plan to cut the number of rounds in the June draft to 20 or 25 and thus have fewer players entering an organization mid-season.

Also, the Northwest League (Eugene, Boise, Tri-Cities, etc) would become a full-season Lo-A league to be used by the eight western-most MLB clubs (AZ, COL, LAA, LAD, OAK, SD, SF, and SEA) so that they do not have to operate their Lo-A affiliate in the faraway Midwest League or South Atlantic League (which would also result in the weakest franchies in the MWL and SAL being eliminated). Also, the strongest franchises in the NY-P league (the eastern version of the NWL) would probably be added to the SAL or MWL as a further attempt to prune the weakest franchises out of affiliated ball. Presumably most all of the clubs in the Pioneer League and Appalachian League would be eliminated, with only the strongest franchises added to one of the Lo-A leagues.  

The presumption is that most players who are selected in the first 20 or 25 rounds of the June draft are college players or advanced high school players and (barring injury) a college player (especially) should be ready for Lo-A after just one half-season in pro ball (plus post-season Instructs), and the ones who aren't ready for Lo-A would be left behind at Extended Spring Training (which would probably be operated for the entire season rather just until mid-June). 

Having just one rookie league affiliate (based in a club's Spring Training complex in Arizona or Florida) probably would affect the DSL just because one team in the short-season AZL (for example) provides only 35 roster slots (combined) for draft picks and DSL graduates, and most of the DSL players who have graduated to the two Cubs AZL teams are moved-up more because of their age than because they are unusually talented. But if Extended Spring Training were to operate for the entire season (not just until mid-june), DSL players could go to EXST for an entire season and receive daily instruction and play games there instead of in the DSL or AZL.   

Both the Yankees and Astros have already eliminated one of their two DSL affilliates because the cost of the additional 35 Latin players needed to staff a second DSL team could not be justified, and I suspect other organizations who operate two DSL teams will do the same over the next year or two.

It's not really that hard to look at the Cubs minor league system and identify 100 players who could get released, thereby assigning only the very best of the Latin prospects to the single DSL team (or to a full-season of Extended Spring Training for players who are too advanced for the DSL but not ready for the AZL). 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

 That's a fair description of the benefits of the plan but If I have to choose between "better way" and "owners' greed," I pick the latter.  MLB wants better MiLB facilities, on average, without paying a cent.  They want to deal with the social and legal pressure they are getting for not even paying minor league players minimum wage per real hour worked by having less players.  In addition, the draft is to be moved to late August, so every draftee would lose compensation for the stub year in which they are drafted.  For this reason, I'm not sure your point about college and advanced HS players going to A ball with 1/2 year of pro experience is correct.  I've read elsewhere that many will go in COLD.  A South Bend fan could be looking at some players who played their immediately previous game in last year's NCAA tournament or some HS summer league. Then, we have the nebulous "Dream" league, for guys who would have been drafted in rounds which no longer exist.  To get into pro ball that way, you either finish college, JC or HS, chill all summer, then decide to take a shot at pro ball NEXT YEAR if the draft didn't work out.  I guess if you're a good college Junior, you play on the Cape an extra year, plan to go back to school, then forefeit your deposit at the last moment if you get drafted with a high signing bonus.  Presumably, the dream league signees get no bonus and low pay.  Is the real purpose of such a league better player development, placating the 40+ small cities that will no longer have a system team, or driving the Frontier League out of business?  The second and third choices seem more likely to me than the first.

Minor league baseball was charming and romantic in the days when big leaguers also lived hard lives with low pay.  With the reserve clause long gone and everyone in the majors making good or excellent money, the minors looks like indentured servitute.  If you want to see a truly better system, look to NHL and affiliated hockey, where the players union represents ALL players.  While guys are pursuing their dreams in the AHL or the like, they at least have the lifestyle of a working class or aspiring middle class person.

[ ]

In reply to by JustSayin'

JUST SAYIN: MLB is the only one of the four major North American professional sports that holds its draft and signs its draft picks during the season.

This creates a problem in terms integrating draft picks into professional baseball "on the fly" (as it were), because it isn't just a matter of the draft picks learning the professional way (or in the case of the Cubs, the "Cubs Way"), but draft picks (especially pitchers) arrive in varying states of readiness to play in games. Some pitchers have thrown too many innings, while others haven't pitched for two or three months. Some need to have their mechanics tweaked or learn a new grip in the Pitching Lab. 

From the POV of MLB Player Development people, I think they would prefer that players do not play at all the year they are drafted, which means a later draft date (maybe July instead of June) and then going back to the old August 15th signing deadline would be fine with them. (Of course college baseball coaches would probably go apoplectic with a return to the 8/15 signing deadline!)

If that were to happen and if minor league levels are eliminated, this how it might work for the Cubs: 

1. 25 round draft held over three days immediately after the All-Star break
2. Signing deadline August 15th 
3. Cubs Way orientation at UAPC in Mesa over the last two weeks of September
4. Eight-week Strength & Conditioning Program at UAPC in Mesa October-Thanksgiving 
5. OFF - Thanksgiving through New Year's Day 
6. Six week Winter Instructs (mainly for draft picks and advanced DSL players) January to mid-February 
7. Two week Minor League pre-season mini-camp (invitation only) mid-February to March 
8. Minor League Camp (traditional Spring Training) in March 

BTW, #4 - #8 is what the Cubs are already doing right now. 

Then the draft picks who have yet to make their "official" debut, players who spent the previous season in the AZL, and advanced DSL players would be evaluated at the end of Minor League Camp and then either assigned to South Bend or left behind at Extended Spring Training for further metriculation, and then the EXST players would be assigned to AZL Cubs in mid-June (although some might get promoted to South Bend during the course of EXST). 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

One other thing about MLB player development that is very different from NFL, NBA, and NHL player development is that most MLB clubs have upwards of 300 minor league players under contract (not including players on their MLB 40-man roster, the Cubs presently have 301 minor leaguers under contract on nine minor league affiliates).

So I doubt that MLB owners believe that it's cost-effective (in terms of ultimate outcome) for MLB clubs to pay 300 minor leaguers the same wages the NHL teams pay their minor leaguers. Or the only way to do it (or come close) would be to cut-back the number of MLB minor leaguers who are under contract from 300 on nine minor league affiliates to maybe 200 on six minor league affiliates, and even then, cutting-back to 200 minor league players under club control (assigned to six minor league affiliates that reflect various levels of experience) would still be a lot more than NHL teams have under control (including players assigned to the AHL and to CHL junior leagues). 

The MLB player development system (numerous professional minor league affiliates operated by each MLB club) is really unique to professional sports. There is nothing else like it. With the exception of NFL "practice squads" and the NBA "G" League and Summer League, the NFL and NBA rely mostly on college football programs (NFL) and college basketball programs and European professional leagues (NBA) to develop their players, and most of the players drafted by NFL or NBA teams are NFL or NBA ready (or near-ready). But baseball player development just doesn't work like that. It usually takes years to develop a baseball player into a major leaguer (most players advance one level per season, and each of the five or six or even seven different levels need to be mastered before the player is promoted), and even then only about 5% (one in 20) of the players who were playing in the lower minors in 2019 will ever make it to an MLB 40-man roster.  

"MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports former player David Ross and Astros bench coach Joe Espada "appear to be the frontrunners" for the Cubs' managerial opening."

espada's had 2 interviews.  for a guy who's actively at his "other job," having a 2nd interview seems like both sides want to make this work.  SF and PIT are also supposedly interested in espada.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

This is really sad. A fatal pulmonary embolism is quite rare, older data had about 0.019% incidence (range 0-0.6%, for total knees). DVT without prophylaxis is higher and most people are getting prophylaxis (blood thinners) postop. DVT (leg clots) is a nuisance but not life threatening (unless the clot goes to the lungs). Patients with a history of DVT are at greater risk and there are other risk factors. The incidence of PE is so infrequent it's hard to prove how much prophylactic treatment helps in a single study so combining studies (meta data) is used and this data is harder to prove as treatment factors vary study to study. One of the consequences of pushing toward outpatient knee replacements, since in a hospital setting a "code blue" team is often seconds away. Not true once the patient is home. Nonetheless, shit happens, even in the hospital and people should recognize there is no "routine" surgery.

The Kris Bryant service time grievance is finally being heard by an arbitrator this week according to Kaplan.

[ ]

In reply to by QuietMan

Q-MAN: It actually wouldn't surprise me if Bryant wins the grievance. 

Cubs 2015 Opening Day 3B Mike Olt (who was a very good prospect in his own right at the time) was placed on the Cubs MLB 15-day DL on April 17th with a fractured wrist but the move was made - RETROACTIVE - to April 15th (Olt PH and stayed in the game and went 0-2 -- F-8 & K --  on 4/14 and then did not play on 4/15, and 4/16 was an off day) and then Bryant had his contract selected and was called-up to MLB and replaced Olt on the Cubs MLB 25-man roster the day Olt was placed on the DL (4/17).

So Boras can argue that Bryant could have been called-up on 4/15 (Olt was still on the Cubs 25-man roster but did not play in the game that day) or (especially) on the Thursday off day on 4/16, but because the Cubs waited until 4/17 (Friday) to select his contract and call him up to MLB Bryant was guaranteed to fall at least one day short of accrung a full season of MLB Service Time in 2015, and the Cubs knew that at the time. (I say at least one day short because it was conceivable at the time he was called-up that Bryant could have been optioned back to Iowa when Olt was reinstated from the DL).  

On the other hand, Bryant played for AAA Iowa on both 4/15 and 4/16, so the Cubs could say that they had not made up their minds to place Olt on the DL and call-up Bryant until sometime after the conclusion of the I-Cubs game on Thursday 4/16 (players usually don't play in a minor league game once the decision has been made to call-up the player).    

So as it is, just that one day (Friday 4/17 versus Thursday 4/16) is the difference in Bryant being eligible to be an Article XX-B MLB free-agent post-2020 or post-2021. (It did not affect when he was first eligible for salary arbitration because he qualified for arbitration as a "Super Two" with 2+171 MLB Service Time post-2017).

And Mike Olt never played for the Chicago Cubs again. He was sent on a minor league rehab assignment (first to Tennessee and then to Iowa) beginning on 6/19 and then was optioned to AAA Iowa when his rehab assignment expired in July, and then he was claimed off waivers by the White Sox in September. 

BTW, Mile Olt played (briefly) in the Mexican League in 2019.  

Kaplan also tweets Ross is the new manager and they are working on contract. Tweet reported in mlbtr too.

"Cubs made their decision late yesterday afternoon and the other candidates have been informed they are indeed out. David Ross is the choice."

padres go with jayce tingler (TEX development coordinator) for manager over mark lorretta and others...

the gold glove continues to try to make itself a joke...heyward was nominated for his 105 games in RF (only 63 starting) for some reason.

he didn't even play it well.  heyward played some extremely ordinary/meh outfield this year...and last year...

that said, unless everyone voting is smoking crack this has been cody bellinger's award to win before the nominations were even announced.

[ ]

In reply to by Charlie

almost wish he wasn't nominated so it doesn't start scrutiny of him being a "top 3" RF option for the gold glove...not like it'll hurt his feelings or something...

even with slowed skills i don't worry at all about seeing him in RF or CF.  he's just not been playing GG quality ball for a while.

Recent comments

  • TarzanJoeWallis (view)

    Sorry, that’s what happens when you obtain a rental for a playoff run. Oddly, most teams wouldn’t be willing to give up arguably the best offensive player available at the deadline for nothing. They’re going to want the best players they can get in return. And there will be competition and plenty of solid offers for that player that have to be bettered. That’s baseball.

    Just last week there was talk of obtaining Elias Diaz from the Rockies for a ton of potential major league talent. The chances would be 50-50 at best that we could extend him and this team had and still has less chance at a playoff run than last year’s team when the Candelario trade was made.

    We can’t on the one hand urge the team to use their prospect depth to make judicious trades to improve the team’s chances and then turn around and piss and moan every time one of the traded prospects happens to have a great game. We’re a better fan base than that!

  • azbobbop (view)

    Center fielder always has the right of way 

  • Finwe Noldaran (view)

    Well, maybe I just said that to myself to try and justify the deal............

  • Bill (view)

    Not that I heard of.  He was traded for Candelario because we felt a couple of months of Candelario was more valuable than a future 6 years of herz would be.

  • Finwe Noldaran (view)

    I hear that, I just feel like I remember reading when we traded him that he was going to be Rule 5 eligible, and we needed a roster spot, et cetera, et cetera.......

  • Finwe Noldaran (view)

    Just realized I haven't been B. Davis or Alcantara or Aliendo at all recently?

  • TarzanJoeWallis (view)

    Quite possible. Another one of the promising arms a bit below the untouchable higher tier. Once again, a “Not happy to see him go but a deal had to be done” situation.

  • Finwe Noldaran (view)

    Aha, so the Nationals may have requested him? 

  • TarzanJoeWallis (view)

    Traded him and Kevin Made for the Jeimer Candelario rental last year.

  • Finwe Noldaran (view)

    Didn't we trade him because we had a roster crunch, and we kept Hodge or someone instead?