Cubs 2020 Rule 5 Draft & Minor League Free-Agent Watch List

LAST UPDATED  10-15-2020

As things stand right now...

57 Cubs minor leaguers are eligible for selection in the December 2020 MLB Rule 5 Draft, and 24 Cubs minor leaguers (18 post-2020 6YFA and six second-contract players) 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 2020 World Series (or at 5 PM Eastern on October 15th if the 2020 World Series is cancelled).   

LHP Matt Dermody, OF Ian Miller, LHRP Josh Osich, INF-OF Hernan Perez, and 1B-3B Patrick Wisdom were outrighted to the minors during the 2020 season and had the right to either elect free-agency immediately or else defer free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season, and all five accepted their respective outright assignments and deferred their respective option to elect free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season. Dermody, Miller, and Wisdom elected free-agency prior to the 10/15 deadline, while Osich and H. Perez did not. However, Osich and H. Perez will be automatically declared MLB Rule 55 minor league 6YFA after the World Series if the player does not sign a 2021 minor league successor contract or is not added back to the MLB 40-man roster in the meantime.   

The Cubs will have until five days after the final game of the 2020 World Series (or until October 15th if the World Series is cancelled) to either sign a post-2020 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 2021 minor league successor contract or add the player to their MLB 40-man roster, otherwise the player will automatically be declared a free-agent. 

Also, any 2020 Rule 5 Draft-eligible player who is not eligible to be a minor league free-agent after the World Series but who was sent outright to the minors after signing a 2020 MLB contract (Trevor Megill and Michael Rucker) must be added to the MLB 40-man roster no later than 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the 2020 World Series or else the player cannot be added back to the MLB 40-man roster of the club that outrighted the player until after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft. 

Then the Cubs must decide by November 20th which 2020 Rule 5 Draft-eligible players (including any player eligible to be a minor league free-agent post-2020 who has signed a 2021 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 2020 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 2020 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 (the Cubs placed 35 players on their AAA Iowa reserve list in both 2018 and 2019), 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 2021 minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft will be eligible for selection). Any 2020 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-2020 or eligible for selection in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft (full lists further down the post)... 

LAST UPDATED: 10-15-2020

GROUP 1 (Eligible to be Minor League FA post-2020 - MLB ready or near-MLB ready): 
USEFUL AAA DEPTH - NOT LIKELY TO BE RETAINED POST-2020
1. Josh Osich, LHRP - 4+119 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & one minor league option left if added back to the 40
2. Hernan Perez, INF-OF - 5+097 MLB ST - has Article XIX-A rights & no minor league options left if added back to the 40
3. Pedro Strop, RHRP - 9+092 MLB-ST - has Article XIX-A rights & no minor league options left if added to the 40
4. Joe Wieland, RHRP - 3+035 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & no minor league options left if added to thd 40)
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LEGIT PROSPECT (50/50 CHANCE TO BE ADDED TO 40 POST-WORLD SERIES IF NOT DURING SEASON)
5. Danny Hultzen, LHRP - 0+023 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & no minor league options left if added to the 40
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NOT LIKELY TO BE ADDED TO 40 POST-WORLD SERIES
6. Tyler Olson, LHRP - 2+114 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & no minor league options left if added to the 40 
7. Mark Zagunis, OF - 0+103 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & no minor league options left if added to the 40 
8. Jerry Vasto, LHRP - 0+037 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & two minor league options left if added to the 40
NOTE-1: Article XIX-A means player can't be optioned or sent outright to minors without his consent once he is 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

GROUP 2 (Eligible to be Minor League FA post-2020 - not ready for MLB): 
1. Luis Lugo, LHP - SWING 
2. Jordan Minch, LHRP 
3. Ryan Lawlor, LHRP (second-contract player)
4. Erling Moreno, RHP - SWING 
5. Corey Black, RHRP 
6. Erick Castillo, C 
7. Eugenio Palma, LHRP 
8. Ivan Medina, RHRP 
9. Jerrick Suiter, RHRP (ex-1B)  
10. Luke Hagerty, LHRP (has Article XX-D rights & three minor league options left if added to the 40) 
11. Vance Vizcaino, OF (second contract player) 
12. Eric Gonzalez, C 
13. Garrett Kelly, RHRP (second-contract player) 
COMMENT: None of the players in GROUP 2 (listed above) have much of a chance to be added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster post-2020, but each of them will likely be offered a 2021 minor league successor contract, although if offered one, the player does not have to sign it. 

GROUP 3 (Eligible for selection in 2020 Rule 5 Draft - likely on AAA Reserve List if not added to MLB 40-man roster)
LEGIT PROSPECT (AT VARIOUS LEVELS)
1. Cory Abbott, RHSP (AAA - likely to be added to 40 on 11/20) 
2. Christopher Morel, INF (Hi-A - likely to be added to 40 on 11/20)
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3. P. J. Higgins, C-INF (AAA - 50/50 chance to be added to 40 on 11/20 if not during season)
4. Michael Rucker, RHP - SWING (AAA - 50/50 chance to be added to 40 after World Series - has Article XX-D rights & three minor league options left if added to the 40)
5. Duncan Robinson, RHSP (AAA - 50-50 chance to be added to the 40 on 11/20)
6. Trevor Megill, RHRP (AAA - 50/50 chance to be added back to the 40 after World Series - has Article XX-D rights & three minor leaguie options left if added back to nthe 40)
7. Dakota Mekkes, RHRP (AAA - 50/50 chance to be added to 40 on 11/20) 
8. Keegan Thompson, RHSP (AAA - 50/50 chance to be added to 40 on 11/20)
9. Brendon Little, LHSP (AA - 50/50 chance to be added to 40 on 11/20)
10. Aramis Ademan, SS (AA- 50/50 chance to be added to 40 on 11/20)
NOTE: The ten players listed above are good candidates to get selected in the Major League Phase of the 2020 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).
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SECOND-TIER PROSPECT (AAA): 
11. Trent Giambrone, INF-OF 
12. C. D. Pelham, LHP - SWING (0+027 MLB-ST - has Article XX-D rights & two minor league options left if added back to the 40)
13. Wyatt Short, LHRP 
14. Matt Swarmer, RHP - SWING
15. Craig Brooks, RHRP
16. Donnie Dewees, OF
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SECOND-TIER PROSPECT (AA): 
17. Erich Uelmen, RHP - SWING 
18. Ben Hecht, RHRP 
19. Bailey Clark, RHP - SWING 
20. Javier Assad, RHSP 
21. Jeffrey Passantino, RHP - SWING 
22. Bryan Hudson, LHSP  
23. Jared Young, 1B-OF  
24. Delvin Zinn, INF  
25. Zach Davis, OF 
26. Connor Myers, OF  
27. Tommy Nance, RHRP 
28. Eddy Julio Martinez, OF 
29. Scott Effross, RHRP  
30. Tyler Payne, C  
SECOND-TIER PROSPECT (SINGLE-A)  
31. Jose Albertos RHSP 
32. Cam Balego, C-INF 
33. Yunior Perez, RHSP  
34. Danis Correa, RHSP  
35. Eury Ramos, RHSP 
36, Aneuris Rosario, RHRP 
37. Peyton Remy, RHP - SWING  
38. Fernando Kelli, OF  
NOTE: All of the players listed above are good candidates to get selected in the AAA Phase of the 2020 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).

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Fact is, it is not unusual for veteran players who are added to the MLB 40-man roster during the course of the season to be removed from the 40 when they are no longer of use to the club. For example, RHP Jason Adam, LHP Rex Brothers, LHP Matt Dermody, 2B Jason Kipnis, OF Ian Miller, INF Hernan Perez, C Josh Phegley, and 1B-3B Patrick Wisdom (all eligible to be minor league free-agents post-2020) were added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster just prior to or during the course of the 2020 MLB regular season, although Dermody, Miller, Perez, and Phegley were subsequenjtly outrighted back to the minors and Wisdom was Designated for Assignment prior to the conclusion of the season, and in 2019 RHP Allen Webster, Of-1B Jim Adduci, OF Carlos Gonzalez, LHP Tim Collins, INF Robel Garcia, and LHP Danny Hultzen (all eligible to be minor league free-agents post-2019) were added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster during the course of the 2019 season, although Adduci was outrighted back to AAA in June and elected free-agency aftef the conclusion of the MLB regular season, Webster was outrighted back to Iowa after the season and was declared a Rule 55 minor league 6YFA after the World Series, CarGo and Collins elected to be free-agents after being outrighted in July, and Hultzen was non-tendered in on 12/2. Robel Garcia (a second-contact player signed by the Cubs to a 2019 minor league contract post-2018 and who was added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster in July) was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds in July 2020.

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 Luis Lugo and Jordan Minch (as well as the other players eligible to be a minor league FA post-2020) have leverage other Cubs minor leaguers do not have. 

As far as players who are eligible for selection in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft are concerned, only one (LHP Brailyn Marquez) was added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster during the 2020 MLB regular season (and that was on the last day of the season!).  

The Cubs did not add players who were Rule 5 Draft eligible to their MLB 40-man roster during the course of the 2019 MLB regular season, but they did add three (RHP Tyson Miller, C Miguel Amaya, and INF Zack Short) to the 40 on 11/20.
NOTE: INF Nico Hoerner was added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster during the 2019 season, but he would not have been eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft until post-2021. 

In 2018, the Cubs added RHRP James Norwood to the 40 during the course of the 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).
 

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MLB RULE 5 DRAFT:  

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

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

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

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


RULE 5 DRAFT ELIGIBILITY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS ELIGIBLE FOR SELECTION IN 2020 RULE 5 DRAFT (last updated 10-15-2020)
Cory Abbott, RHP 
Aramis Ademan, INF 
Maikel Aguiar, RHP 
Jose Albertos, RHP 
Javier Assad, RHP 
Cam Balego, C-INF
Craig Brooks, RHP 
Jesus Camargo, RHP
Bailey Clark, RHP
Danis Correa, RHP 
Yovanny Cuevas, OF 
Zach Davis, OF
Donnie Dewees, OF
Christian Donahue, INF 
Scott Effross, RHP 
Juan Gamez, RHP (signed 2021minor league contract)
Trent Giambrone, IF-OF
Jose Gutierrez, OF 
Ben Hecht, RHP 
Ferrol Heredia, LHP 
P. J. Higgins, C-INF
Bryan Hudson, LHP  
Brandon Hughes, LHP (ex-OF) 
Ryan Kellogg, LHP 
Fernando Kelli, OF 
Brendon Little, LHP 
Eddy Julio Martinez, OF 
Hector Matos, RHP (Restricted List)
Trever Megill, RHP (Article XX-D player) 
Fidel Mejia, INF 
Dakota Mekkes, RHP
Christopher Morel, INF 
Connor Myers, OF 
Tommy Nance, RHP 
Carlos Ocampo, RHP 
Jeffrey Passantino, RHP 
Tyler Payne, C
C. D. Pelham, LHP (Article XX-D player) 
Raymond Pena, C
Henderson Perez, C 
Yunior Perez, RHP 
Yonathan Perlaza, INF 
Gustavo Polanco, C-1B   
Eury Ramos, RHP 
Peyton Remy, RHP 
Duncan Robinson, RHP 
Aneuris Rosario, RHP
Michael Rucker, RHP (Article XX-D player)  
Wyatt Short, LHP 
Jonathan Sierra, OF 
Matt Swarmer, RHP 
Keegan Thompson, RHP 
Erich Uelmen, RHP 
Didier Vargas, LHP 
D. J. Wilson, OF 
Jared Young, 1B-OF 
Delvin Zinn, INF 

Additionally, a free-agent who signs a 2021 minor league contract prior to the 2020 Rule 5 Draft or a minor league player who is eligible to be a minor league free-agent post-2020 but who signs a minor league successor contract prior to becoming a free-agent will be eligible for selection in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft if the player was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 5th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season, and a minor league player who was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract becomes eligible for selection starting with the 4th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season.

MLB RULE 55 FREE-AGENT POST-2020 WORLD SERIES

SIX-YEAR MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENTS
Corey Black, RHP
Erick Castillo, C 
Eric Gonzalez, C
Luke Hagerty, LHP (Article XX-D player)
Danny Hultzen, LHP (Article XX-D player)
Luis Lugo, LHP
Ivan Medina, RHP
Jordan Minch, LHP
Erling Moreno, RHP  
Tyler Olson, LHP (Article XX-D player) 
Josh Osich, LHP (Article XX-D player) 
Eugenio Palma, LHP
Hernan Perez, INF-OF (Article XIX-A player) 
Pedro Strop, RHP (Article XIX-A player)
Jerrick Suiter, RHP/1B  
Jerry Vasto, LHP (Article XX-D player)
Joe Wieland, RHP (Article XX-D player) 
Mark Zagunis, OF (Article XX-D player)

SECOND CONTRACT MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS (see NOTES below)
Aneudis Beard RHP (previously released by TEX)
Garrett Kelly, RHP (previously released by MIN)
Ryan Lawlor, LHP (previously released by ATL)
Jorge Ramirez, LHP (previously released by TEX)
Juan Vasquez, C (previously released by SD)
Vance Vizcaino, OF (previously released by KC)
SECOND CONTRACT MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS NOTES:
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.
NOTE-2: RHP Aneudis Beard (previously released by TEX) and LHP Jorge Ramirez (previously released by TEX) are second-contract minor league players, but neither of the them is eligible for selection in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft if signed beyond 2020.

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RULE 5 DRAFT RESTRICTIONS:

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

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

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

Comments

The Cubs signed five free-agents to minor league contracts after the Rule 5 Draft (although the contracts are still pending) and they have been assigned to AAA Iowa and will receive an NRI to Spring Training: 

Brandon Morrow, RHRP - Article XX-B player so he will get a $100K retention bonus and 6/1 opt-out if not added to MLB 40-man roster or released prior to 2020 MLB Opening Day. 

Noel Cuevas, OF (ex-COL) - post-2019 minor league 6YFA 

Hernan Perez, INF-OF - non-tendered by MIL on 12/2 (was eligible for salary arbitration) 

Danny Hultzen, LHRP - Draft-Excluded Player who was out of minor league options - was non-tendered by Cubs on 12/2 so that he could be re-signed to a minor league contract after the Rule 5 Draft 

Ian Miller, OF (ex-MIN) - post-2019 minor league 6YFA  

Expect the Cubs to sign another ten or so free-agents to minor league contracts prior to the start of Spring Training, including a catcher with some MLB experience, an infielder with some MLB experience who can play SS, a 1st baseman with some MLB experience, one or two SP with some MLB experience, and five or six relievers with some MLB experience. 

In addition to Morrow, Cuevas, Perez, and Hultzen, other Cubs minor leaguers likely to receive an NRI to MLB Spring Taining are: 

PITCHERS: RHSP Cory Abbott, RHRP Craig Brooks, RHRP Oscar de la Cruz, LHP Luis Lugo, RHRP Dakota Mekkes, and LHRP Jordan Minch

CATCHERS: P. J. Higgins, Tyler Payne, and Jhonny Pereda (also probably Erick Castillo as a Spring Training bullpen catcher)

INFIELDERS: Trent Giambrone 

OUTFIELDERS: Donnie Dewees and Mark Zagunis  

Didn't Mike Freeman just get DFA'd by Cleveland? That's an infielder with MLB experience at SS.

"Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports that Joe Panik "is a name that has come up" as the Cubs look for a second baseman."

tony kemp, daniel descalso, and joe panik.  what a powerhouse use of roster space.

evidently this is because the cubs couldn't afford eric sogard or cesar hernandez.  wow.  phew.  alright.

"Cubs signed RHP Ryan Tepera to a one-year, $900,000 contract."

i guess we're going to go on a tear of adding bargain bin talent like this.  another reliever that likes to give up homers, too.  neat.

300K split contract if he ends up in the minors.

in isolation, a signing like this would be nice.  however, what we seem to be seeing is a slew of guys like this being brought in as a main approach to see if they can find the next pedro strop.  good luck, etc.  hopefully they can find a couple good ones...

gio gonzalez returns to the team that drafted him, wsox...1yr/4.5m with a 7m team option for 2021.

wsox also add d.keuchel 3/55m

he was cubs-rumor-linked early on, but that one doesn't seem like a strong rumor based on recent roster moves involving spending any amount of cash.  seems like the cubs big splash is gonna happen via trade, or after freeing up $$ with trades.

PHIL: Do you know if it's possible to include more than one PTBNL in a trade? Thanks!

blah blah not phil over here, but....

yeah.  the big dodgers/redsox trade in 2012 is one of the more recent bigtime multiple PTBNL trades (agonz/beckett/crawford trade with 2 PTBNL going one-way to BOS invovled).

K-DUB: What crunch said. There is no limit on the number of PTBNL in a deal. However, the parameters for the PTBNL must be stated clearly (in writing) when the trade is filed.

By rule the PTBNL must be named within six months (although the clubs could agree on an earlier deadline) and a PTBNL cannot be on an MLB active list at any time during the period of time between the filing of the trade and when the PTBNL is announced. Also, a player selected in the immediately preceding MLB First-Year Player Draft cannot be a PBTNL in a trade made prior to the World Series.  

Also, if there is a cash option the amount must be stated when the trade is filed (it's typically $50,000 for a trade involving a player on an MLB 40-man roster), or if the PTBNL will be chosen from a particular list of players that list must be stated in writing when the trade is filed. 

Sometimes a PTBNL can't be assigned at the time of the trade (like if a trade is made between 11/20 and the Rule 5 Draft and the prospective PTBNL is eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft and so the clubs have to wait to see if he gets selected), or there might be an outstanding medical issue that has to be resolved and the clubs don't want to delay the trade while waiting for the medical report.  

Or here's another more unusual possibility ... 

Let's say the Cubs and Braves agree on a trade where Kris Bryant goes to the Braves immediately, but since Bryant's service time grievance hasn't been resolved, the clubs agree on one group of PTBNL that will go back to the Cubs if the arbitrator rules that Bryant has one year of club control remaining, and another (different) group if the arbitrator rules that Bryant has two years of club control remaining. 

Thanks crunch and Phil.

This site is broken.

so is the cubs offseason so far...

I had been having trouble logging in until just now. Figured it was my end, but it's possible others are/were experiencing similar issues?

Me too

"Sports Hochi reports that Shogo Akiyama has narrowed his choices down to the Padres and Reds."

he was also linked to the cubs, but a strong rumor that he would actually want to be paid money screwed that up for the cubs.

Akiyama to Cincinnati. Guess he opted for money instead of Buona Beef coupons.

Site glitches are my fault. I have been doing a lot of work on the back end and was improperly caching things that messed up accessing the site and proper display. Really sorry for the issues.

I forgive you.

Perfect time of year for that maintenance to happen! Thanks!

Although there was some discussion of Rule 5 pick Jerrick Suiter switching to pitcher, this article might have more specific insight into that: https://www.nwitimes.com/sports/baseball/professio...


"While Suiter said Cubs player development guru Matt Dorey sees him as a pitcher long-term, his versatility gives him an edge thanks to new roster rules.

Suiter anticipates reporting to spring training in Mesa, Arizona, on Jan. 24. The Times 2011 Athlete of the Year has only made two appearances on the mound as a pro and said he's not sure what velocity he tops out at — he hit 93 miles per hour in high school. But he's hopeful that shifting that direction can extend his career.

“It's huge,” Suiter said. “It gives me a chance to stay in the game.”

That's awesome! Great find. 

cubs doing nothing worth mentioning aside, it has been one hell of an early busy free agent market compared to the past couple years.  good to see the market moving agian.  all of this without CHC or BOS participating in any notable way so far.

on the cubs side of things, i do like b.morrow at $1m base + bonuses if gets called up.  that's a cheap gamble on the other side of a minor league contract.  it helps hedge the pile of bargain bin crap they're throwing at a wall to see what sticks (d.winkler, t.megill, r.tepera...and whatever the hell their plan is for j.cotton).

Happy New Years folks, lets hope it's a good one

I will drink to that.

the cubs need to make a trade for cole tucker...or pablo sanchez if they can get him...

https://twitter.com/cotuck/status/1211809811110584320

darwin barney new manager of AAA Nashville Sounds (TEX)

flashback to a year ago on his effort to help bring baseball to portland, oregon and his desire to not stray too far from the game even though he's missed his family while being a player.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfZQx4kvxfs

starlin castro to WAS on an assumed 2/16m deal.  not bad for castro.

hard to believe it's still a few months before he turns 30.

Is it possible  that he winds up with 3000 hits? I think he has 2000 already.

Unlikely... he's got 1,617 currently. has a great shot at 2k though.

unless something changes about his hitting approach, probably not even if he plays another decade.

a notable chunk of his hits come from busting ass out of the box on stuff that slower or less determined hitters would turn into an out.  he's got a small combo of beating stuff out and forcing bad throws to beat out for hits that pad his hit total.  that kind of thing is nice, but it tends to not age well with the player's decreasing speed and mobility.  he's shown absolutely no change in his hitting approach since his early days.  he makes contact and busts ass out of the box.  not much going on with patience or pitch selection.

btw, this deal might also spell the end of the bryant/nats trade talks since castro is considered a decent enough 3rd option as well as 2nd.  it at least hedges their future plans.  quite honestly, i dunno how much time bryant has left at 3rd before he's a corner OF'r anyway.

Regarding trade ramifications, just to be devils advocate, would it perhaps open up top Nats prospect Carter Kieboom to being available via trade?

I just can't believe Castro is just entering his age 30 season. 

i dunno a lot about what WAS is trying to do this offseason, just that WAS/CHC have been linked multiple times to trade talks involving bryant.

early reports have castro expected to mostly play 2nd, though they've noted his versitility at 3rd/SS.

i think WAS is in the mix for j.donaldson, too.  things might shape up more for bryant after someone locks donaldson down.

Kieboom is absolutely a top 5 in baseball prospect name. If they trade with the Nats, I'll be disappointed with anything less.

kieboom or v.robles has to be the starting point for anything involving bryant, i'd imagine...at least one of them.  either would be high end pickups for the cubs.  WAS -really- likes robles, though...so he's most likely staying put.

He has to be 47 in baseball years.

How much is the new TV deal worth to the Cubs per year?

$40-50 million, according to the Sinclair CEO last February. Epstein was quoted in September as saying the team would feel no immediate boost from the deal.

The MLB Office was closed for business 12/20 - 1/5, so the normal end of a player's seven-day DFA period was suspended/extended until today (and in some cases, through tomorrow or Wednesday) for players who were DFA'd prior to or during the period of time that the MLB office was closed, because the waiver process was not available while the MLB office was closed. So expect to see a flurry of transactions (trades, releases,  and/or outrighting of players) over the next two or three days involving players who were Designated for Assignment in December. 

Carlos Asuaje? Magic 8 Ball says: My Reply is No.

there goes the remaining budget.

it makes strategic sense, though.  the needs of the club dictates that if they don't make the post-season then they'll have more time to prep the field for college football in november.

i just hope they have the will and fortitude to find some more concerts to hold at the park during the season, itself.  the hotel zachary upgrades, including the "glamping" tents, could use some financial fortitude.

plus, there's various elections coming up in multiple states and nation-wide that need financial support.

Everybody In™

...seriously, though...just waiting around for whatever trade is going to make the team better since that seems to be step 1 of doing anything going forward with 2020 improvements... also keeping an eye on nick "opening day everyday" castellanos's free agent status...etc.

The Cubs officially filed the Noel Cuevas, Ian Miller, Brandon Morrow, and Hernan Perez 2020 minor league contracts with the MLB office yesterday, but no Danny Hultzen contract was filed (could still be pending or contract could have been voided prior to being filed - TBD). Also, the Carlos Asuaje contract is still pending (has not yet been officially filed with MLB). 

The Danny Hultzen and Carlos Asuaje minor league contracts have been filed with MLB, but no Jason Adam or Tyler Olson contract filings (yet).  

The final group of DFA's whose final disposition was delayed because the MLB Office was closed for two weeks over the holidays finish their waiver rides today, so I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs have put in claims on a couple of them (RHSP Marcos Diplan and/or RHRP Jimmy Herget).

However, even if the Cubs did make a claim (or claims) there is no guarantee other clubs with a better waiver claim priority might put in a claim, too. 

The pitchers I mentioned above have minor league options remaining and cannot elect free-agency if outrighted. 

AZ Phil: There is a recent article (12/31/19) in The Athletic by Sahadev Sharma predicting a fast track future for Cubs 2018, 2nd round pick, OF Brennen Davis. He seems to be showing hitting talent but had limited exposure because he missed August from a hand injury. Can you update your thought on his status for 2020? Thanks, as always.

CUBSTER: Brennen Davis was an outstanding HS basketball player. He played on the Basha HS Arizona 6-A state championship team as a junior and was named the 2017 Arizona HS defensive player of the year, so baseball was essentially his"second sport." Then he missed most of his senior season (both basketball and baseball) with a hamstring injury. He signed an NLI to attend the U. of Miami as a baseball player with the possibility of "walking on" the U's basketball team as well, before being drafted in the 2nd round by the Cubs in 2018.   

From the beginning he was considered a toolsy (but raw) player who needed to improve his hitting and play a lot of baseball. Despite limited experience, he was fast-tracked at Winter Instructs this time last year and was placed in the advanced hitting group with Aramis Ademan, Nico Hoerner, Christopher Morel, Andy Weber, and Jared Young. 

I saw a lot of Davis in Minor League Camp and at Extended Spring Training last year before he was (very surprisingly) moved up to South Bend in late May. Just before he was moved up he was invited to fly to Chicago to participate in a special Cubs minor league leadership program, so the Cubs see him (like Miguel Amaya) as a high-character guy with advanced leadership skills. 

On the field Davis absolutely blossomed as a five-tool player during the course of EXST. His hitting (which was his main question mark coming out of HS) just got better & better the more he played so that when he left Mesa he was the best hitter on the team. Combining that with a plus-arm, plus-power, well above-average defensive skills, above-average speed, and a high baseball IQ, and you have yourself a legit five-tool Top 100 MLB prospect. 

He'll almost certainly be assigned to Myrtle Beach to start the 2020 season, but a mid-season promotion to AA Tennessee wouldn't surprise me. I believe he is the Cubs #1 prospect right now (M. Amaya is #2 and Hoerner is #3).

AZ Phil - Seeing Davis play in person, do any current/former MLB players come to mind as comps, e.g., a young Dave Winfield?

ERIC S: Because of the multi-sport background, Dave Winfield would probably be an excellent ceiling-comp for Brennen Davis. 

sun-times with some shots fired at the cubs for the off-season priorities so far...

https://chicago.suntimes.com/cubs/2020/1/8/2105728...

"For the Cubs, bricks and mortar come before pitchers and catchers"

Really eviscerating the Ricketts for this nonsense. As well they should be. They've really paved the way for other businesses looking to burn goodwill at a record pace.

i don't understand how anyone can defend it.

i'm glad they've sunk loot in and all that...top spender already, etc...but you get windows of victory and we're still right in the prime of one.  it seems like a crap time to go cheap.

outside of that, it seems the team's offseason is being held hostage by a future trade freeing up money or delivering the talent through the trade, itself.

It's also bizarre to do a front office shuffle which seems to have added one or two senior people, then go cheap on the player payroll.  Good businesses usually go lean on management headcount and treat the workers fairly generously.  Pro baseball is definitely a business.

dbacks sign trevor clifton to a minor league deal.  he fell of a cliff real hard last season for the cubs.  shame.

I'm betting he figures it out now that he's got a fresh start.

baez 10m

bryant 18.6m

schwarber 7m

contreras 4.5m

almora jr 1.58m

k.ryan 975K

also, c.bellinger (LAD) broke bryant's 1st year arb contract record of 10.85m.  11.5m is the new high bar.

uggg.

it could be "weeks" before the bryant service issue thing is settled.  this just keeps dragging on and on and on and on...  it is highly unlikely he'll be traded until a team knows whether they have him for an extra season or not...

also, it's getting a bit weird to see nick castellanos linked to a TEX pursuit for almost a month now without any movement.  it has me wondering if bryant-out/cast-in might be on the table.

i know w.contreras has been rumor linked to be the one to go, but with lester around and the team not trying to snap up a D-heavy catcher i dunno if they're looking to move him and his 4.5m yet.  lester is around another season with a 2021 team option for 25m, 10m buyout, auto-renew with 200ip in 2020 (hasn't thrown 200+ ip since 2016 despite only skipping 1 start since then).

Baez can just catch on days Lester starts if they trade Contreras. There--solved.

we wasted all that money d.ross for manager when we could have just had Charlie.  this front office is a mess.

Stick Bote at SS, Happ at 2b and Javy at C for Lester starts - we good. 

if lester pitches from 1st base then he'll never have to throw over there to cover it.  someone should look into that.

That will really free Rizzo up to play first base from 15 feet in front of the mound. Not sure how they would align for a lefty shift, but they can figure that out in spring training.

I'll stop thinking the Cubs Performance Academy is cutting-edge until I hear all three of you have been brought on board.

i'm aiming higher...something in the front office.

i have an idea to make high end pitchers pay for themselves by having them scream "Diet Pepsi presents..." as loud as they can before every pitch they throw.

Pepsi may not be on board at first, but they'll start cutting big checks eventually.

I got Arbys as a legit backup plan so no one thinks this is a one-dimensional approach.  We could actually get both going on, having Kimbrel scream "Arbys sliders presents..." before he throws a slider.  Some would argue that would be a disadvantage by tipping his pitch, but realistically anyone who saw him last year knows that 100% doesn't matter at all because it's going 500ft over a fence anyway.

Laughed a lot during this thread! Good to laugh at something other than the Cubs' off-season moves for a change. ;)

Phil.

Someone mentioned bringing Brailyn Marquez to MLB camp. I don't remember the specifics, but I remember there is a sort of financial blowback if a minor league player gets injured in big league camp.

Refresh my memory.

If he'd make it through healthy, him having a chance to learn from older pitchers could be very useful. TIA.

TIM: The only financial issue for a minor league player (that is, a player signed to a minor league contract) is that the player gets the standard MLB Spring Training allowance (about $150 per day) for every day he spends in MLB Camp and then the standard minor league Spring Training allowance (about $35 per day) for every day he spends at Minor League Camp. . 

So for example if a player signs a minor league contract and gets an official NRI to Spring Training that player gets about $150 per day (paid in a lump sum at the end of each week) while in MLB Camp and then about $35 per day if and when the player is assigned to Minor League Camp. 

If a minor league player who is not an official NRI gets a one-day call-up to MLB Camp to possibly play in an MLB Cactus League Spring Training Game ("Queen for a Day" as they used to call it) that player gets paid at the MLB rate that day (about $150), so when a minor leaguer gets a call-up to MLB Camp for a day there is a financial reward even if the player does not play in the game. 

In addition, a minor league player (not on the MLB 40-man roster) who is injured during Spring Training either in MLB Camp while as an NRI or in minor league camp can be released anytime prior to the completion of the first two weeks of the MLB regular season and if released he would get two weeks salary as termination pay. (Two weeks salary is standard termnation pay for any minor league player who is released, the only restriction being an injured minor league player who is releasecd receives 100% of his remainig salatry if he is released after the conclusion of the second week of the MLB regular season).  

A player on an MLB 40-man roster who is injured during Spring Training can be released, too, but he would receive 100% of his salary as termination pay. That's the main reason why a free-agent would prefer to sign an MLB contract rather than a minor league contract even if he is offered more money to sign the minor league contract. There is a built-in injury-protection that goes with being on an MLB 40-man roster that is not present for players signed to minor league contracts.  

Also, in most cases a player on the MLB 40-man roster who is injured cannot be optioned or outrighted to the minors until he is healthy and ready to play. The exception is if a player did not accrue any MLB Service Time the previous season, has not accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time, is not a "Super Two" player, has not been outrighted previously in his career, and does not have Selected Player or Draft-Excluded Player status. That class of player (Justin Steele is the only one on the Cubs MLB 40 right now) can be outrighted to the minors - EVEN IF HE IS INJURED -  anytime up until 15 days prior to MLB Opening Day. He cannot be optioned to the minors, however. Only outrighted. 

A Draft-Excluded player (minor league player eligible selection in the Rule 5 Dratt who had his contract selected and was added to the MLB 40-man roster after August 15th) can be outrighted during Spring Training if injured (presuming the player otherwise would qualify) only during a five-day window that opens 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day and closes 15 days prior to MLB Opening Day. Same goes for a Rule 5 Draft pick, but that would only be possible after Rule 5 restrictions have been removed and it's at least 15 days prior to MLB Opening Day. 

So in summary, it matters that Brailyn Marquez is not on the MLB 40-man roster. If he gets an official NRI to Spring Training he will be paid the same as Jon Lester or Hason Heyward for every day he is at MLB Camp, but if he gets hurt during the course of Spring Training, the Cubs can just send him to Minor League Camp without any restrictions and with no financial penalty for the club. 

Justin Steele, the Draft-Excluded players (T. Miller, Rea, M. Rodriguez, and Z. Short), and the Rule 5 Draft pick (Megill) are the more-complicated ones, because they are on the MLB 40-man roster. If any of them were to get hurt (and I'm talking about a significant major-type injury) prior to or during Spring Traning, they could get outrighted to the minors and once outrighted the player would be paid his minor league split salary instead of his MLB salary and also the player would not acrue MLB Service Time while on a minor league Injured List.

That doesn't mean that one of these players would necessarily be outrighted if he gets hurt (because the player could get claimed off waivers), it's just that certain players on the MLB 40-man roster - CAN - be outrighted to the minors prior to or during Spring Training (until 15 days prior to MLB Opening Day) even if the player is injured. The club might prefer to pay an injured player (again, it would probably have to be a significant injury) at the minor league split salary rate and with no MLB Service Time accrual for the player while he rehabs, and that might be worth taking a risk that the player could get claimed off waivers.  

Cool.

Thanks for the information.

t.kemp to A's

Carlos Asuaje takes his spot?

I keep waiting for the Cubs to sign FA INF Wilmer Flores. He would seem to be a fit for 2B and he can also play 1B-3B and would probably cost somewhere in the $5M range (maybe $10M for two years). 

I’m more than a little disappointed and puzzled that a prospective Tony Kemp trade to Oakland is not taking center stage in the baseball world today?  Can‘t imagine anything else could top that. 

https://twitter.com/susanslusser/status/1216811580811169793?s=21

1B-LF  Alfonso Rivas was a 4th round pick of the A's in 2018 out of the U. of Arizona and is an advanced hitter with a patient approach at the plate (he takes a lot of walks). I saw him play in Minor League Camp Spring Training games last March and for the Mesa Solar Sox this past September-October. I like him a lot. He will almost certainly be the 1B at AA Tennessee in 2020.

The only negative is that he is basically a 1st baseman who can play a little bit of LF. He was a part-time (and not very successful) LHP in college so I guess it's possible that the Cubs could try him as a two-way player.  

Otherwise Rivas future with the Cubs (other than as a potential future trade chip) is questionable unless Anthony Rizzo walks post-2021 or the universal DH is implemented in the next CBA.  

I think it's likely that despite only one full season of pro ball that Alfonso Rivas will get an NRI to MLB Spring Training where he can watch Anthony Rizzo up close & personal, because it's possible (not probable, but conceivable) that Rivas could be the Cubs Opening Day 1st baseman in 2022 (depending on whether Rizzo signs a contract extension sometime in the next couple of years).   

BTW, Rivas was an A's BA Top 20 prospect going into the 2019 season. He is not an MLB Top 100 or organizational Top 10 guy, but he is a legit prospect. 

After thinking about it, my comp for Alfonso Rivas would be Sean Casey, a bat-first lug who plays 1B but isn't really athletic enough to play OF (actually that would apply to Mark Grace and Anthony Rizzo, too!). 

James Loney too maybe?

I'm actually not sure he's such a lug. He's only about 6'0" and has decent fielding grades from MLB Pipeline (50 field, 55 arm, but only 40 run).  I wonder if he would be playing 3B if he didn't throw left handed. The 40 run might keep him out of the OF, but his arm would play there. 

BRADSBEARD: I like your James Loney suggestion a lot, much better than my Sean Casey comp. And no question the Rivas arm would play in the outfield, but I suspect he would be even a worse OF than Kyle Schwarber (just like Loney wasn't an outfielder).  

mark grace is the most athletic pack-a-day of smoker of the steroid era...i'm sure he could have played somewhere besides 1st, but he'd have to cut back to a half a pack.  marlboros > stanozolol.

Phil, when does the Instructional players report?

HAGSAG: Cubs Winter Instructs starts on January 27th, but the players actually report on Friday 1/24. So Instructs will overlap on the backfields with both Cubs Fantasy Camp (which will take place the week of January 27th) and the early part of MLB Spring Training (pitchers & catchers report on 2/11). 

The Cubs pushed Winter Instructs back three weeks this year (it started on 1/8 last year) so that there won't be a significant gap between the conclusion of Instructs and the start of Minor League Camp. 

An interesting waiver claim last week was INF Sam Haggerty by the Seattle Mariners.

Haggerty was Designated for Assignment by the New York Mets last month to make room for RHRP Dellin Betances on the NYM 40-man roster, but because Haggerty was a Draft-Excluded player (a minor league player eligible for selection in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft who had his contract selected and was added to an MLB 40-man roster after August 15th) he could not be outrighted to the minors after the Rule 5 Draft.

So the only way the Mets could remove Haggerty from the 40 once he was DFA'd was by trade or release. They were unable to trade him, so the Mets were forced to release him. But the Mariners claimed Haggerty off Outright Release Waivers for just $1 (the "token" price for a Release Waiver claim).   

Release Waiver claims are rare because although the waiver claim price is only $1 the claiming club assumes 100% of the player's salary and most players who get released (and placed on Outright Release Waivers) are veteran guys with salaries above what most clubs would want to pay, so clubs typically just wait until the player clears Release Waivers and then offer him the MLB minimum salary with the player's forner club on the hook for the balance. 

But this is the time of the year when Draft-Excluded players (like Haggerty) are released (because they can;t be outrighted) if their slot on the 40 is needed for a free-agent (as happened with the Mets).  

The other type of player who gets released this time of year is an unsigned pre-arbitration player on the 40 who has Rule 55 rights (player would have been declared a minor league free-agent after the World Series if he hadn't been on an MLB 40-man roster). Until the player signs a contract (and a player's contract cannot be unilaterally renewed by the club until March 1st) the only way to remove the player from the 40 is by trade or release (same as a Draft-Excluded Player, except a Draft-Excluded Player can't be outrighted to the minors until twenty days prior to MLB opening Day even if he has signed a contract).  

The Cubs have reportedly signed veteran MLB catcher Josh Phegley (ex-OAK and ex-CHW) to a minor league contract and an NRI to Spring Training (contract is pending because it has not yet been filed with MLB). 

One thing about Josh Phegley is that not only is he out of minor league options but he also has Article XIX-A rights (he has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time), so he can't even be outrighted to the minors without his consent if he were to be added to the 40.

So with the inherent difficulty involved in moving him back & forth between Des Moines and Chicago, Phegley may be a candidate to be the 26th man if the Cubs decide to use the 26th man slot for a third catcher (which would allow them to use Contreras and Caratini more liberally off the bench), or if he begins the season at Iowa and then gets called-up to be a short-term injury replacement for Contreras or Caratini at some point he would just remain with the Cubs going forward for the balance of the season as the 26th man (replacing whoever was the 26th man before him).  

Also, because of the limits on September call-ups beginning this season (only one additional pitcher & one additional position player can be added in September), the automatic September call-up of a third catcher may not be so automatic anymore. Some clubs may choose instead to have a third catcher (like Phegley) on the MLB active list (as the 26th man) for the entire season. 

Another possible unintended consequence of the new restriction on September call-ups is that contending clubs will send MLB-ready pitchers and position-players who in previous seasons would have been called-up to MLB in September to the Arizona Fall League, just to keep them in game shape in case the pitcher or position player is needed as an injury replacement in September or in the post-season.  

Remember, there is no longer any service time or age restriction on players assigned to the AFL. Players can even be asigned to the AFL for injury rehab if a club wishes to do that, although the pitcher or position-player must be able to play in AFL games without specific restrictions on workoad or playing time.   

WAS is now floating c.kieboom as a 3rd base option...along with asdrubal cabrera backing him up there.

the bryant service issue delay may end up lessening his trade value as teams (especially his #1 rumored suitor, WAS) prepare their teams in the offseason.

it's unfortunate that the cubs major offseason team building is based on waiting to find out how much getting rid of bryant is worth because of service time concerns.

As part of the 2019-2020 Cubs offseason dumpster diving extravaganza, I wonder if they will kick the tires on Zack Cozart. Can handle 2B SS 3B and isn't far removed from being a great defender and at least decent hitter. 2 years of injury is a concern, but he'd receive only ML minimum.

Theo got a good question at the conference on minor league salaries and went on record that they are unfair.  That was followed by "keep your ear to the ground" or some similar cliche.  I find this interesting.  Fan dissatisfaction this offseason is maily focused on ownership being cheap but you have to admit there is a (slim?) chance that the baseball moves we want to see are not currently possible.  It's hard to say the same about MiLB salaries.  Those don't even factor in the luxury tax.  You could raise every player in the system to middle class for the cost of one mid-level free agent deal and let your future big leaguers focus on training, development and nutrition instead of what part-time job they need to find in the off season to scrape by.  Or, you can be greedy.  If the Cubs don't make a unilateral move on MiLB salaries this season, has Epstein thrown ownership under the bus?  If the club president and GM want team policy on this to change, I can only think of one person who could stand in the way.

there are more than a few minor league players that have to "retire" from minor league ball in order to start making real money in the real world for their real lives while those from more wealthy families get to follow their dreams a bit longer.

that's a real shame.

it's not that these "rich kids" are bad...rex rundgren was/is known to be an extremely nice guy, for instance...but it's a shame that some guys have had to leave the game solely because an extra 10-20K a year (and in low levels, sometimes that's not even enough) is the difference between a highly stressful life and comfort, especially when you factor in all the travel time away from home.

So true.  The minors these days is an odd mix of the few who get big bonuses with Hispanic guys for whom $1,200/month might be good money and college guys being partly subsidized by middle or upper-middle class families.  You don't hear much about minor league economics when the discussion turns to lower participation by black players but I believe it's a big factor.  If you need to use sports to get ahead, would you rather have your "internship" involve a free college education, or $6,000 a year?  

without fail, at the end of every minor league spring training period (which is extremely poorly paid, not at all for the most part) there comes some retirements that seem to be a bit "early" in their development when players slog through weeks of low/no pay only to find out they're being assigned to a low level that barely pays them.  it's a real morale crasher after going through weeks of poverty that breaks some guys.  that's no way to run things...

Fair pay for minor leaguers and international free agents would soften the blow of nickel and diming the MLB payroll for sure. It won't happen until the players union represents minor league interests, of course, unless an outside law suit forces the minimum wage issue.

meanwhile "bitpartisan" lawmakers are working as hard as they can to make sure many labor/pay protection laws applicable to other workers don't apply to minor league teams for many years now by coding it into law or attempting to...

some of these same people are now crying foul over MLB team owner's plan to get rid of dozens of minor league teams for restructuring in order to save $$ by billionaire team owners.

"hey, we're doing this favor for you at the expense of workers.  remember this!" - lawmakers

"oh, we will." - MLB team owners

exhibit A - https://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2018/3/23/17152778/sp...

exhibit B - https://wqad.com/2019/12/04/new-save-minor-league-...

"Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports that the Marlins, Cubs, Rangers, and Brewers are "believed to be among the teams with some interest" in free agent reliever Pedro Strop.

Nicholson-Smith on Sunday that Strop had three offers in-hand (two from NL clubs and one from an AL club) and will likely make his decision soon."

some good news...or bad news depending on how you feel about it...for the k.bryant trade market...

"Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich on Monday indicated that Nolan Arenado will not be dealt prior to spring training and trade talks involving the third baseman are off for now."

now MLB and crew need to decide whether bryant has an extra year of club control or not...still waiting...

rangers, braves, and nats are supposedly looking at 3rd base upgrades.  cards are, too, but bryant to the cards would be a mutiny level trade decision.

ummm...nevermind...

""There’s a lot of disrespect from people there that I don’t want to be a part of," Arenado said. "You can quote that." Arenado added, "You ask what I thought of Jeff’s quotes and I say I don’t care what people say around there. There is a lot of disrespect."

The third baseman didn't want to elaborate on what he felt was disrespectful, but clearing the relationship between Arenado and the front office needs to be repaired."

The Cubs have signed LHRP Rex Brothers (ex COL, ex-ATL), RHRP Bryan Brickhouse, RHRP Juan Gamez (pitched in Mexican League in 2019), and RHRP Caleb Simpson to minor l;eague contracts, and Brothers is the only one of the four likely receive an NRI to Cubs MLB Spring Training. 

Rex Brothers has one minor league option left and Article XX-D status (so he can elect free-agency if outrighted) if he were to be added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2020. 

The Cubs have released eight players from their Dominican Academy: RHRP Donato Auguste, RHRP Marco Encarnacion, RHRP Rodrigo Garcia, RHRP Francisco Gracia, LHRP Anderson Parra, RHRP Willians Vasquez, 1B Jeinser Brete, and OF Kevin Miranda.  

Auguste, Encarnacion, Garcia, Parra, and Vasquez were second contract players (previously released by other organizations prior to signing with the Cubs), Encarnacion is presently serving a 72-game PED suspension and will not be eligible to pitch again until 2021, Vasquez used up his DSL eligibility and so it was AZL or Bust in 2020, and Gracia was loaned to Mexico City (Mexican League) last year and (although he remained under Cubs control post-2019) he was expected to remain in Mexico and pitch for the Red Devils in 2020.

Brete and Miranda were signed by the Cubs as 16-year old IFA (Brete in 2016 and Miranda in 2017), and Brete was actually considered a fairly decent prospect (as a bat-first corner-INF) when he signed, but he just never developed.   

The Josh Phegley, Bryan Brickhouse, Rex Brothers, Juan Gamez, and Caleb Simpson minor league contracts have been filed with MLB, but the Tyler Olson and Jason Adam contracts are still pending.  

RHSP Max Bain (contract acquired by Cubs from Utica Unicorns of USPBL last week) minor league UPC has not yet been filed with MLB. 

nice.  i love seeing the undrafted who still try to make a career get a shot.

it seems he's somewhat recently hit 97mph on his fastball which helped attract some interest.

https://uspbl.com/max-bain-signs-with-chicago-cubs/

good luck to the dude.

d.jeter and l.walker (10th and final year on ballot, 76.6%) are going to the HOF.

jeter got 99.75% of the vote...highest for a position player (griffey jr 99.32% 2016).  m.rivera got 100% last year.

larry walker decided to dress up for his first post-election interview.  class act.

https://i.ibb.co/Dfqtz1p/EO15-ODUX0-AU6id-Y-format...

That's a significant boost for being the face of the Yankees. Expected, but in retrospect he wasn't that much better than plenty of people who didn't have full support for the hall (Santo comes to mind).

*Tries to start an "over-rated" chant.*

5x gold glove...and earned 0 of them.

whatever.  hell of a hitter, and he played SS "good enough" to not embarass himself or the team.

but yeah, overrated even if he's a no-doubt 1st ballot hall of famer...which seems like an odd thing to say even if it's true (at least in the eyes of many).

I mean, the "overrated" criticism is always more about other people deserving of the honor being snubbed or put through more rigamarole. Jeter was definitely a great player for a long time. I just want people to remember that guys like Scott Rolen are not 60% less deserving, as the current voting system seems to indicate.

m.ozuna signs with the braves 1/18m.

he was expected to sign for similar pay over a number of years.  the cards must be "wtf?" about him walking away from the 17.8m qualifying offer, though.  at least they get a draft pick out of it.

meanwhile, the cubs have announced they're adding the Zac Brown Band as the 4th in-season concert to ruin the surface at wrigley field during the season while increasing profits for the team.  fun stuff.  hey, anyone remember that whole "cubs are gonna have so much $$ when they start their new broadcast network in 2020!" thing?  that's a fun memory.

speaking of the HOF...

schilling had a nice bump in his 8th eligable year going from 60.9% to 70.0%.  he's probably gonna get in next year...and if not for his abrasive personality and questionable interests outside of baseball he would probably already be in.  he's good enough to be there based on performance alone.

fellow 8th year guys bonds and clemens held steady, going up around 1% point to 60%-ish range.  they may or may not get some love entering their 9th or 10th years.

o.vizquel jumped 10% points to 52.6% in his 3rd year and is looking favorable going forward.  it may not be 2021, but he's starting to get attention.

b.wagner nearly doubled his total in his 5th eligable year after spending 4 hovering around 10-15%, but that's only 31.7%.  his low career 903ip total and single-inning-closer-only status isn't helping his case even though it was a dominate 903ip.  i have a feeling he'll eventually make it, but it will probably be a few more years.  dude only had 1 bad season in his entire career.

2021 is going to be a weak HOF class for new guys, featuring dudes who may not ever get in...torri hunter and mark buehrle leading the pack.

cubs trade for travis lakins for a PTBNL or cash considerations from the rsox.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/l/lakin...

RH reliever...low/mid 90s fastball and a mix of off-speed stuff (cutter, curve, change) he varries quite often...bit of control issues, but not wild...

Tommy Birch tweets that Taylor Davis has signed with the Orioles. Hate to see him go. I will never forget his GS against the Deadbirds.

Cubs on the brink of actually signing a free agent to a major league contract

https://twitter.com/ken_rosenthal/status/1220789290575245313?s=21

replies are hillarious...

also, i hope this is an expected bench player move...especially since he destroyed his left knee in 2019 missing the entire year...and wasn't healthy in 2018.

Have to believe it's a bench move. Souza has an interesting background - pretty quick synopsis of him as a player and teammate in Bleacher Nation:

https://www.bleachernation.com/cubs/2020/01/24/cubs-reportedly-close-to-signing-outfielder-steven-souza-jr/

yeah, but he severely wrecked his left knee, like 3-4 different structures in his left knee.  he had to have a total reconstruction.

he must have had something resembling a decent workout if he got a MLB deal, though...or the front office feels pressured to do something.  it's no secret the cubs checked in on his availabilty years ago so they do have a historical interest in him.

found an article... https://www.mlb.com/news/steven-souza-jr-has-knee-...

"Souza sustained a torn ACL, LCL and partial tear of his PCL and posterior lateral capsule while slipping on home plate in the second-to-last exhibition game of the spring."

ow.

CRUNCH: That was why the D'backs non-tendered Souza even though they need outfielders. It was a really catastrophic knee injury. He's lucky if he can walk without a limp, much less run.   

This might be another rehab signing, like Smyly in 2018 and Graveman last year. 

If the Cubs sign Steven Souza Jr to an MLB contract and he doesn't spend most or all of the 2020 season on the 60-day IL, he has Article XIX-A rights (he has accrued five-plus years of MLB Service Time) so even though he has two minor league options left he cannot be optioned (or outrighted) to the minors without his consent.

Also, Souza will be an Article XX-B MLB FA post-2020 if he accrues at least 100 days of MLB Service Time in 2020 (and players do accrue MLB ST while on the IL), presuming there are no player, mutual, and/or club options in the contract. 

I would think it would be a low base salary (maybe $1M) with performance bonuses based upon days spent on the MLB active list. 

I thought he might be getting a minor league deal or like you suggest be rehabbing from the IL to start the year. But Rosenthal tweeted yesterday that it's expected to be a major league deal and Souza's twitter account shows videos of him running bases, taking BP, etc. Supposedly has been running at 100% since November. 

BRADSBEARD: Unfortunately the video doesn't show how his knee looked the day after the workout, whether he can run and take BP two days in a row, if he needs to take pain meds before or after he does physical activity, and/or if he has to have his knee drained every couple of weeks. 

If I were the Cubs I would stay away from rehab guys who are unwilling to sign a minor league contract (minor league salaries do not count against a club's CBT AAV and a player signed to a minor league contract can be released anytime up through the first two weeks of the MLB regular season with two weeks salary as termination pay even if he is injured).

So if he wants an MLB deal, I'd take a pass, especially if the Cubs are concerned about getting under and then staying under the CBT AAV threshold.  

Sure would be nice to rehab a player and then have them stick around and help out the team. Fingers crossed for Souza.

Since the deal isn't official, I wonder if the Cubs will wait until camp opens to finalize the deal and then put him on the 60 day IL as soon as it's available (assuming it's a major league deal). That doesn't really make sense in light of their luxury tax maneuvering though. If he's gonna miss a third of the season they'd probably only offer a minor league deal I guess. 

cd pellham outrighted to AAA and off the 40-man roster.

Pelham has cleared waivers and was assigned to Iowa.

As I mentioned here last year when he was claimed off waivers, Pelham does not have the right to elect free-agency if he is outrighted and he will not be a minor league 6YFA until post-2021 (so he will be under club control through the 2021 season, and eligible for selection in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft if he is not added back to the 40 in the meantime). 

left handed tyler chatwood can go ahead and get picked in the rule5 if he puts up numbers like he has recently...

MLB released their 2020 prospect list...  http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2020/?list=prospects

#51 nico hoerner

#68 brailyn marquez

#78 brennen davis

#95 miguel amaya

Morosi reporting that the Reds are favorites for Castellanos. Seems like a good direction for them if they can deal with his defense in LF. They look to have the best sarting rotation in the division (or close to it) as things stand. If they can squeeze more offense out of the OF and skate by with their bullpen, they could hang reasonably close to the Cards-Brewers-Cubs pack. I'll be curious to see how much money they throw at him if they do sign him. Being younger has to get him more money than Ozuna, right?

I'm not really on the Castellanos hype train. But it must feel nice to see your team doing something to improve.

maybe if the cubs can squeeze a 5th in-season concert at wrigley they can sign addison russell.

What's pretty obvious is that the Cubs 2020 salary budget is $208m AAV.  Whatever Theo/Jed can field with that number (existing players, trades, and/or signings). They could generate $100m from Marquee, concerts, Wrigleyville, etc and it's NOT going to translate into more $$$ for players.  Very sad, frustrating, and maddening. 

If I was negotiating the next CBA for the MLBPA, I  would make clear to the owners we will be signing NO agreement that includes the AAV Salary provision.  That gets stricken. MLBPA will negotiate on arbitration, free agency years, benefits,  etc but NO defacto salary cap.

in all honesty, the team is spending a healthy amount that i only jokingly complain about...but...it was not just fans talking about the extra perks the new revenue streams and tv contract would open.  it was ownership and front office at points in the past bringing it up.

i feel a little dissapointed, but at the same time i appreciate this is a top tier spending team.  i also see what's here vs what's in the minors and i feel like this could be a missed opportunity by waiting for the trade deadline to see if the front office gets additional inputs (if that's even in play).  i'd rather the gamble be funded up front.  april and may wins count the same as august and september wins.

There seemed to be a least an tacit understanding between ownership and fans during the rebuild that we as fans should support the organization when it was intentionally underspending and tanking. When it was time to be competitive, you know when the greatest core of Cubs players in my lifetime are in their prime, ownership would make the most of that window. That doesn't appear to be the case with the team shedding around $40 million in salary. 

I understand the need to reset the luxury tax penalities, but it seems 2022 would be a good year to do so.  We can all take off that season and I could pursue my interests in competive checkers or whatever. 

nick castellanos to the reds, 4/64m...opt out after 1 year.

meanwhile, on the cubs front...

"Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports that the Cubs continue to have interest in free agent Scooter Gennett. "

wtf...

Good for Nick. Good luck to him and the Reds improving his defense. That park should very much play to his offense.

Interest in Gennett is strange. If you are going to pick up a bench infielder at this point, shouldn't it be someone with SS chops?

the entire cubs offseason has been "wow, this guy was good 2-3 years ago, but didn't play or sucked in recent past."

houston finished using their trash can and the cubs are rooting around in it looking for players.

speaking of...it's taken MLB longer to figure out bryant's service time complaint than the entire astros cheating scandal.

"Chicago Cubs selected the contract of LHP Adam Choplick from Southern Maryland Blue Crabs."

okay.  sure.  congrats and good luck.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player...

The Cubs have purchased the contract of LHP Adam Choplick from Southern Maryland (Atlantic League) and he has been assigned to AA Tennessee.

Choplick was the 14th round draft pick of the Texas Rangers out of the U. of Oklahoma in 2015, and he was released by the Rangers at the end of Spring Training 2019 (never got higher than AA). 

I saw Choplick throw (long-toss) at Instructs this morning and he is one huge dude (6'9 250+). 

I can positively confirm that Jerrick Suiter (1B-OF selected by Cubs from Pirates in Minor League Phase of last month';s Rule 5 Draft) is indeed being converted to a RHP. I saw him throw long-toss this morning at Instructs. 

And Max Bain threw (long toss) at Instructs this morning, too. 

Cory Abbott, Ben Hecht, Ryan Lawlor, and Brailyn Marquez were in a separate group on Field #3, so they may be prepping for NRIs to MLB Spring Training.   

It's great to start getting reports from the Instructs. Keep them coming Phil!

The "Under Armour Performamce Center" (UAPC) at the Cubs facility in Mesa in now called the "Chicago Cubs Performance Center" (CCPC). All references to Under Armour have disappeared. 

cubs signing jeremy "smoke 2 joints" jeffress

1/850K

s.souza 1/1m finalized.

could be up to 3m after performance and non-IL (injury list) incentives.

it seems he'll be giving rest to schwarb/heyward vs lefties at a minimum.  it will be interesting to see him play OF this spring to see how much distance he can cover (and on back-to-back days).

dusty baker confrimed new HOU manager.

news was up/down all day with "confirmations" and "not confirmed yet" but other candidates have evidently been notified they're out of running and dusty's their dude.

his wheelhouse is reigning in "troubled" clubhouses in need of focus and direction, and that's what he's inheriting.

also, tony barnette has retired.

Orioles claim RHRP Travis Lakins off waivers from the Cubs. 

Kinda surprised it was Lakins and not Sadler. Lakins could have ridden the Iowa shuttle, no such luck with Sadler.

AZ Phil, are Quintero, Altuve, Made, Jose Lopez, and Simon at Instructs.?

The Cubs have signed post-2019 minor league 6YFA LHRP Matt Tenuta (ex-KC, ex-SEA) to a 2020 minor league contract. 

The Cubs have signed RHRP Ben Taylor (ex-BOS, ex-CLE) to a 2020 minor league contract. 

The contract was signed in December but wasn't filed until last month because the MLB office was closed over the Christmas - New Year's holidays. 

The Cubs have signed post-2019 second-contract minor league FA catcher Jordan Procyshen to a 2020 minor league contract and he has been assigned to AA Tennessee.  

b.colon has signed to a mexican league team.  woo old dudes.  he turns 47 in may...believed by some to be older.

Minnie Minoso was playing in the Mexican League (as a DH) at age 47 and Julio Franco was playing in the Mexican League (as a DH) at age 49, so Mexican League teams clearly do not have a problem with signing older players. 

And of course the ageless Satchel Paige was still working as a SP in AAA (with the Miami Marlins) into his early 50's (and prior to that he pitched in MLB as late as age 46).  

The Cubs have released 13 minor leaguers: 

LHP Andres Bonalde 
RHP Alfredo Colorado 
RHP Julio Guante
OF Albert Hinirio 
RHP M. T. Minacci 
INF Rafael Narea 
INF Herson Perez 
RHP Tyler Peyton 
RHP Casey Ryan 
LHP Saul Vazquez 
RHP Omar Ventura 
OF Ricardo Verenzuela 
OF Brandon Vicens 

The Cubs have signed post-2019 minor league 6YFA 1B-OF Jordan Patterson (ex-COL) and RHRP Dario Beltre to 2020 minor league contracts.

Patterson (who has considerable AAA experience and some MLB time as well) was assigned to AAA Iowa and Beltre (who has not pitched above AA in ten minor league seasons) was assigned to AA Tennessee. 

Jordan Patterson will not get an NRI to MLB Spring Training but he will likely get considerable playing time in Cubs MLB Cactus League games as he competes with Corban Joseph for AAA Iowa primary 1B. 

As things stand right now, 109 pitchers and 20 catchers are scheduled to report to Cubs Minor League Camp next week. 

The Cubs have officially signed C-1B Alberto Mineo to a 2020 minor league contract and he has been assigned to AA Tennessee. 

A native of Italy, Mineo was signed by the Cubs as a 16 year old J-2 IFA in November 2010. He was one of three players signed by the Cubs out of the MLB European Academy in Turin, Italy in the years 2008-10 (Italian RHP Alex Maestri and  Dutch INF Dwayne Kemp were the other two).

Mineo was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the Minor League Phase of the 2017 Rule 5 Draft and spent the last two seasons in the Jays organization before becoming a minor league 6YFA post-2019. He will likely play for Team Italy in the WBC next year. 

Ian Rice is no longer a catcher. Since he is blocked at 1B by Joseph, Patterson, Rivas, and Young, he is learning to play 3B. 

The Cubs have released minor league catcher Rafelin Lorenzo. He was selected from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the AAA Phase of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft and spent the 2019 season at South Bend. He was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2020. 

Baseball America is showing a big group of players that have been released.

Some of the players cut I am not too surprised by. Some of them I think are definitely victims of the minor league pay thing and being squeezed out.

That said, I am very surprised they gave up already on Riley McCauley and Niels Stone.

Years of over-drafting pitching shown here.   A lot of pitchers cut today accomplished something, had a setback or plateaued, then got no second chance because of too many pitchers for too few innings.  I've heard Theo's line about how it's easier to identify the hitters than pitchers.  That doesn't change the fact that if your MLB team is 50% pitchers or less, drafting 60%+ pitchers year after year puts enormous stress on player development and evaluation.  I'm willing to bet that at least one of the guys cut today throws a pitch in the big leagues someday, which is more than has happened for the vast majority of the pitchers who have remained in the Cubs' system in recent years.

In addition to 40 players signed to 2020 MLB contracts, after releasing 22 minor leaguers this week the Cubs now have 279 players signed to 2020 minor league contracts (plus one minor leaguer on the Restricted List), for a total of 320 players in the organization (181 pitchers, 30 catchers, 60 infielders, and 49 outfielders).   

Jim Frey passed away on Sunday. He was 88 yrs. Az Phil probably has some good stories especially the 84 Cubs. We lost Glenn Beckett last week too. Wonderful hitter and told great stories as one could imagine because he was Ron Santo's roommate.

Totally missed that one.  Bummer.

Him and Don Zimmer went to highschool together (and part of the reason Zim became a Cubs manager).

Two issues I have not seen addressed by MLB with regard to the possible (and now likely) cancellation of the 2020 minor league season is whether a minor leaguer who is (was) eligible to be a 6YFA post-2020 will get credit for a minor league season in 2020 so that he can qualify to be a minor league 6YFA post-2020, and whether a player on the MLB 40-man roster who was optioned to the minors during Spring Training (for the Cubs that would be Alzolay, M. Amaya, R. Garcia, Maples, T. Miller, Norwood, Rea, M. Rodriguez, Z, Short, and Steele) will burn an option year if there is no minor league season in 2020.  

What I think MLB should have done was treat the postponed games as postponed games, where official MLB Opening Day is (and remains) Thursday March 26th and so all MLB clubs would have been required to get down to the 26-man active list roster limit (max 13 pitchers) by that date (the Cubs would have probably optioned Cotton, Hoerner, Tepera, and Winkler to Iowa), and minor league "full season" clubs would have had to get down to their 25-man active list rosters by minor league "full season" Opening Day (Thursday April 9th), with all other players on minor league full season reserve lists assigned to Extended Spring Training.

MLB Service Time would have been accrued by players on the MLB 26-man roster (or MLB IL) but not by players on Optional Assignment to the minors, but players on Optional Assignment would burn a minor league option year if optioned for at least 20 days.  

Also, MLB Clubs would have had until the 5th day prior to MLB Opening Day (March 21st) to decide whether to add a post-2019 Article XX-B MLB free-agent signed to 2020 minor league contract (for the Cubs that would be Jason Kipnis and Brandon Morrow) to the 40-man roster, retain the player on a minor league contract but the player receives a $100K retention bonus and an automatic  June 1st opt-out, or release the player. 

I suspect if the Cubs would have had to make those decisions that Kipnis would have been added to the 40 on 3/21 (with either Daniel Descalso released or Brad Wieck placed on the 60-day IL), while Morrow would have been released and then offered a new (different) 2020 minor league contract without a retention bonus or 6/1 iop-out.  

And then as of minor league Opening Day all minor league players (including players on Optional Assignmernt to the minors from an MLB 40-man roster) would have been placed on the minor league-only "Temporarily Inactive List" (unpaid leave but players get minor league service time credit toward minor league free-agency). For "short season"  leagues the same process would happen as of that league's Opening Day in June. 

Keep in mind that if the World Series is cancelled, that October 15th becomes the date when MLB and minor league players are declared free-agents (9 AM Eastern for MLB Article XX-B FA and 5 PM Eastern for minor league Rule 55 second-contract FA and 6YFA).  

Just a few wild and wacky thoughts while in hibernation.

Given that at most there will be 100 games (probably less) and Jon Lester discussing his future thoughts beyond his current contract (on MLBTR today) and David Ross as manager...could John Lackey be having thoughts of un-retiring to be 5th starter again? (ducks from thrown pitchfork). Alas, the gang's all back never works (recalling Ryno un-retiring), Dexter Fowler (the Cub version, not the Cardinal DF) I miss you too.

Did Trump really go to Phoenix to see Honeywell make facemasks or was the real reason to meet with Arizona Phil and discuss when the baseball season will resume?

i hope we get enough 2020 games to remember 2020 as a season.  at least we have another year of k.bryant under contract unless the cubs plan on trading him in his last year of club control...

i was looking forward to seeing david ross run a roster/game and the marquee network hinted strongly during sping games that we could be seeing an elevated TV role for mark grace (though some may not look forward to grace having too much mic time).

I hope Grace and JD and Len are on frequent Zoom calls to build rapport. The inning or so I heard of them early on was rough.

nothing based on anything of known fact...but i would not be surpirsed to see len and grace in the booth when jd's contract is up.  marquee was very stoked to sign grace and added grace to additional spring broadcasts to be in the booth beyond what was expected going into spring...which didn't happen because the world shut down while shopping for toilet paper became the new national pasttime.

there were also plans to give JD time off later in spring to get grace/len/sutcliffe into the booth as a trio...which didn't happen because...yeah...

that said, len + 2 ex-players might be something marquee is going for.  the 3-man booth isn't anything new or out of the ordinary...

I would definitely miss JD. I'm sure Sutcliffe and Grace have more appeal for casual, older fans. But JD is the better analyst and a much chiller and more humble commentator.

Agreed. JD is awesome. He would be missed.

I wouldnt shed a tear if Len got let go though.

i'm still missing len/bob over here.  they had crazy good chemistry and could play off of things they were setting up for each other really quickly.

i like jd and he was by far the best (at least one of the best) options for the cubs booth...nice pickup.  len/jd took a while to warm up to proper temperature, though.

"Javier Baez told ESPN's Marly Rivera that his contract extension negotiations with the Cubs have been put on hold.

Baez said he and the Cubs had multiple "really good" conversations about a long-term deal this spring, but the parties involved have not reconvened on the topic since camps were shut down in March amid the coronavirus outbreak. "Obviously, we want to reach an agreement, but right now everything is on hiatus," said Baez, who is currently under contract through 2021."

2020 draft will take place, but it will only be 5 rounds.  june 10-11...

undrafted players still fall under the 20K singing limit.  2021 draft should be deep.

So should 2023.

"The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reports that MLB will try for a regular season in the 80-game range and expanded playoffs.

The league is set for a conference call with the 30 owners on Monday, and if all goes well then, the league will sent a proposal to the MLBPA on Tuesday. The season would likely begin in early July in as many cities as possible and without fans present."

Owners voted to restart in July. Players union now to negotiate deal with owners.

82 game schedule.

14 teams make the postseason. 

players union already "hell naw" the owner's revenue pay structure proposal (owners proposing players get 48-50% of revenues as payment)...this might take more than a day or 2.  they had to expect this, though.

Can't wait for the owners' smear campaign against the players!

Lol. Might be time to just start the strike and begin CBA negotiations.

2021 WBC moved to 2023.

a couple of unrelated views on covid from some ballplayers...

sean doolittle - https://twitter.com/whatwouldDOOdo/status/12599204...

corey black - https://twitter.com/CblackCHC/status/1258123066405...

Corey "drastically less talented Trevor Bauer" Black

a few more details from AP/Tribune...

MLB owners OK plan to start season without fans in July

by Ronald Blum Associated Press

Major League Baseball owners gave the go-ahead Monday to making a proposal to the players’ union that could lead to the coronavirus-delayed season starting around the Fourth of July weekend in ballparks without fans, a plan that envisioned expanding the designated hitter to the National League for 2020.

Spring training would start in early to mid-June, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the plan were not announced.

Each team would play about 82 regular-season games, most against opponents in its own division with interleague matchups limited to AL East vs. NL East, AL Central vs. NL Central and AL West vs. NL West.

Postseason play would be expanded from 10 clubs to 14 by doubling wild cards in each league to four.

Teams would prefer to play at their regular-season ballparks but would switch to spring training stadiums or neutral sites if medical and government approvals can’t be obtained for games at home.

The All-Star Game, scheduled for Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on July 14, likely would be called off.

Cant Kushner settle this.? The twirp can do it all.

it's already settled.  in fact, the cubs are in 1st place bigly and thanks to great presidential leadership ballpark attendance is at record levels.   ...and the ratings, oh man the ratings, all time high.  never bigger.  the teams are all thankful for great presidential leadership.  baseball was over during obama and trump brought it back, but you won't hear that from the lamestream media.

george steinbrenner personally called trump without a clue what to do about this and the modelo virus task force created a plan, the likes of which no one has ever seen before.  baseball is re-opening thanks to this administration and only they could have done it.  they call it "baseball opening plan for opening baseball in order to watch baseball"...that's what they call it.  you've seen it.

also, uniform number 42 is no longer retired across all teams because that's Chinese commie nazi socialism caravan stuff and we stand for the flag.

If I may offer a critique... not enough exclamation points. Also no misspelled words or odd and random capitalization.

I know, I know, everyone's a critic. I do give very high marks to the tone and balance between attacking/ blaming others for failures and taking all credit on anything portrayed in a positive fashion.

file this under DESPERATELY missing baseball...

Andre Dawson makes it to MSNBC cable channel. He's being interviewed by Craig Melvin to see how his current job as funeral home director is being affected by coronavirus impact on South Florida families.  They did mention his 49 HR season and Cub MVP with a few old photos.  Odd seeing him in this context. Hawk was wearing a mask in multiple pics. Back of parlor rooms full of coffins and boxes and plastic covers (labeled Head). The universe is not going to be the same for quite some time.

and his cell phone reception was crap...

also, the rooms full of coffins packed in closely was/is a creepy reality.

He used to bury pitchers.

art howe in ICU with covid...73 years old, btw.

he's awake, aware, and communicating.

some audio from him describing his symptoms...

https://www.click2houston.com/sports/2020/05/14/fo...

So the Minneapolis cop who murdered George Floyd is on suicide watch. Gosh, I sure hope that pathetic piece of shit doesn't take his own life. How can MAGA be true if pigs like this fuck die? Think of the white people!!!

if he does die by "suicide", I would blame Bill Barr and look into a real conspiracy.

Crunch, I'm looking at you. You dominate this site, you never don't comment. Say something meaningful now this country is effed if our current pussy is reelected. Personally I would love tomorrow's headline to be he died an agonizing death. It's time we bring this motherfucket down. 

i'm not a fan of this administration.  i'm not a fan of someone holding office who's rise to political prominence involved insisiting, with proof he clamed, that the current elected president at the time was not a citizen of the United States.

we watched as state after state was slowly "won over" by promises of keeping out muslims and hispanics as the most important issue that could help elevate the state of our country.

we saw him lie about the size of his inauguration and continue to insist his lie was the truth even with photo and video evidence very obviously showing otherwise.  this was the beginning of a long post-election trend.

the attacks on the media should be more universally alarming, but getting into that could lead to about 20 more paragraphs...

to this day donald trump still polls among GOP voters as the most popular president they've ever elected.  he gets record support not just amongst his hardcore base, but the entire GOP.

we have a donald trump problem, but he may be a highly advanced and dangerous symptom rather than the actual disease.

go cubs.

Well said, Crunch. #Resistance 

'we have a donald trump problem, but he may be a highly advanced and dangerous symptom rather than the actual disease.'

Surely true, dear Crunch. Trump has emboldened the ugly fact that America's cruel underbelly is still racism and police brutality that forwards that original sin. 

America NEEDS its HEROES.

Baseball always reflects America. Time for this generation's Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson to bravely step forward.

Go Cubs. I miss Ernie Banks.

P.S. Don't call me Shirley, surely.

Bravo Crunch!

Well said Crunch.

In other words:  This lineup sucks.

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  • azbobbop 7 hours 14 min ago (view)

    Phil, saw Ethan Hearn with a couple of hits today. How has he been trending?

     

  • tim815 23 hours 6 min ago (view)

    That Kevin Made is already representing offensively seems, on the 1 to 10 scale with 10 being fantastic news, in the 17 or 18 range.

    Nwogu in the 9 to 11 span.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 16 hours ago (view)

    For those of you wondering about catcher Ronnier Quintero (the Cubs #1 IFA signing in the 2019-20 ISP), he participates fully in pre-game and Camp Day work-outs and he catches bullpens, and while he has been the bullpen catcher at every AZIL game he has not yet played in a game.

    As a catcher he has a lot to learn, and the Cubs would prefer that Quintero mainly concentrates on receiving and learning how to work with pitchers right now. He can learn about hitting and baserunning later. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 17 hours ago (view)

    In adition to the 22 pitchers originally on the Cubs AZIL Active List roster plus RHP Manuel Rodriguez (right biceps strain last March) and LHP Brad Wieck (wearing a brace on his left knee) who are on the Cubs MLB 60-day IL and are rehabbing at AZIL, the Cubs have added four additional pitchers to their AZIL Active List roster:  

    RHP Josh Burgmann 
    RHP Chris Clarke 
    LHP D. J. Herz
    RHP Michael McAvene 

     

  • Charlie 2 days 13 hours ago (view)

    This is weird. He seemed well liked and shifting him to another role would've made just as much sense.

     

  • bradsbeard 2 days 18 hours ago (view)

    I'd say the only guys who struggled all season were Baez and Bryant. Willson struggled for a lot of August but was one of the few who hit in September. Most of the team hit well in 2019 (including Baez and Bryant before injuries derailed them). I don't know if there's any reason to blame Ipoce in particular for the September slump. 

     

  • crunch 3 days 8 hours ago (view)

    iapoce expected to stay.  i'm surprised.  i know it's a weird/short season, but it was a season-long slump for a lot of guys and answers weren't showing up.

     

  • crunch 3 days 9 hours ago (view)

    i eagerly await the espn 10 part mini-series "Rafael Palmeiro, More Like Rafael Baseballmerio" covering those 28 legendary games.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 9 hours ago (view)

    In fairness those 28 games he played at 1B were breathtaking that year

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 9 hours ago (view)

    Cubs fire asst. hitting coach Terrmel Sledge. I knew it was his fault!

     

  • crunch 3 days 9 hours ago (view)

    shout out to 1999 1st base gold glove winner rafael palmeiro.  25 starts (28 games total) at 1st...128 starts at DH.

     

  • Charlie 4 days 11 hours ago (view)

    Lol at Nico getting nominated for riding the bench a lot.

     

  • crunch 4 days 13 hours ago (view)

    RF Jason Heyward, SS Javier Baez, 2B Nico Hoerner, 1B Anthony Rizzo, C Willson Contreras, and Ps Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills gold glove finalists

     

  • bradsbeard 4 days 16 hours ago (view)

    Thank you, sir! Sounds like a nice get for the Cubs, and a good project for (what's left of) the new development infrastructure. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 days 17 hours ago (view)

    There have been some holes in the AZIL east-side schedule, with one team canceling games last week (although they are back playing this week) and another canceling game this week due to CoViD-19 issue, so the other teams (like the Cubs) are making up some of the "lost" games with intrasquad and in-house "sim" games. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 days 18 hours ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: From what I have seen of Jacob Wetzel so far (BP, fielding practice, base-running drills, sim games, AZIL games, and yesterday's intasquad game), I would say he looks like a football running back playing baseball in that he has a high motor and plays with a bit of an edge.

    He has a thick body but he also has plus speed (very much like a football running back in that respect), he runs the bases aggressively, makes hard contact, has HR power, a decent arm, maybe can use some work in the outfield as far as tracking balls.