Projected Cubs 2021 Spring Training Roster

UPDATED  2/5

There will no doubt be trades, MLB and minor league free-agent signings, waiver claims, perhaps even a Rule 5 Draft pick, some non-tenders on 12/2, and maybe one or more Cubs minor leaguers will get taken in the Rule 5 Draft, but - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - here is the preliminary projected Cubs Spring Training roster:  

40 players presently are on MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full)
37 projected NON-ROSTER INVITEES (NRI) 

Last updated 2-5-2021
 
* bats or throws left
# bats both

MLB PITCHERS: 25
Cory Abbott 
Jason Adam
Adbert Alzolay
* Andrew Chafin
Zach Davies 
Gray Fenter
Kyle Hendricks 
Jonathan Holder
Craig Kimbrel
Dillon Maples
* Brailyn Marquez
Tyson Miller 
Alec Mills
James Norwood
Manuel Rodriguez 
* Kyle Ryan
* Justin Steele
Kohl Stewart
Robert Stock
Keegan Thompson
Duane Underwood Jr
* Brad Wieck 
Rowan Wick 
Trevor Williams
Dan Winkler

NRI PITCHERS: 21
Joe Biagini  
James Bourque
Craig Brooks
* Rex Brothers
* Burl Carraway 
Juan Gamez 
Ryan Jensen 
Jake Jewell 
Trevor Kelley 
* Luis Lugo 
Trevor Megill
Dakota Mekkes
Shelby Miller
* Adam Morgan 
* Jack Patterson 
Duncan Robinson
Michael Rucker  
* Wyatt Short 
Riley Thompson 
* Jerry Vasto 
Joe Wieland

++++++++++++

CATCHERS: 3  
Miguel Amaya
Willson Contreras
Austin Romine 

NRI CATCHERS: 3  
# Taylor Gushue 
P. J. Higgins 
Tyler Payne 

+++++++++++++++

INFIELDERS: 8 
# Sergio Alcantara
Javy Baez  
David Bote
Kris Bryant
Nico Hoerner
Christopher Morel
* Anthony Rizzo
# Ildemaro Vargas

NRI INFIELDERS: 6  
Abiatal Avelino 
Matt Duffy 
Trent Giambrone 
* Alfonso Rivas
Chase Strumpf
Patrick Wisdom

++++++++++++++++++++

OUTFIELDERS: 4
Phillip Ervin 
# Ian Happ
* Jason Heyward
* Joc Pederson

NRI OUTFIELDERS: 7 
Brennen Davis
* Donnie3 Dewees 
Michael Hermosillo
Eddy Julio Martinez 
* Nick Martini 
* Ian Miller 
* Rafael Ortega 
 

Comments

Jack Patterson, yes.

Cool concept.

no, joe patterson.

cubs 27th round pick from 1972 found a little something extra in his arm and he's making a comeback as a pitcher at age 70.  this is how you do moneyball 2021...we don't need theo...he's irrelevant now.

1970s pitchers are a market inefficiency

there are currently 0 signed...so it's an untapped market ripe for picking the best of the best.

well, bill 'spaceman' lee is probably out there pitching for a low-level Cuban team being paid in weed or something similar.

The "Big Three" Cubs first-time Rule 5 Draft-eligibles post-2021 will be RHSP Riley Thompson, 1B-LF Alfonso Rivas, and LHSP Jack Patterson (at least as far as things stand right now), so they will need to be scrutinized as much as possible during the course of the 2021 season (including at MLB Spring Training); That's why those three (in particular) need to get an NRI.  

As Jed is promoted to President of Baseball Ops, then when will be expect a formal announcement of who the "official" GM is?

i haven't even heard a rumor...which is interesting since "virtual" winter meetings start in a couple weeks.

surprised dan kantrovitz hasn't been named "interim GM" or something...which makes me wonder how wide of a net they're casting to fill the position.  he was snagged from the A's and was an assistant GM there (and director of scouting for STL).

Waiting for Ryan Pace to be available.  He should be a week from tomorrow.

https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/19-mlb-pro...

BA's list of 19 prospects who impressed at Instructs. One Cub:

Chase Strumpf, 2B, Cubs

Strumpf began showing opposite-field home run power during instructs while maintaining the calm, controlled approach extolled by scouts since he was drafted. He led all Cubs' hitters in hits, runs, home runs and OPS and showed just enough defensive ability to solidify his longstanding projection as a potential bat-first, everyday second baseman.

Jed Hoyer gets a new 5 yr contract that runs through 2025 season. 

minor league hitting coordinator chris valaika moves up assistant hitting instructor for the big league team.

looks like a.iapoce's job is safe.

With Tepera non-tendered and Winkler, Ryan, and Rea signed, the Cubs 2021 Opening Day bullpen (right now) would appear to be Kimbrel (clearly not tradeable), Wick (virtual lock), Winkler (can't be optioned without his consent), Underwood (out of minor league options), and Maples (out of minor league options), and then three from amongst Adam, Norwood, Rea, Ryan, Stock, and Wieck (each of whom can be optioned back & forth to AAA as needed). And that's presuming the MLB Opening Day roster limit is 26 with a maximum of 13 pitchers, which it might not be (it could be 27 or 28 and/or no max roster limit vis-a-vis pitchers).   

 And with six slots open on the 40, the Cubs can go crazy this off-season with mucho waiver claims (like Robert Stock), Rule 5 Draft picks, and/or acquiring DFA'd relievers (for cash or marginal prospects) if they so desire. 

I would think that both Colin Rea and Kyle Ryan must have signed contracts with minor league split salaries, otherwise I doubt very much that they would have been tendered. 

Besides the guys on the 40, Cubs 2021 NRI relievers with a legit chance to win a bullpen slot in Spring Training include LHRPs Josh Osich and Rex Brothers, and RHRPs Jake Jewell, Trevor Megill, Dakota Mekkes, Michael Rucker, and Joe Wieland (presuming they are not taken in the Rule 5 Draft). 

Brothers and Wieland are out of minor league options, however, so if added to the 40 they could not ride the "Chicago - Des Moines Shuttle" like the others could. 

At least as things stand right now, Kris Bryant is your Cubs de facto 2021 Opening Day LF! (Of course we know he will be traded before then...). 

Otherwise, minor league NRI outfielders Ian Miller, Michael Hermosillo, and Rafael Ortega will be competing for Opening Day OF slots, with a legit shot to win a job.

Even Alfonso Rivas (who was hitting rockets from foul line to foul line at AZ Instructs) and/or Eddy Julio Martinez (who has had a very good winter in the Mexican Pacific League) might have a shot.  

I really hope Rivas has a chance at the LF job. Would ease some of the sting of Schwarber being cut loose. 

I hadn't thought of that but I really like that option

Alfonso Rivas reminds me a bit of Rafael Palmeiro when Palmeiro first came up to the big leagues and was a "doubles machine" (before he started hitting home runs).   

Rivas played D-1 baseball at the University of Arizona, so (just like Nico Hoerner, who also played in the PAC-12) I don't think he needs a lot of additional time at AAA before he's ready for MLB. He's a very advanced hitter, as long as you are OK with lots of doubles & lots of walks but not many HR.   

BTW, Rivas was a two-way player in college (1B / LHRP) so he definitely has enough arm for LF, but his fly ball tracking needs work. (He spent a lot of time in LF at AZ Instructs, possibly because the Cubs were already planning to move-on from Schwarber as their LF). Rivas is very good at 1B, though, just in case the Cubs are unable to sign Rizzo to an extension.    

Keep in mind that Rivas is eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft for the first time post-2021 (and he's a virtual lock to get added to the 40), so if the Cubs think he's ready he could get called up to MLB at any time in 2021 without too much of a second thought. 

2B Chase Strumpf (another PAC-12 guy who was very impressive at Instructs) could be ready for MLB pretty soon, too (although he's not Rule 5 Draft eligible until post-2022, so his ETA is probably more like sometime in 2022).  

Rivas and Strumpf are the most advanced legit Cubs MLB position player prospects. They are just like the kind of polished D-1 college position player guys the Cardinals are always bringing up seemingly out of nowhere (like Carpenter, DeJong, Edman, Wong, Piscotty, Bader, Knizner, Voit, et al).   

Do you have any idea why Rivas and Strumpf weren't at the alternate site in South Bend? I thought Rivas especially showed enough in ST games to be viewed as a legitimate depth option, especially with the DH. 

BRADSBEARD: Strumpf was wearing a cast on his hand in Minor League Camp before everything got shut-down in March so his not being at South Bend might have had something to do with that. I don't know why Rivas wasn't at the ATS. 

I dont understand how they can procede with the Winter Meetings without knowing the "ground rules" for 2021 such as the DH in the National League.

"we'll give you (players) the DH if you give us (owners) expanded playoffs" is one of the most lopsided negociations in recent memory.

something that slightly benefits part of the game (older and bad-defense hitters) for something that greatly benefits a bigger chunk of a pool of 30 owners.

I'm sure the owners will do the right thing and pass those profits down, they won't just hoard all that money to themselves. Right?

.....right?

manfred announces no universal DH for 2021.

That's some weak ass bullshit. 

I hate the DH, so I am cool with the news.

I'm less enthused about the reason for this being that the owners are being assholes about expanding the playoffs.

The Rangers DFA'd OF Scott Heineman today, and if he is available via waivers or trade the Cubs should attempt to acquire him.  

I saw Heineman play in the AFL a few years ago and he is a decent MLB 4th OF (he has above-average speed, he can play all three OF positions and 1B, and he takes a lot of walks).

When I saw him play in the AFL he had as many walks as strikeouts.  

With Scott Heineman having been traded to the Reds by the Rangers after being Designated for Assignment, another OF has been Designated for Assignment that the Cubs should pursue: 

Phillip Ervin (ex-CIN) was DFA'd by the Seattle Mariners yesterday, and he would be a good fit with the Cubs in 2021. He mashes LHP, he has had really good numbers at Wrigley Field, he has above-average speed and is a plus base-runner (he was a star wide receiver in HS), he has a plus-arm (he was a two-way player in college), and he can play all three OF positions. 

The only negative is that (unlike Heineman) Ervin is out of minor league options, so he cannot be sent back & forth to Iowa if the Cubs were to acquire additional outfielders prior to Opening Day.  

Perhaps someone like OF Eddy Julio Martinez (who has played very well in the Mexican Pacific League this winter) could be the return if the Cubs make a pre-emptive (pre-waiver ride) trade offer for Ervin. 

I love that idea. Always been a fan of Ervin's ability

If the Cubs concur with my recommendation to pursue OF Phillip Ervin (DFA'd by SEA last week), I would also recommend that they target INF-OF Tim Lopes (also DFA'd by SEA last week). Might as well make it a two-fer. 

While I would admit that bargain basement hunting players from the Seattle Mariners might seem to be beneath the Cubs, both Ervin and Lopes would actually be a roster upgrade over what the Cubs have on the 40 and their expected Spring Training NRI right now.  

oops...that's b.morrow minor league deal with the dodgers, not the cubs.

The MLB office will be closed for the holidays, beginning on Friday 12/25 and extending through Sunday 1/3, so any player placed on waivers on 12/23 or 12/24 will not clear waivers until 1/4 (if player is placed on waivers on 12/23) or 1/5 (if player is placed on waivers on 12/24). 

Also any player who is Designated for Assignment during the period of time beginning on 12/18 and extending through 12/24 will not need to be traded, outrighted, or released until 1/4. (Normally a club has seven days to either trade, outright, or release a Designated Player). 

In addition, any free-agent signed during the period of time beginning on 12/10 will have his 15 day deadline to be added to an MLB or minor league reserve list extended until 1/4 if the 15th day was during the "closed" period. 

Although the MLB office will be closed for ten days 12/25 through 1/3, clubs can make trades and sign free-agents during the "closed" period. However a trade that is made or a contract signed during the "closed" period cannot be officially approved by the MLB office until 1/4. 

tony larussa's 2nd DWI arrest (0.95 this time, 0.8 is the threshold) has been plead down to an agreement of misdemenor wreckless driving.  he ran his car into a curb hard enough to leave it "smoking on the side of the road" and he walked away from the scene.

must be nice to have access to that part of the justice system for a serial drunk driver...

He belongs in the Washington swamp.

cleveland indians are dropping the "indians."  it was rumored this summer, but it seems like it's gonna happen officially sometime before xmas.

the internet has wanted the return of the "cleveland spiders" since half past forever.  no word on what the new name will be...

I'm sure it'll be something lame, like how the new Seattle hockey franchise is the Kraken or Las Vegas is the Golden Knights.

I maintain they (and any other team changing their nickname) should adopt the moniker "Murder Hornets"

cubs linked to jackie bradley jr. (other teams, too)

it feels weird to have a rumor linked to the cubs that involves spending money.

Apparently, I haven't thought about him since 2016, because I am surprised both by how old he is now and by how not great he has been most of the time. It seems like a weird lateral move to go from Schwarber to Bradley Jr. That would improve the overall outfield defense at least.

he's practically a jason heyward clone.  decent D and an extremely streaky hot/cold bat.

Weren't we trying to fix the offense? Bradley is a downgrade from Schwarber in that respect. I like JBJ and think he is a perfectly fine player, but if you're looking to fix a broken offense, he isn't how you do that.

Maybe not the sexiest pick, but Happ, Bradley, Heyward produce a lot of 8-10 pitch ABs. Add a LaStella to platoon at 2B, Markakis to DH/LF spot starts, keep Bryant and Rizzo...then you have a lineup a.lot better at grinding ABs and not relying on HRs to produce 5+ runs/game. 

Cubs have about $40M under the CBT depending on Ricketts' budget. I'd prefer they invest in the offense which has sucked since 2018. Add hitters who see lots of.pitches like Zobrist to Rizzo, Bryant, Heyward. If I'm trading anyone else it would be Baez if the return was decent. I love Javy but I can't watch 300-400 ABs a year with 3-4 pitches, flailing at sliders he's trying to pull over the wall.

I'd spend any remaining payroll on $10-12M on a bullpen posse of guys like Jeffress. SPs don't go pass 3 times in the order anymore and Darvish, Hendricks, Alzolay, Mills can do.that. So, I don't invest valuable payroll in a #2-3 SP or $5m setup RPs.

But that's my take. Tired of watching 20+ sucky PAs every game. You can have 5 Yu's with that type of offense and it doesn't matter. 

Schwarber was 15th in MLB in pitches seen per PA last season. Bradley was 93rd. As a team, the Cubs saw the third most pitches per PA in the majors. 

This, exactly. It wasn't that they didn't see pitches, it was that the last pitch they saw ended in lots of strikeouts and weak contact.

I'm not opposed to Bradley, LaStella, or Markakis on relative bargain deals. But I'm not sure that Bradley really helps build that grindy lineup you are describing. His career batting line is surprisingly similar to Schwarber's, except that he doesn't really hit for power. He Ks a tiny bit less than Schwarber, but also takes slightly fewer walks, so the discipline comparison seems like a wash.

I don't care which hitter names they add. Right now you can't do anything with Heyward and that might be good if he can be last year's Year's Heyward. I wouldn't trade Bryant if I could negotiate a deal that worked for both. Despite Cubs 'fans' who don't know better, he's a 4.5-5.5 WAR, .900 OPS Hitter turning 31. Try to find that who is solid average at 3B/1B/LF/RF. Contreras has turned into a pretty solid defensive Catcher but disappears for 50-60 PAs at a time. Happ could be a plus bat, jury's still out. So, they've got $40M to find 4-5 bats to run out a lineup than can do.something besides watching good pitches and swing at breaking/off-speed shit they can't hit at 2 strikes.

Unless they trade Baez and/or Contreras. 

And know I wouldn't trade Darvish or Hendricks for anything less than a Top 5 MLB-ready SP prospect. I'd pickup a #4-5 SP for $3-5M and spend any remaining budget on the bullpen. 

Bryant is turning 29 next month. 

Just seeing the name Bradley reminds me of Milton.  Please don't sign him for just that reason; never mind the fact the Cubs don't need another poor hitting, defense first left-handed hitting outfielder. 

The only mention I have seen or heard connecting Jackie Bradley Jr to the Cubs was Jon Paul Morosi on MLB Network a few days ago saying it would "make sense" that the Phillies and the Cubs would probably have interest in Bradley, the Phils because Dombrowski was Red Sox GM when Bradley was there, and the Cubs because they non-tendered Schwarber and Almora.

Otherwise I have not seen or heard anything connecting the Cubs to Bradley.  

"Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo dismissed the idea of a trade with the Cubs for Kris Bryant during a conference call with media members on Tuesday.

“We haven’t had a serious conversation about Kris Bryant in probably two years," said Rizzo."

negro league stats from 1920-1948 will now count as MLB stats via the commish...

it's a shame there's a lot of missing data from the era/league.

cubs sign jon holder (RHP, reliever) to a non-guarenteed 750K contract.

not a bad gamble.

Besides the non-guaranteed contract (which allows the Cubs to release him before Opening Day and only have to pay a percentage of his salary -- 30 days pay if he is released more than 15 days prior to MLB Opening Day, or 45 days pay if he is released 15 days or less prior to MLB Opening Day), Holder has one minor league option left, so he can ride the "Chicago - Des Moines Shuttle" in 2021 if the Cubs so choose. 

I actually think this is an excellent signing. Non-guaranteed deal with low base salary, power arm with a history of at least competence (not last year though), 3 years left of team control, and going into age 28 season.

Solid baseball name. Somewhere above Grant Ballfour but below Buster Posey.

Rock Shoulders was a personal favorite 

can't forget about ex-cub Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/mclis...

Not a Cubs or baseball name, but Colt McCoy as the name of the QB for the Texas Longhorns FB team is something that would be laughable if it was in a movie. In real life, it's just awesome. 

I would also be interested in going the other way... most unfortunate baseball names. In honor of my 7th grade Spanish teacher who was named Ursual Grud.... 

Wonderful Terrific Monds has entered the chat...

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

his dad played in the NFL (1 season)...also with the same name.

kyle schwarber, native of ohio, participated in a "Player's Alliance" chartiy food givewaway in cincinnati yesterday.

can't read too much into it given he lives in ohio.  josh harrison (WAS, also ohio native) participated, too.

The Cubs have agreed to a minor league pact with righty James Bourque and invited him to Major League Spring Training, reports MLB.com’s Jon Morosi (Twitter link).

james bourque, robert stock, jonathon holder, and gray fenter.

start printing those world series tickets.

I believe I once had dealings with a law firm called Bourque, Holder, Stock, and Fenter. Almost lost our house. 

that's why i only deal with Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe

That's a big improvement over Huey, Dewey, and Louie.

those guys are quacks.

If you're going to make jokes that bad, you should probably..................um..............well...........duck.

this could end up being a 500+ comment pun-filled thread if we're not careful.  it would probably take a week or so, tops.

"Cubs signed LHP DJ Snelten to a minor league contract."

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

28 year old lefty...he was the guy who made the videos last offseason (pre-Covid) trying to get a job showing his fastball in the mid-90s when he was a 90mph guy during his brief MLB callup a year earlier.

"Bob Klapisch of NJ Advance Media reports that DJ LeMahieu's asking price in contract talks with the Yankees has been five years and $125 million."

crazy how well his career has panned out.  it's a safe bet he'll most likely snag 3-4 years at 20-25m a year as a minimum contract.

Traded along with Tyler Colvin for Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers.

In Schitt's Creek parlance, I believe that's along the same lines as a "nighttime oopsy-daisy."

Does Tyler Colvin still have a broken bat sticking out of his chest?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rv2W-B3XaAM

The Cubs have signed RHRP Trevor Kelley (ex-BOS & ex-PHI) to a 2021 minor league contract. 

cubs have signed matt duffy (3rd) to a minor league contract...1m if he makes the club.

average-at-best 3rd, can take a walk, not much pop in his bat...

it's gonna be "this kind" of offseason, it seems.  every hot cubs rumor involves who they may or not trade away, not what's missing piece they need to step it up a level.  meanwhile, the approach to building the pen on the cheap in 2020 is being applied to the entire roster for 2021.

He was actually pretty good before his body inexplicably imploded.

I also saw that it seems like we didn't sign Josh Osich  as he's agreed to join Cincinnati. oh no?

i don't mind the signing at all.  if it was the type of move made for a potential bench bat i'd be stoked, but it seems more likely he's competiting with d.bote for the job at 3rd.  we pretty much assumed this off-season was going to be a cheap-out, but watching it unfold so far is underwhelming.

Still have time of course but the off-season where we signed Brad Brach and Daniel Descalso is a pretty low bar to clear. Not sure we've cleared it yet though

This looks like the third straight offseason of underwhelming moves engineered to just barely keep the team in contention for the division while doing very little to improve the long-term outlook. Last significant offseason move was signing Darvish.

Limiting long-term spending helps the long-term outlook.

What doesn't is bad contract signings or dealing away prospects frivolously.

That certainly can be the case. But I have not lately seen evidence that the Ricketts are ready to make the kind of financial commitment necessary to contend on a regular basis and invest in the future. So, I'm not convinced that they are avoiding spending now in order to spend later so much as they may be limiting the spending over all without a realistic view toward a cycle of contending and not contending.

TBF, my view is probably skewed by the degree to which I despise the wealthy.

they just got a federal historical landmark designation and the tax break that comes with it...they also told us to wait until they get that TV deal last season...all of this surrounded by the sheer ad-space-for-sale on almost every inch of the ballpark and the increasing amount of concerts per season...

they've monitized the hell out of the product and though they've not been cheap with the spending compared to most of the game, they seem to be going cheap on the end of the "competitive window" of the core guys rather than running it through to the finish line.  yeah, you can't run them all out until they're FA's when you can trade a little bit up front for the future...but this seems like a soft sell-off.

DJL: I asked somebody with connections to audit the Cubs transactions with respect to the five Article XX-D players outrighted in September/October (Dermody, I. Miller, Osich, H. Perez, and Wisdom). Although these five players had initially accepted their outright assignment and deferred their right to elect free-agency until the period of time beginning on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season and extending through 10/15, it turns out ALL of them filed, although the Osich and H. Perez filings were never logged or reported publicly. 

DATE ARTICLE XX-D PLAYER FILED FOR FREE-AGENCY: 
Matt Dermody - 9/28 
Hernan Perez - 9/29 
Josh Osich - 10/2 
Patrick Wisdom: 10/7 
Ian Miler - 10/14 

A sixth Article XX-D player (Rex Brothers) was outrighted to AAA Iowa on 10/30 (two weeks after the Article XX-D FA window closed) and - APPARENTLY - he opted to sign a 2021 minor league successor contract with the Cubs rather than elect free-agency. He definitely was not declared a MLB Rule 55 6YFA on 11/2.   

Transparency.

Not a Rob Manfred Baseball One strength.

sam fuld new phillies GM.  neat.

AZ Phil gets his Christmas wish. Cubs claim Phillip Ervin off waivers. Unfortunately, Tim Lopes was taken by the Brewers.

To refresh AZ Phil's thoughts: "Phillip Ervin (ex-CIN) was DFA'd by the Seattle Mariners yesterday, and he would be a good fit with the Cubs in 2021. He mashes LHP, he has had really good numbers at Wrigley Field, he has above-average speed and is a plus base-runner (he was a star wide receiver in HS), he has a plus-arm (he was a two-way player in college), and he can play all three OF positions."

Kind of like the Lexus ads. I'll wrap him in a bow and put Phillip Ervin under Phil's tree.

At least we had the possibility to collect more "Phil" this offseason.

Big fan of this pick up. Hopefully 2020 was a fluke. He's always looked great against the Cubs. I was really surprised that the Reds bumped him from the roster last summer. 

cubs claim phillip ervin off waivers from the M's on the suggestion of phantom GM arizona phil.

Did the Cubs re-sign to a minor league deal Rex Brothers?  I read he rejected an outright to Iowa when the Cubs claimed Schrock. _ NEVERMIND, I saw post now from AZ Phil a few back

cubbbies.4ever: Both Rex Brothers and now (also) Joe Biagini are listed on the Cubs AAA Iowa reserve list. 

Rex Brothers is no longer being carried on the AAA Iowa reserve list so he is indeed apparently a FA, although he was listed there last month.   

Still waiting to see the Joe Biagini contract get officially reported by MLB, although he is now listed as being a Cubs minor leaguer at Baseball Reference, milb.com, and mlb.com (FWIW). 

The MLB office being closed for ten days 12/25 - 1/3 may have resulted in a delay in processing/approving contracts, or there could be a glitch with ebis (which is not uncommon). 

The Shelby Miller signing is now official, and the Cubs have re-signed LHRP Rex Brothers to a 2021 minor league contract. 

Also, the Shelby Miller contract was filed as a MINOR LEAGUE contract. 

AZ Phil- Have you heard any more about the 4th year option or options in general issue due to last season's cancellation of the minors

cubbies.4ever: Nobody knows yet. It would be useful to know by Spring Training. The only player on the Cubs 40-man roster right now who would be affected as far as either being out of minor league options or having one left in 2021 is Adbert Alzolay, although there are several who would be impacted in future years beyond 2021.  

Nobody knows what the rules are going to be in 2021. Everyone has been told to operate as if the pre-CoViD-19 rules will be in effect in 2021 like they were supposed to be in 2020 before the pandemic hit, but that could change on a dime.

That's one of the main reasons off-season player movement and free-agent signings have been so sluggish. Clubs are waiting to find out for sure what exactly the rules will be, like how many games will be played, if both Spring Training and the MLB regular season will start late with the regular season being compressed with lots of doubleheaders or if the players would accept delaying the start of the season until the pandemic is clearly and demonstrably under control and then play fewer regular season games with players making pro-rated lower salaries, if the schedule will be revised to limit travel like it was in 2020, what the roster limits will be, whether the DH will be universal, how many teams will make the post-season, and if the minor leagues will be able to operate normally or if it will be just one long Minor League Camp & Extended Spring Training "bubble" at the Arizona and Florida minor league facilities for younger players and an Alternate Training Site near the MLB clubs home towns for more advanced minor leaguers. 

The Cubs have signed RHRP Joe Biagini (ex-TOR & ex-HOU) to a 2021 minor league contract (although it has not yet been filed with MLB). He is out of minor league options if he were to be added to the 40 at some point in 2021. 

matt dermody (LHP) back on a minor league deal

nice to have him back in the mix.

"According to Russell Dorsey of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cubs are planning to utilize second baseman Nico Hoerner in a multi-positional everyday role moving forward."

oh boy...finding ways to get more ABs for hoerner.

that sounds...great... *nervous laughter*

Doesn't sound as great as "Cubs and Padres have discussed Darvish trade" though.

i wish the cubs wasn't a small market team owned by guys who can barely afford a McDonalds value meal.

someone should tell the elder ricketts that obama owns the cardinals and pelosi owns the brewers.  this would be a 300m team.

I'm thinking the old man thinks his son bought the Omaha Royals (now Storm Chasers).

Pete probably lied to the old man, cause that's what Republican Gubners do.

I don't think Darvish is going to the Padres now. 

snell and darvish both have attractive contracts, it'll be interesting to see what prospects were on the table for a deal like this.

snell/clevinger/lamet/paddack 1-4 for SD...wow.

Dennis Lin @dennistlin
BREAKING: The Padres have an agreement in place to acquire Blake Snell from the Rays, sources tell @JCTSports
, @Ken_Rosenthal and me. Luis Patiño, Francisco Mejía, Blake Hunt and Cole Wilcox would head to Tampa. Deal pending review of medical records

...patino, mejia, b.hunt, and c.wilcox...phew....

patino is a hell of a pickup, but he's still a work in progress and probably not opening day 2021-ready.  not much to say about the rest of the crew...seems like an uninspiring haul (not to discount how valuable patino is, because he's an over-all top-10 pitching prospect).

i know f.mejia was (is) considered a top prospect, but i'm not the only person that thinks his bat is overrated.  he's got a rather slow bat and it's not translating on the mlb level so far.  he's not enough of a catcher to "live with the bat" in exchange for what he does behind the plate, too.  meh.

Dennis Lin@dennistlin·35mEven after landing Blake Snell, the Padres are deep into talks to acquire Yu Darvish from the Cubs, sources tell @PJ_Mooney, @sahadevsharma and me. If the deal is completed, multiple players would head to Chicago.

I saw that they're considering adding Contreras or Caratini to the trade.

1. I will never understand the seeming all out desire to trade Willson. Catchers are the hardest to develop. I know they love Amaya, but I just don't see how he'd become even close to as good as Willson. He screams Martin Maldonado/ Jason Castro/ Austin Hedges to me.

2. If they trade Darvish (and Willson), they need to not stop there. Rizzo, Baez, and Bryant (and Willson) should all either be extended or traded at that point. Definite answers on long term either way.

yeah, if they get rid of darvish and either of those catchers hopefully this trade will have a better haul than what TB got for snell.

yeesh.  this is the f'n chicago cubs and they're got a well above .500 roster capable of making the playoffs...and they're in sell-off/restructuring mode.  wtf...

Not only that, they're the reigning division champions, and not a single team in the division looks better than they did last year.

For real, the Ricketts have come full circle as villains.

darvish to SD framework "all but done" via SD Union-Tribune

a'ite then.

early report is a "2 for 4" with darvish + caratini joining the cubs.  i really hope this deal involves luis campusano and d.lamet...i assume it will involve campusano as a starting point.  dunno if SD is even willing to part with lamet even with injury/durability concerns.

b.nightengale says caratini confirmed to go to SD and l.campusano is -not- in the trade.  that's kinda...wow.

I can see why Theo decided to roll out a year early

 would Love to get Lamet and Cronenworth

on a personal bright side, i no longer feel the need to add a yu darvish autograph baseball card to my personal collection because of how little impact he made...so that's one less player auto to hunt around.

Darvish and Caratini, for Zach Davies, Reginald Preciado, Yeison Santana, Owen Caissie and Ismael Mena

zach davies for a season (8.5m) and a bunch of extremely young kids all years away.

not exciting, but not bad.  i'm not sure if having z.davies and k.hendricks in the same roation is going to be "balanced" up top, though...

i was hoping for something a bit more mlb-ready.

Ranked Padres system Preciado #11, Santana #16, Mena #15, Caissie #13.  Can't even get a Top 10 Padres prospect

I saw Yeison Santana play in the AZL in 2019 and he is a legit SS prospect. If he had been in the Cubs system in 2020 he would have probably been a Cubs Top 10 prospect. 

Santana will likely be the SS at Low-A (which is now Myrtle Beach) for the Cubs in 2021 (presuming Ed Howard IV and Kevin Made remain in Arizona and play SS for the two Cubs AZL teams).

Santana is first-time Rule 5 Draft eligible post-2021 so the Cubs will need to monitor his progress closely. 

Owen Caissie was the Padres 2nd round draft pick in 2020 out of a Canadian secondary school (that's what they call high school in Canada) and he played RF for the Canadian Junior National Team and he is a very good prospect, at least as good as Cole Roederer (maybe better). Caissie probably will play in the AZL in 2021. 

The other two (SS Reggie Preciado and OF Ismael Mena) are probably ready for the AZL, but I don't know if the Cubs would want Howard IV, Made, and Preciado all at AZL at the same time since that's two only teams for three shortstops, so probably either Made or Preciado will have to play in the DSL, although both Made and Preciado will likely be given an opportunity to show how ready they are at Extended Spring Training before that decision is made.   

Bottom line is that the Cubs made off with three of the Padres top four Latin position player prospects plus their 2nd round pick from 2020, so it's not a bad return in terms of prospect value. It's just that they are all very far away and probably won't see MLB until 2025 or 2026, and a lot can happen between now and then. 

The Cubs probably won't win the N. L. Central again anytime soon, but they have a - VERY - good chance to win the AZL in 2021. 

Wow, just Wow.  Couldn't even get to New Years before waving the white flag on 2021.

I live in Texas after growing up in the midwest.  Past several years always make a trip back to Chicago to catch a couple of games at Wrigley.  Have been mulling the idea of switching it up and traveling to other cities and stadiums.  This concretes my plan of spending my baseball dollars away from Wrigley.  Always have wanted to visit San Diego, hear its a nice park. 

PS: F U Ricketts!

With Hendricks, Davies, and Mills in the rotation, the Cubs will have three SP whose FB tops out in the 80's. 

Maybe they'll let Cory Abbott grab a spot, then we'll really corner that market.

I wonder how pissed David Ross is

Might as well just do a firesale and burn the team down.  See how much money you can get from ticket sales and merchandise sales that way and see if that makes up for the money you're "losing" Ricketts.

2020 Strikes again

Perhaps I'm reading too much into this; but the more I process this, the more the following scenario makes sense.  Cubs can't get a Bryant trade completed, Jed is under strict orders to cut payroll, and this was the other way to clear $20 million of the books. 

yeah, that's why the general fan consensus seems to be "FU Rickets" rather than "FU Jed"

Those Zach Davies shirseys are already flying off the shelves!

 I watched as many games as I could during the  rebuild. I wanted to see every prospect debut and see who else was worth keeping around. I don't think that will be the case this time around. I don't like what is going on at MLB  in general. Have two kids now, so less time on my hands. Likely canceling the mlb.tv subscription... would have liked to have shared Cubs baseball with them even though they're little, but I just don't care as much as I did. That part stings, as it was something the old man and I shared and is one of my most cherished childhood memories.

 To say nothing of the truly stunning heel turn of the Ricketts family. They burned that WS goodwill at such a fast pace they either were trying to do so or are just laughably out of touch.

Zach Davies will likely wear # 27 (that's the number he wore with the Brewers). If so, the three amigos will wear # 27, # 28, and # 30, with # 29 available if the Cubs want to try and acquire somebody like Brent Suter. 

The Cubs have obviously discovered the newest market inefficiency: SP with crappy fastballs who throw wicked change-ups (Hendricks and Davies) or extemely slow curves (Mills) who induce sub-87 MPH average exit velo. 

I'm feeling a book and maybe even a movie. 

It will be called "MLB TEE-BALL."  

Phil.

I feel sorry for ya.

All your time, knowledge,, and effort on the organization, and they pull this. Ricketts playing against front office sharks with a "the repo man is coming to take away the Nissan Sentra" mindset.

Speaking of Wicked changeup. Jamie Moyer is available. He's only 58.

Joe and Phil Niekro are no longer available.

Trevor Hoffman had a nasty changeup if I recall. Wonder if he would be willing to suit up for us.

at least phil will get to see these kids while we wait for 2024+

If the Cubs want to do some more dumpster diving for ex-SEA guys, the Texas Rangers DFA'd RHRP Art Warren. I saw him pitch in the AFL Championship Game against Mesa a couple or three years ago and I liked what I saw.

He features a mid to upper 90's FB (I saw him hit 99 once in the AFL), a slow CV, and a hard SL, and he does not give up HR. He does have command issues, however. But (best of all) he has minor league options available, so he can ride the Chicago - Des Moines shuttle.

He's probably a better bet than James Norwood, and having options makes him more useful than Underwood or Maples. 

My question is, the Cubs need SP, so let's trade one.  They have SS between Baez, Hoerner, Made, Howard, Adelman and whoever else may sign can one of those 2 SD SS play another position or the other in house Cubs (Hoerner tried OF and is now 2B).  Baez and Hoerner may be gone when they get there, but Howard and Made won't.  Hope between all of them they are versatile.  If they are looking at 2B.  The Cubs has Strumpf and maybe Weber waiting too.  Chris Morel at 3B.  They already made Ian Happ go play OF.  They say you can never have too many good pitchers, but I don't think that applies to SS, at least as many as the Cubs do.  I'm sure I'm forgetting some IF in their too.  Also who is Anthony Rizzo's successor or even back up?  Caratini was, Baez and Bryant have a handfull of games over there, but not enough to warrant a backup designation.  Also poor David Bote gets lost in all of this looking for playing time.  Zach Davies doesn't count as legit either, the Cubs have hammered him in the past.  HR after HR.

cubbies.4ever: Alfonso Rivas would be Anthony Rizzo's in-house replacement if it comes to that. Rivas is a doubles machine who rifles line-drives from foul line to foul line, he takes walks, and his best defensive position is 1B. 

Phil, do you have any best guess of how much salary Cubs are keeping on Darvish, the CBT hit?

The Padres will take on approximately $54MM of the $59MM left on Darvish’s deal,

$5m...ow...there goes 2022, too.

The $5M the Cubs are sending to SD as a "salary offset" is actually the Cubs reimbursing the Padres for $4.7M in aggregate signing bonuses the Padres paid Owen Cassie (2020 2nd round pick - $1.2M signing bonus), Ismael Mena (2019 J-2 - $2.2M signing bonus), and Reggie Preciado (2019 J-2 - $1.3M signing bonus). 

Keep in mind that Caissie, Mena, and Preciado have yet to make their official pro game debuts, although Caissie was at the Padres MLB Alternate Training Site at the U. of San Diego July - September 2020 after he signed in June and then at AZ Instructs post-2020, and Preciado and Mena were at Padres AZ Instructs post-2019 and post-2020.   

I am told that the Cubs were after both Preciado and Mena in 2019 prior to the start of the 2019-20 ISP, but only had enough International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) space to sign Quintero, Made, and Altuve back at that time, so think of this trade as the Cubs getting the 2nd round draft pick comp (Caissie) they would have gotten once Darvish became a FA post-2023 and was extended (and then declined) a Qualifying Offer, $3.5M in additional 2019-20 International Signing Bonus Pool space allowing them to get Preciado and Mena in addition to Quintero, Made, and Altuve (making the 2019-20 ISP one of the most-successful in Cubs history), and then they get Santana (a prospect comparable to Christopher Morel), and Zach Davies (as an MLB rotation replacement for Quintana or Chatwood if not for Darvish).  

Now the Cubs just have to find a back-up catcher to replace Caratini and a replacement for Darvish in the rotation. 

Given the way the Cubs structured this deal, I would look for the Cubs to take something similar back for Bryant:  

1. An MLB player who can play 3B, 2B, CF, or LF who would replace Bryant in the lineup; 

2. A pitcher or position player selected in the 2nd or 3rd round of a recent draft (in lieu of the Cubs getting a comp draft pick for Bryant if he had been extended a QO post-2021 and then declined it); 

3. An international player the Cubs wanted to sign sometime in the last couple of ISPs but couldn't because they didn't have enough ISBP space at the time. 

The Cubs would then reimburse the other team (probably by way of a "salary offset" for Bryant) for the signing bonuses the other team paid to the draft pick and to the international player. 

The Cubs could have received more-advanced and more highly-regarded prospects (probably either Weathers or Morejon plus Campusano) back in the deal if they had been willing to pay half of what remains of Darvish's contract ($31M), but they were unwilling to do that and so they settled for a package of good (though not elite) prospects who are further away from MLB than what would have otherwise been the case.    

I am told some scouts who have seen all three rate Reggie Preciado ahead of both Ed Howard IV and Kevin Made as far as which one is the best SS prospect of the three.

As far as Cubs position-player prospects are concerned, Preciado is probably # 4 (behind only Amaya, Davis, and Strumpf).  

Also the prospect comp for Yeison Santana is Christopher Morel (bat-first SS), although while C. Morel has made the move from SS to 3B, if Santana moves from SS it will be to 2B, not to 3B. But for now Santana will continue to play SS, probably at low-A Myrtle Beach in 2021.

Santana would probably be rated well behind Preciado and Howard IV, and just a bit behind C. Morel and Made. 

Also, Owen Caissie and Ismael Mena are both definitely better prospects than Cole Roederer and Mena could even be close to Brennen Davis (though not as advanced), but both Caissie and Mena need to get more game work beyond AZ Instructs. 

As far as where they would fit on a 2021 Cubs Top 15 Position-Player Prospect list is concerned, Mena would probably be rated behind only Amaya, Davis, Strumpf, and Preciado, and then Caissie would be somewhere behind Howard IV, C. Morel, and Made, but ahead of Santana, Roederer, Hearn, Quintero, Pinango, and R. Morel.     

Do any of those scouts have names like Jed Boyer?   Fred Hoyer?  :)

Even if this analysis were universal, it would be based on no games played and still wouldn't justify the trade.  But it is odd to say that Preciado would have been the 15-20th rated international player, similar rating in Padres prospects, is rated above someone ranked higher than him in the international prospects and top prep shortstop in draft with all of them not having played in a game. 

SPRINGS: The scouting sources are not from the Cubs or from the Padres.

Although they have not played in any "official" minor league games, scouts have been watching Reggie Preciado and Ismael Mena play at AZ Instructs for two seasons and Owen Caissie played for the Canadian U18 Junior National team prior to being drafted, at the Padres MLB Alternate Training Site at the U. of San Diego this past July - September, and then at AZ Instructs post-2020, although I personally have not seen any of them because the Padres don't play the Cubs in AZ Instructs games. 

As I mentioned in a previous comment, I did see Yeison Santana play in the AZL in 2019, and he is indeed an athletic bat-first middle infielder with the arm and range to play SS (at least for now), although I could see him moving to 2B at some point as he moves up the pipeline, especially with Preciado, Howard, and Made coming up behind him.  

Thanks for your take on these kids. Although none will help the "Big Cubs" for a few years, it seems they do have a future.

Best I can tell right now, 18 of the Cubs Top 30 prospects are position players, and of those 18, only one (Alfonso Rivas) has played above single-A and only one or two more (Amaya and maybe Strumpf) are projected to play above single-A in 2021. 

Of the twelve pitchers I see in the Cubs Top 30, seven (Marquez, Alzolay, Jensen, Franklin, Carraway, R. Thompson, and Abbott) are among the Top 10 overall prospects (with Amaya, B. Davis, and Strumpf the only position players in that top group), so the Cubs have seven really good pitching prospects, and then the next ten after that (11-20) are probably all position players (probably something like Preciado, Howard IV, C. Morel, Made, Mena, Caissie, Santana, Roederer, Quintero, and Hearn), then five more pitchers (T. Miller, Steele, McAvene, Herz, and Gallardo), and finally five more position players (R. Morel, Pinango, Rivas, Nwogu, and Verdugo). 

From my experience watching the Cubs minor leaguers over the decades, I would say that the Cubs right now have as much position-player prospect depth as they've ever had, but (with the exception of Amaya, Strumpf, and Rivas) most all of the position players are several years away from MLB, and there aren't as many pitchers as would be expected (12 instead of 15), although fully half of the pitchers in the Top 30 (Marquez, Alzolay, Carraway, Abbott, T. Miller, and Steele, plus K. Thompson, Robinson, and Patterson as well) are MLB-ready or very close to being MLB-ready (and of course barring injury, pitching prospects tend to move faster than do position player prospects anyway).   

So in summary, the Cubs Top 30 pitching prospects tend to be (as as group) both better prospects and closer to being MLB-ready than are the position player prospects, while the position player Top 30 prospects -- though there are many more of them --  are much further away from MLB (four or five years in most cases) and they generally tend to be risky high ceiling / low floor "lottery ticket" types.  

Thank you Phil -- I was mainly joking in sorrow over this deal.  The prospect insight is nice and hopefully they turn out to be great pickups, but we still received pennies on the dollar for an exceptional pitcher and great back-up/decent starting catcher.   The glaring difference between the Snell and Darvish trades is scarring and examining trades the Cubs made for anyone during playoff races, we always seem to give up something of note (even Pedro Martinez for hitless Jose Martinez).  Paredes, Candelario, Martinez, Torres, Jiminez, Soler, Cease, LaStella got us 1.5 season of closer, a #3 pitcher a middle reliever, a bench player and minor leaguer....and we get four kids who are years away for a No 1.

Fangraphs agrees with your scout contacts, stating Preciado would be rated above Howard.  MLB.com did not, but Preciado at 10th, Caissie at 11th (both between Strumpf and Carraway) and Mena and Santana at 16th and 17th between Riley Thompson and Ethan Hearn.  With Howard certainly sticking at SS and Preciado looking destined for 3B, my guess would've been more in line with MLB (I am a Mount Carmel alum and friend of their coach, so am biased).

A 2021 MILB season will go a long way to providing more insight on all these youngsters...I think anything on 2020 draft picks and 2019 intl signees is valuable based on visible changes (like Preciado's progress) but also is based on views over a short span when players were working on different short or long terms plans. 

Preciado had a year working with the Padre coaching, Howard, Caissie and Nwogu had 2 months -- hard to fully vet whether Preciado (and other players working since 2019) have fully adopted changes (or more growth possible or expected) and whether the 2020 draft picks will have similar large changes.  Tutelage of Nwogu or Caissie could lead to increased hit tool that allows consistent hitting to tap into their 60-70 power.  Howard looked stronger in fall, but his hitting and power were always based on projection.  This is not to mention Quintero, Made, Altuve, Hearn, Pinango (who seems to have a better hit tool so far than anyone mentioned here), Weltzel, Mervis or any of the less publicized Cubs 2019 international signings -- all will have had at least some level of development.  

This was an exciting year anyway based on this potential growth and the Friar Four (and hopefully higher ranked prospects from other trades) give more reason to be excited.

Arizona Phil, one other question -- are teams able to trade their competitive balance draft picks at this time?  The draft pick (especially if it ends up being post 1st round) could've evened this trade some.

SPRINGS: Per an agreement between MLB and the MLBPA, Competitive Balance draft picks can no longer be traded effective March 28, 2020, and extending up through the conclusion of the 2021 Draft. This rule will likely be revisited after the 2021 draft.  

Prior to March 28, 2020, Competitive Balance draft picks could be traded beginning on December 2nd and extending up until two hours prior to the draft. 

Thank you Phil.   Bad timing all around -- draft picks would be a good addition if we aren't getting top prospects

Examples of a couple of Kris Bryant trade scenarios that would fit the Darvish trade template: 

1. Presuming the Mets sign George Springer...  

Bryant to the Mets (NYM pay entire salary), and Cubs maybe would get something like 3B J. D. Davis and/or OF Brandon Nimmo (MLB guys, Davis is a "Super Two" arb eligible post-2020 and under club control through 2024, Nimmo arb eligible and under club control through 2022), 3B Mark Vientos (2017 2nd round HS pick and a Mets Top 10 prospect but he is behind fellow 3B prospect Brett Baty in the Mets Top 10), and OF Alexander Ramirez (2019 J-2 - $2M+ signing bonus).  

2. Presuming the Washington Nationals do not sign Justin Turner: 

Bryant to the Nats (WAS pays entire salary), and Cubs would get something like INF Starlin Castro ($7M salary in 2021 and then he is a FA), LHRP Matt Cronin (2019 4th round college draft pick), and OF Alexander de la Rosa (2018 J-2 - $300K signing bonus). 

3. Presuming the Texas Rangers don't get a 3B from someplace else: 

TEX gets Bryant and Rangers pay entire salary minus Wendzel and Martinez signing bonus reimbursements, and Cubs take back C Jose Trevino (still pre-arb and under club control through 2025, he would replace Caratini as Cubs back-up catcher), 3B David Wendzel (2019 supplemental 1st round HS pick but is behind fellow 3B prospect Josh Jung), and OF Julio Pablo Martinez (2017 J-2 - Cuban defector - $2.8M signing bonus).  

Something like that. 

Bastian says it's only $3 million.

Cubs will be paying $3M of the remaining $62M on Darvish's deal. All this year. That equals the pay bump he received for finishing 2nd in Cy Young voting. Had salary increase $1M per year across 2021-23.

As part of the Darvish deal, it is possible that the Padres could have agreed (in advance) to not re-claim RHP Gray Fenter (selected by the Cubs from the Padres AAA El Paso affiliate in last month's Rule 5 Draft) if (as expected) he does not make the Cubs Opening Day MLB roster. 

It cannot be part of the official terms of the trade, but the arrangement is legal and can be understood between the two clubs because it would not preclude other clubs from claiming Fenter off waivers if the Cubs decide he does not fit on their MLB active list roster. 

if the agreement was made to circumvent the rules such that other clubs could not have a chance to claim Fenter off waivers, only then would it be a rules violation, but the other MLB clubs would have that opportunity.  

Wasn't Fenter drafted from the Orioles?  

BRADSBEARD: Of course he was. Yes. Brain fart.  

I had been thinking (obviously too much) about the Cubs Opening Day roster and I just did not see a path for Fenter to make it, and I was trying to figure out how the Cubs might be able to retain him, and my brain blew a fuse. 

Happens to all of us! With Rea released and the Cubs looking for as many arms as possible, I suppose they might give Fenter a real shot to at least hold down a multi-inning relief role. 

This freakin trade depresses me!  How many young shortstops can the Cubs gather?

It's like how the Yankees collect middle relievers.

Now that the Cubs have announced "we'd rather be financial champions than actual champions in 2021," they cant go into next season with Riz, Javy, and KB on one year deals. All need to be traded or extended. Same really goes for Willson.

I wonder if they're thinking we won't be playing a full slate of games in 2021 due to Covid any way.  And we'll have a prolonged work stopage in 2022 due to a labor dispute.

The owners have already said they don't want to start the season until May. I'm sure they'll ram that plan through cause Manfred is essentially owner 31.

 I'm kind of at a point where I hope the players strike after '21. They deserve better, and have every right to make their displeasure with the owners known. I also hope it costs Manfred his job.

Here is Keith Law's take from The Athletic:

"Where Snell cost some very significant prospects, including the second-best prospect in San Diego’s system, Darvish comes mostly as a salary dump, with the Cubs getting some high-upside teenage prospects but nowhere near enough for a pitcher of Darvish’s caliber with three years left on his contract."

Jim Bowden also has a write up and graded the Cubs take as a "B". He's taking alot of heat in the comments for that high of a grade. So far, AZ Phil's seems to have far and away the most insight on these kids especially after his KB comments.

MLBtraderumors.com: 

I try not to judge trades right away because they're so often dependent on outcomes that we won't know until years down the line. And there are usually so many more layers that go into why a player was traded. But sometimes the process is so flawed and the logic is so nonexistent that you can't help but judge it up front.

This trade looks worse than Cleveland dumping Corey Kluber last winter. It's embarrassing for the Cubs

The MLB TEE-BALL is really clever, nice. :). SP who can't throw a fastball and RP who can't throw anything, but high 90's fastball. (in Dillon Maples case add the Marmol slider that is boom or bust depending on the minute)

I wonder what and where/who Tyler Chatwood winds up with this off-season?

I dislike Hoyer pretending we are still trying to win while trading Darvish for Davies and Powerball tix, stated plan for no real free agent signings, and release of two recent #1 draft picks with no replacement.  Right now, Hendricks should have at least same value as Snell, Contreras with his low salary/two years should be valuable and Happ is a young slugger with many years of control.  Trade them all, trade Bryant/Baez/Davies/Rizzo at trading deadline and really rebuild our farm system while striving to win the Elijah Green sweepstakes.

Right now they are going halfway -- half rebuilding (for mid decade), half competing.  Half competing will keep us competitive in a  terrible division, but nothing more.   We aren't in a position for a short retool, as we don't have the prospects/players for a quick reboot.  So our choices are truly go for it in 2021 or rebuild.  Hoyer's stated plan will seemingly attempt both and this is a recipe for failure at both.  Rebuild now.

One last point though -- these stated trades should only occur if we receive offers commensurate to the value of the players.  Hoyer implied in his interview that the offer we received was the best the Padres were willing to do.  Did Hoyer call anyone else?  I can't imagine Yankees and Blue Jays wouldn't be interested and 4 players with 45 projections isn't hard to beat.  LA Angels need pitching desperately, Braves would likely have interest,....there was no baseball-related reason Darvish deal needed to happen right now.  It is ridiculous to hear "this was best we could get" when we are three to four months before opening day.

yeah, if they were free'ing up loot to go after someone else it wouldn't sting as much.

as it is, i haven't even heard the cubs strongly linked to anyone worth a damn on the FA market.  i haven't heard any talk from the front office about how they "need to add" an impact player.  the biggest trade of the off-season netted a pitching downgrade and a slew of kids that we won't see for 3-5 years.

they don't seem to be shifting tallent to re-invest and shore up weaknesses.

Agreed across the board with both comments above. They seem to be aiming for the middle, which is where no one wants to be.

I don't blame Hoyer too much. I'm sure after all this blowback, Tom called him immediately and demanded he say the team is aiming to win and that it wasnt financially motivated. As usual, the Ricketts are behind the stupidity.

Phil, do you have any idea when MLB will set the"ground rules" for next season? (DH, extra inning rules, roster size, and any other items). I can not see how a team can prepare if the don't know what they are facing.

HAGSAG: The owners are holding the universal DH and an expanded active list roster (28 instead of 26) as potential bargaining chips in case the owners want to play a truncated regular season with expanded post-season playoffs (as was the case in 2020). 

There are some owners (don't know how many) who want to postpone the start of Spring Training and the start of the MLB regular season (and play fewer regular season games) until such time as fans can attend games without restriction (other than maybe requiring the wearing of a mask), or else have the players take a pay cut if in-person attendance is restricted (and of course the MLBPA will not agree to take a pay cut if in-person attendance at games is restricted, so potentially there could be a work stoppage).

Since it is not yet clear how soon the population can be vaccinated, how effective the vaccines will be in curbing the pandemic, and whether large gatherings like MLB baseball games will be permitted anywhere or everywhere, owners are taking a "wait & see" approach to the 2021 season, and are quietly holding all of their negotiation chips (including the  universal DH) in case they are needed later. Of course that makes off-season roster management difficult for National League clubs in particular, who don't know if the N. L. will be using the DH in 2021 or not. 

One thing that will very likely be different in 2021 from the way it was in 2020 is that Player Development will proceed "full steam ahead" and minor league baseball will be played. MLB knows it cannot afford to go another season without player development.

However, the start of the minor league season will almost certainly be delayed until after MLB Spring Training ends (whenever that is), and then once it starts (with minor league Spring Training in Arizona and Florida), minor league baseball (or at least single-A and rookie ball) might be played in a "virtual bubble" in the Arizona and Florida Spring Training facilities for most if not all of 2021, so that Minor League Camp & Extended Spring Training would continue indefinitely (quite possibly for the entire 2021 season).  

Also, it is conceivable that the 2021 minor league season might not start until sometime in June or July (depending on when MLB Spring Training concludes), and then if the minor league season does start late it could continue into October or November if necessaary (like in 2020, when Instructs were held at Florida and Arizona Spring Training sites in September and October). 

The only exception would be if MLB clubs maintain an Alternate Training Site "virtual bubble" near the MLB club's home city for players not on the MLB active list roster (as was the case in 2020), but instead of a maximum 60-man player pool roster, the 2021 ATS would likely be a minimum 75-man roster (the 38-man AAA reserve list and the 37-man AA reserve list combined), plus players on the MLB 40-man roster who are on Optional Assignment to AAA or AA. 

Welcome to 2021! 

AZ PHIL - On your depth chart you have it in the order of CHI, IOWA, TEN, SB, MB.  Isn't Myrtle Beach A+ and South Bend A

I believe that as part of the MiLB contraction/reorganizatio/hostile-takeover that some of the leagues switched their levels. MB & SB leagues were 2 of those. 

Alright then, didn't know that.  Interesting. Also didn't know minor league leagues could be hostile, thought that was reserved for Scott Boras.

cubbies.4ever: In summary, the three Hi-A leagues (California, Florida State, and Carolina) are being moved-down to Lo-A (and the Carolina League will probably get a different name), the two Lo-A leagues (Midwest and South Atlantic) and one of the short-season leagues (Northwest) will move-up to Hi-A (and the SAL will probably get a new name), the Appalachian League will join the Atlantic League, Frontier League, and the American Association as unaffiliated "partner" leagues (formerly known as "independent leagues"), and two other former short-season leagues (the Pioneer and the NYP) will become unaffiliated summer wood bat amateur "draft" leagues for draft-eligible players (with the draft being moved to July, clubs will get a chance to see draft-eligible players in a wood bat league prior to the draft), and the NYP League will get a different name (it's tentatively being called "The MLB Draft League," even though it's one of two leagues of that type). 
 
Also, some individual teams are switching to a different league / level, and some teams are just being eliminated.  

The only short-season leagues left will be the so-called "complex" rookie leagues (AZL, GCL, and DSL), and clubs will be permitted to operate two DSL teams and two AZL / GCL teams if the club so desires (the Cubs plan to continue to operate two AZL teams and two DSL teams).   

Also, the two AAA leagues (the International League and the Pacific Coast League) will be reorganized, with the western MLB clubs having AAA affiliates in one league, probably consisting of Albuquerque (COL), El Paso (SD), Las Vegas (OAK), Oklahoma City (LAD), Reno (AZ), Round Rock (TEX), Salt Lake (LAA), Sacramento (SF), Sugar Land (HOU), and Tacoma (SEA), with Fresno moving down from AAA to the Lo-A California League, and then either one or (more likely) two other AAA leagues for the remaining MLB clubs in the midwest and east that would probably roughly correspond to the N. L. and A. L. Central and N. L. and A. L. East. (AAA league names still TBD).

So for example, the Cubs AAA affiliate (Iowa) could be placed in the same AAA league as the AAA affiliates of the other MLB Central Division clubs -- Charlotte (CHW), Columbus (CLE), Louisville (CIN), Omaha (KC), Indianapolis (PIT), Memphis (STL), Nashville (MIL), St. Paul (MIN), and Toledo (DET), with San Antonio moving back down to the AA Texas League, and with the N. L. and A. L. East clubs likely having their AAA affiliates grouped in the same AAA league -- Buffalo (TOR), Durham (TB), Gwinnett (ATL), Jacksonville (MIA), Lehigh Valley (PHI), Norfolk (BAL), Rochester (WAS), Scranton (NYY), Syracuse (NYM), and Worcester (BOS), with the long-time AAA cities of New Orleans and Pawtucket no longer having minor league teams.     

One advantage of the new league classifications is that young players (many of whom are from Latin America) who are moving up to Lo-A from the AZL or GCL complexes in Arizona and Florida will not have to play in the cold of the midwest or northwest in April - May, what with the Lo-A leagues now located in California, Florida, and the Carolinas.  

In addition, the minor league season may be changed so that the full season leagues start a month later (with Minor League Spring Training beginning on or about April 1st when MLB Spring Training ends, instead of starting on or about March 1st while MLB Spring Training is in progress) and then play May through September instead of April through August, and the short-season AZL and GCL would play mid-July through September instead of mid-June through August (with the draft being held during the All-Star Break, the AZL and GCL would need to start a month later), with Extended Spring Training beginning in mid-May and running until mid-July (it presently begins in mid-April and runs to mid-June). And the number of games played by minor league "full season" teams will probably be cut-back from about 140 to about 120. 

Another issue at play here is that with the MLB 28-man roster limit throughout the month of September, clubs will need to be able to both option and recall players to/from the minors throughout September, and under current baseball rules a player cannot be optioned to a minor league affiliate whose season has concluded. So by having the conclusion of the minor league season (especially AAA and AA) essentially coincide with the conclusion of the MLB regular season it will be possible to keep minor league players in "game shape" and for MLB clubs to easily move players back & forth from MLB to the minors (and vice versa) throughout September.

as a lover of minor league baseball, and as someone who's been blown away seeing how the parks have gone from bare-bones to awesome even on lower levels...i'm not that happy with this off-season's mlb-wide "red wedding" mass killing off of the system as we know know it.

that said, short season A ball type of tallent/play needed to be consolidated closer to the core training camps anyway...especially since those complexes are extremely state of the art.  it was a kinda unnecessary luxury to have it outsourced across the country in a glorified travel ball experience.

The Cubs have re-signed 1B-3B Patrick Wisdom to a 2021 minor league contract. 

The Cubs have signed OF Nick Martini to a 2021 minor league contract. 

Jed was watching, It's a wonderful life?

"Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that there has been recent dialogue between the Mets and Cubs regarding a potential Kris Bryant trade.

Puma adds that the Cubs "really like" Mets catching prospect Francisco Alvarez, although that asking price might be a bit steep since Bryant is set to make around $20 million in his final year of arbitration eligibility."

...alvarez turned 19 a bit over a month ago so he wouldn't be ready to contribute for a number of years.  1st place, 8 games over .500, only major off-season loss was a relief pitcher...TIME TO TEAR IT DOWN!

double post...deleted

yeah, so rumor mill going nuts over bryant trade being imminent (within days) and contreras trade offers gaining traction.

we got the wrong billionaire owners.

1st place in the division, 8 games over .500, only loss of note is a relief pitcher, a lot of free'd up money...and this is how they do us...man...

This feels a lot more like a "temporary extreme payroll slash / moratorium on spending money" until fans can return to ballparks rather than a 2012-type tear-down / rebuild or permanent readjustment of payroll. 

If and when fans return to ballparks and MLB returns to normalcy (or near-normalcy), I would not be surprised if the Cubs suddenly expand their MLB payroll again (though probably not all the way back to pre-2021 payroll levels when they exceeded the CBT threshold). 

Because they own the ballpark, the hotel across the street, and eleven of the 16 "rooftop" buildings on Waveland and Sheffield, no other MLB club is as dependent on in-person fan attendance at their home ballpark as the Cubs are.

No other MLB club has that degree of financial connection to its ballpark and neighborhood, and so the Cubs were almost certainly more significantly impacted by CoViD-19 restrictions than the other 29 clubs.

The Cubs are a large-market team no matter what because Chicago is a large-market, but they may not be a large-revenue club again until after the pandemic is over. It's partly their own fault because of the Ricketts family's decision to invest so heavily into Wrigleyville real estate as well as their own TV network (Marquee), but that's what they did. 

i wouldn't be shocked to see that roll out, either.  they've shown they will spend.  even when they didn't "go big" on payrolls for some seasons when they got the core going, they were still spending big.   i was one of those people happy with where they were spending even though they could "break the bank" because of their wealth...i understood and was happy with what they were doing as far as spending.

that said, this is still an "in the window" core of talent that just traded away a cheap SP for payroll relief, a middle-rotation SP downgrade, and kids that are 3+ years from helping the MLB team.  $40-60m isn't going to make or break this organization even if it helps the bottom line.  I'm not even talking about the family wealth...the cubs organizational wealth is just fine.  they are not answering to an investment group pressuring them to deliver for outside interests.

all in all...i get it, i understand it, but i don't feel respected as a fan if this really is what we're doing for a season or 2.

CRUNCH: Exactly.

There is nobody telling the Ricketts family they can't spend money. Whatever payroll restrictions they have right now are self-imposed.

That said, they have clearly imposed a significant (though probably just temporary) cut in their payroll budget, and the team that takes the field in 2021 will reflect that cut.

But the payroll could just as easily go back up again in 2022 or 2023 (or whenever the pandemic ends), except by that time the players Cubs fans have been watching the past few years will have been traded or lost via free-agency and will need to be replaced by other different players from elsewhere. 

jed is probably low-key happy he's getting a chance to attach his name to a slew of kids he can (maybe) point to later as being his creation and vision for the next cubs core.

AZ Phil, is there enough talent in upper minors that it could be supplemented with an influx of talent from outside the organization and be competitive in 22/23.  The only MLB holdovers would be Happ/Hoerner/Heyward/Hendricks/Bote/Mills and maybe Willson if not traded.  That's a lot of open spots to fill via free agency or trading for MLB talent. 

SONICWIND: No question the Cubs farm system is not set-up to deliver postion-player prospects to MLB anytime soon, although the arrival of pitching will likely be much sooner (2022 or maybe even 2021). 

Of course there is no way to know for sure in advance who will and who will not make it to The Show,  and there is always the possibility that some lesser prospect will unexpectedly develop into a big leaguer, but as things stand now, if they develop as hoped, these would be the likely ETA for the Cubs better position-player prospects: 

2021: NONE 
2022: 1B-LF Alfonso Rivas
2023: C Miguel Amaya and 2B Chase Strumpf 
2024: RF Brennen Davis, 3B Christopher Morel, SS Yeison Santana, and CF Cole Roederer
2025: SS Reggie Preciado, SS Ed Howard IV, SS Kevin Made, RF Owen Caissie, CF Ismael Mena, C Ronnier Quintero, C Ethan Hearn, and LF Jordan Nwogu

chase strumpf is quickly emerging as a "trendy" organizational hot prospect, even among non-cubs fans.  amaya is having a decent winter league showing so far...taking a lot of walks, too.

theo joining the commish's front office operation as a "consultant reguarding on field matters"...basically weighing in on the possible impact of rules changes.

danny hultzen retires and joins the cubs as a "pitching development assistant"

shame the comeback story didn't last longer...but hey, at least he got to taste the bigs after his body failed him for so many years.

"Scott Mitchell of TSN reports that the Blue Jays have discussed a potential trade with the Cubs involving Kris Bryant and Kyle Hendricks.

Mitchell was responding to a question on Twitter asking whether there was any truth to the rumor that the Jays had talked with the Cubs about a deal for both players, and he answered in the affirmative."

this timeline sucks.

Trade Hendricks? Cant be true. We're "going to be competitive this year."

Sell the team, Ricketts family.

things are a little tight, we have to be patient with the ricketts family finances.

when TD Ameritrade was fully/completely sold in october they expected to get 26 billion dollars of value on the transaction, but it only got 22 billion dollars.  the massive slew of millions that didn't fully come to realization on the ricketts side of that sale stings.

add to that the immediate and urgent need to start a conservative news organization and sports gambling portals...well, we have to understand they really need those 10s of millions from the cubs roster payroll to keep the family and business from falling into ruin.

TrUsT tHe PlAn!!!!  *shits pants*

But they got $600 a few months back. Each! That was an unexpected windfall.

Can't wait to see us acquire a 17 year old, 16 year old, 11 year old (all in the 15-30 range of Blue Jays prospects) and one of the shitty Jays surplus OFs. Randal Grichuk jerseys will be the new hot item among Cubs fans.

$$$$ for trump's defense fund.

cactus league officials are requesting MLB delay spring training because of elevated COVID cases + deaths.

their summer peak was 70-80 deaths a week and they're currently at 140-160 deaths a week.

things should be trending down now that most of people that wanted to kill relatives in order to have turkey dinners in NOV/DEC seems to have peaked.

Arizona is allowing fans in the stands for indoor NHL hockey games but it's too dangerous to let players following protocals; at least more so than hockey fans, to practice outside in a controlled environment.  Wonder how much of that is coming from MLB ownership trying to get a late start and pro-rating player salaries. Stall and save some money until more fans are allowed to attend later in the year. 

"MLB will hold its first-ever pre-draft combine from June 20-28 in Cary, North Carolina.

The combine will take place at the USA Baseball National Training Complex, with top draft-eligible college and high school players invited. As part of the combine, the top-88 prep players will take part in a tournament through June 26th consisting of eight games."

few hours away from HOF announcements (6pm EST, unless leaked early).

schilling seems to be the only guy with a legit shot this year and i wouldn't be surprised to see no one get elected...

big up aramis rarmirez getting at least 1 known vote on publically shared ballots.

schilling denied (71.1%, 16 votes short).

some people did nazi that coming.

no one inducted this year...aram got 1% of the vote so he found more than 1 vote out there (4 votes).  latroy hawkins got 2 votes for being a solid dude to other people (very friendly with the press and pretty much everyone)...sosa got 17% of the vote...

schilling/bonds/clemens are going in their last eligible class in 2022...could be a hell of a "controversial" class...but bonds/clemens need to find 50+ votes.

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  • Wrigley Rat 15 hours 32 min ago (view)

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  • George Altman 17 hours 24 min ago (view)

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  • Charlie 21 hours 41 min ago (view)

    I will be happy to continue to do gameday posts for another season and would like to keep the site active. Thanks for your labor!

    Sorry for all the delayed and abbreviated posts at season's end, by the way.

     

  • fullykräusened 22 hours 59 min ago (view)

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  • Cubster 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    Chiming in that TCR is still a major part of my daily Cub routine and has always been my browser homepage. The site contains much love for AZ Phil and his subtle sense of humor as the war correspondent for the Arizona Scoring Service. 

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  • crunch 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    no matter the future, i've learned a whole lot being here and i'm still learning.  phil's post earlier with the end-season instructs stats is a great example of this.  lots of love for the team, the farm system, and the game here.

    also, it looks like dusty's crew is 3 outs away from going to the WS with 5 runs to cushion.

     

  • George Altman 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    Please keep it going if at all possible. No other Cubs website compares. I've spent 15 years with AZ Phil, Crunch, Cubster. Don't want to see that end.

     

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    Like the others, I don't post often, and it's not the only Cubs baseball site I read.  However, it is the first site I read each day and if I only read one, this is it.  I hope you can hang in there.  

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    I've been reading, commenting and asking questions here for over a decade now. Cubdom wouldn't be whole without TCR.

    Hope it stays in any form possible. 

    Whatever is most manageable, cheapest, time efficient manner you.

     

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    Absolutely want to see if stay if possible. 

     

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    Thank you for hosting and maintaining the site.  I don't post often but have been visiting since mid 2000s.  Really appreciate the information and community of The Cub Reporter.  I understand it can be a lot of work to maintain a site but would really hate to see it end. 

     

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    Thank you Phil, I can see this is a work of love.

     

  • Wrigley Rat 2 days 21 hours ago (view)

    Cubs Reportedly Sign Powerful Infielder Alejandro Rivero Out of Indy Ball: https://www.bleachernation.com/cubs/2021/10/21/cubs-reportedly-sign-powe...

     

  • crunch 3 days 17 hours ago (view)

    * except for playing 1st base