Cubs MLB Roster

Cubs Organizational Depth Chart
40-Man Roster Info

40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full), plus three players are on the 60-DAY IL and one player has been DESIGNATED FOR ASSIGNMENT (DFA)

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

Last updated 6-16-2024

* bats or throws left
# bats both

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

Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

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

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

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

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

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

Jose Cuas, P

Minor League Rosters
Rule 5 Draft 
Minor League Free-Agents

Projected Cubs 2021 Spring Training Roster


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)

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

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

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


Miguel Amaya
Willson Contreras
Austin Romine 

# Taylor Gushue 
P. J. Higgins 
Tyler Payne 


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

Abiatal Avelino 
Matt Duffy 
Trent Giambrone 
* Alfonso Rivas
Chase Strumpf
Patrick Wisdom


Phillip Ervin 
# Ian Happ
* Jason Heyward
* Joc Pederson

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


[ ]

In reply to by tim815

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.

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?

[ ]

In reply to by Cubster

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).

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. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

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.  

[ ]

In reply to by bradsbeard

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).   

[ ]

In reply to by bradsbeard

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.

[ ]

In reply to by Hagsag

"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.

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.  

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

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. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

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.  

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...

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...

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

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.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

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. 

[ ]

In reply to by George Altman

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.

[ ]

In reply to by Charlie

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. 

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

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.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

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. 

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.

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

"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.

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.

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

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.

[ ]

In reply to by tim815

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.

[ ]

In reply to by Charlie

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.

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

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. 

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.   

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.

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

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

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,, and (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). 

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

[ ]

In reply to by cubbies.4ever

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.  

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

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. 

"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*

[ ]

In reply to by George Altman

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

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.

[ ]

In reply to by QuietMan

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.

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

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...

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

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

[ ]

In reply to by cubbies.4ever

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

[ ]

In reply to by cubbies.4ever

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. 

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!

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.

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. 

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 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.

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In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

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."  

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In reply to by Arizona 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.

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In reply to by tim815

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

Joe and Phil Niekro are no longer available.

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.

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In reply to by crunch

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. 

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

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.    

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

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. 

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

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.     

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

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. 

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In reply to by springs

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.  

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

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.  

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

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.

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

Fangraphs agrees with your scout contacts, stating Preciado would be rated above Howard. 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.

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In reply to by springs

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. 

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

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. 

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In reply to by QuietMan

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.  

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In reply to by bradsbeard

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. 

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.

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In reply to by QuietMan

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."

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In reply to by Sonicwind75 

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 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.

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In reply to by springs

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.

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In reply to by crunch

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

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

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In reply to by cubbies.4ever

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.

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

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.

"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!

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

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In reply to by crunch

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. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

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.

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In reply to by crunch

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. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

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. 

[ ]

In reply to by Sonicwind75

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

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.

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

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*

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

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.

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.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

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.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

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.

[ ]

In reply to by Cubster

imagine being so toxic that you go from a no-doubt 1st or 2nd year HOF'r to having to try for it in your 10th year...and then imagine doubling down on the toxicity every chance you get a chance to redeem yourself.

every time he's called out, even for minor stuff, he piles on more and then complains that people that have an issue with him are "cancelling" him for no good reason.

he deleted a slew of "those people that stormed the capital are great people" posts pre-election so he has some kind of self-awareness in that skull of his somewhere.

...speaking of toxic (and being a perpetual complainer about being a victim)...corey black is still a cub.  he might want to scrub that picture of Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio off his Twitter page at some point if he gets close to the bigs...along with a slew of other social media things he's yet to delete.

WSCR online reporting that the Cubs are going to watch lefty Carlos Rondon pitch. They desperately need another lefty that breaks down with the regularity of my Comcast service. 

joc pederson is a cub...

i wonder if bryant is about to leave or if pederson is a "4th OF'r" that will see a lot of ABs in LF/RF while bryant occasionally covers 3rd...

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

1/7m on pederson.

the cubs slightly upgrade the defense and save 3m compared to schwarber...meh...pretty much a wash on whole when it comes to pros/cons of actual expected production.

i dunno if that 3m actually matters, but hopefully they can make it matter.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

Pederson does strike out less often and is a little better defender, so I do think he improves on Schwarber somewhat (for apparently less money). But he's worse against LHP so they have to be willing to strictly platoon him. 

[ ]

In reply to by bradsbeard

Agreed. As long as they're not really trying, it's pretty much sure Joc, go ahead and hit .130 against LHP with a .300 SLG. If theyre better than they have any real right to be, he either will have shocked everyone and hit LHP or they'll say "we gave it a shot, back to a platoon for you."

Joc in at 1 yr/ $7M plus incentives. He's being given the chance to be a starter. Is he still able to play CF?

cards get nolan arenado.

he's under contract until 2026 (supposedly 2027 with another season tacked on to make the trade happen), but has a 2021 opt out...2022 opt out being staying intact after the trade to STL...commish will have to sign off on the deal.

it seems arenado agreed to waive the no-trade from a position of strength by getting his concessions.

supposedly a significant amount of cash is going to STL from COL, too.

there's a lot more "extra" information compared to normal trades involved in this one and things may not be 100% correct on the early leaks.

carlos rondon returns to the wsox...there's one "broken goods" cubs target off the board.

i still got my money on jake arrieta...jeff samardzija in the mix, too.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

Trevor Williams has minor league options left and he hasn't accrued enough MLB Service Time to reject an Optional Assignment, so the Cubs could option him to AAA if he isn't one of the 13 pitchers on the Opening Day 26-man roster. 

Shelby Miller is different in that it's pretty much MLB or bust for him, so the Cubs would probably give him the first shot at the #5 SP slot, unless T. Williams clearly out-performs S. Miller in Spring Training Cactus League games.

If Williams is clearly the better choice, the Cubs can just release Miller and pay him the termination fee (his contract is not guaranteed, so he would get 45 days pay -- which is about $200K -- if he is released prior to MLB Opening Day).    

"Jesse Rogers of ESPN reports that a reunion between the Cubs and Jake Arrieta is "doubtful."

Rogers reported on Friday that the Cubs had interest in a possible reunion with Arrieta, but a couple of days appears to have changed things. He notes that Arrieta's salary request is not in line with what Chicago is likely wanting to spend."

yeah, the cubs don't got that stupid large jake arrieta loot to throw around.

wonder what he's looking for, though.  if he can manage to get more than 5m, good for him.

There will be at least three Millers at Cubs Spring Training (Shelby, Tyson, and Ian), so along with soft-tossing SP, apparently the Cubs have found yet another arcane market inefficiency to exploit. 

cubs fans: can we get miller?  can we grab brad miller?  oh...maybe we can we get andrew miller?

ricketts family: no, we have plenty of miller at home.

miller at home: shelby, tyson, and ian...

so we're a week out from tom ricketts "expanding the budget" and so far we've gotten joc pederson and andrew chafin for around 10m combined.

f'n austin romine's 1.5m contract was the big signing until joc got signed...and that's not exactly an exciting signing (though it's not trash).

i'm not expecting trevor bauer or anything on that scale, but i was hoping there would be more to this budget expansion...still time to surprise, i guess.

I wonder when we're going to see the full list of NRI. It's usually end of January but still nothing so far

[ ]

In reply to by Hagsag

they will probably ask the parents of players to volunteer while the rest of the parents take turns bringing cookies and kool aid for the post-game spread.

the money saved will benefit the organization greatly...maybe some new signage at the hotel zachary or they could build another digital advertising scoreboard on top of one of the existing digital advertising scoreboards...bud light presents the garden claw gold cubs scoreboard.

i am beating the living hell out of this dead horse.  still not tired...i could go all season.

they will probably ask the parents of players to volunteer...

At this point, Mike Bryant (KB's dad) might be the better hitter.

cubs claim sergio alcantara off waivers from DET...can play SS/2nd and he's trying out 3rd a little bit (big plus arm).

practically no power, and only mildly above average with speed...did HR in his first MLB at bat, though.

not a bad pickup, but at his best he's bench or injury replacement talent.

[ ]

In reply to by Cubster

they're giving up a bit of bat upside for better D + arm.  schrock's not got power, but there's a lot more upside than alcantara, who's a line drive hitter at best.

schrock's D (good), arm (meh), and the better bat upside vs alcantara's D (very good), arm (well above average), and an extremely questionable bat without power.

MLB is making changes to the official baseball in order to make it more consistent in it's production, the result being a less bouncy/hitter-friendly baseball.

also 5 more teams (10 total) will be using humidors.

lot of good news for pitchers today.

it's "PECOTA day"...for those that care about this kind of thing.  i'm not a big fan of it, but it is what it is and people do find it interesting.

cubs 2nd place (85.1 W - 76.9 L) behind MIL (88.8 W - 73.2 L)

dodgers with 102.9 W

"As part of the health and safety protocols announced by MLB on Tuesday, in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, teams will be allowed to add to their active roster temporarily without having to later make 40-man roster moves when the COVID-impacted players return."

also, opening day rosters will be 26 (expanding to 28 in september).  7-inning double-headers is on for 2021 and that "runner on 2nd" thing for extra innings is happening, too.

[ ]

In reply to by Cubster

Being that this is simply a Cubs PR piece, should I be worried that we're being set up for Willson Contreras being traded soon with this line:

  "The idea that Amaya could handle the majority of starts at catcher for the Cubs in 2021 and produce average results in his age 22 season is real."

[ ]

In reply to by Sonicwind75

Although I believe he is a future MLB front-line catcher, I think it is highly unrealistic to believe that Miguel Amaya could be MLB-ready anytime in 2021, short of a September call-up to be the #3 catcher when rosters expand to 28. Even 2022 would probably be a stretch, although that would be more possible, depending on how he progresses in all phases of his game in 2021.

"Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney
After closing deals with Joc Pederson, Trevor Williams and Andrew Chafin, Jed Hoyer anticipates the Cubs will add more major-league payroll before spring training: “A number of factors allowed us to sort of move from the lower end of that range to the higher end.”

neat...well, maybe...i guess we'll see...

Jake Marisnick.... okay. He's uh.... fine?

 I hope this doesn't push Ervin off the roster. I solidly prefer his talents to Marisnick.

First with Schwarber >>>> Pederson, now Almora >>>> Marisnick. Twice swapping out a player for a very similar player and/or marginal upgrade for an almost identical contract (in $ and yrs).  That is interesting to me... Frustrations about spending, team debt load, etc. aside, I want to give credit to Jed Hoyer for pulling the trigger on those deals.  For whatever reason, there was something with KS & AA that didn't have them convinced for 2021  (which kills me to type b/c I love Schwarber's swing).  Making those swaps involves quite a bit of swallowing of ego & shows a willingness to make tough calls (especially with Schwarber's 2016 story endearing himself to fans - myself included).  

the mets and cubs are supposedly talking about k.bryant again...because of course they are.

Per Jon Heyman: Arrieta had higher offers elsewhere but loved the idea of a reunion with the Cubs, and pursued it

Funny comment of the day from Phillie fan: commenting on a pic of Jake in a Cub uniform: "crappy photoshop job of Jake's uniform."

The Jake Arrieta contract has been officially filed with the MLB Office & has been approved, and Kyle Ryan goes to the CoViD-related IL (which is 40-man roster exempt) to make room for Arrieta on the 40. There is no minimum or maximum limit on the number of days a player can remain on the CoViD-related IL. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Jake Arrieta gets $4M in 2021 and a $10M mutual option or $2M buy-out in 2022, with $1M in performance bonuses ($250K each for 150 IP, 160 IP, 170 IP, and 180 IP), and also the automatic Article XX-B "no trade" through June 15th.  

So Arrieta ($10M), Pederson ($10M), and Chafin ($5.25M) will have fairly substantial salaries in 2022 if both the player and the club exercise their part of the mutual option (which rarely happens), but the buy-outs ($2M for Arrieta, $2.5M for Pederson, and $500K for Chafin) aren't that bad if the Cubs decline the option. 

Could have an option year remaining.  Bleacher Nation walked it back, per the link above.

Recent comments

  • Arizona Phil 1 hour 11 minutes ago (view)

    Also, Yency Almonte is already 39 days into his 15-day IL assignment and he doesn't appear close to a rehab assignment, so he could have been transferred to the 60- day IL and still would have been eligible to be reinstated in 21 days.  

    So the Cubs must believe that now is a really good time to run Jose Cuas through waivers. (Presuming he is not traded or claimed off waivers, Cuas is NOT eligible to elect free agency if he is outrighted to the minors, but he will be a Rule 9 minor league 6YFA post-2024 World Series if he is not added back to the 40 or signs a 2025 minor successor contract in the meantime). 

  • crunch 1 hour 51 minutes ago (view)

    damn, willson contreras will begin a AAA rehab assignment tomorrow.

    broken wrists aren't what they used to be.  it's been about 5 weeks.

  • Arizona Phil 2 hours 17 minutes ago (view)

    The Cubs have not just one, not just two, but - THREE - former Grand Canyon University closers in their system -- Frankie Scalzo Jr, Nick Hull, and Vince Reilly. Also catcher David Avitia.  

    Cubs "four corners" area scout Steve McFarland is one of the best scouts in the business. (Four corners area includes Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona, plus Las Vegas/Clark County). 

  • Arizona Phil 1 hour 31 minutes ago (view)

    A month into the 2024 season the Cubs were last in stolen bases. They are now 10th (5th in the N. L.). 

  • crunch 4 hours 15 minutes ago (view)

    frankie scalzo

  • Arizona Phil 13 hours 36 minutes ago (view)

    Childersb3: No. 

    A player can be recalled from an optional assignment and be placed on the club's MLB 60-day IL without any other move required. As long as the 40-man roster is full when the player is recalled and placed on the 60-day IL, it isn't even necessary to immediately replace the player on the 40 with another player, so this move could have been made the day after Madrigal sustained the broken hand at AAA and the Cubs could have played with 39 players on the 40 until whenever the slot might have been needed.   

    However, beginning on September 1st, the 40-man roster must be full when a player is placed onto or transferred to the 60-day IL - AND - another player must immediately replace the player on the 40 when the player is moved to the 60-day IL, but prior to September 1st that is not necessary. 

  • Childersb3 16 hours 7 minutes ago (view)

    Greg Zumach of Twitter/X's @IvyFutures page is reporting that Moises Ballesteros and a RP from TN are being promoted to IA.

  • Cubster 16 hours 24 minutes ago (view)

    MLBTR is reporting that former Cub, Mike Brumley was killed in a car accident. He was only 61.

    I remember him more for the trade that brought him to Chicago and the trade that led to his exit. He was a bench SS on the 1987 Andre Dawson MVP season—but last place finishing team.  He was on the Cubs coaching staff in 2014.

    the Red Sox traded Brumley and Dennis Eckersley to the Cubs for Bill Buckner in May 1984, which led to Brumley making his MLB debut in a Chicago uniform in 1987.  The Cubbies then dealt Brumley and Keith Moreland to the Padres in February 1988 in the swap that brought Goose Gossage and Ray Hayward to Chicago.”

  • crunch 17 hours 7 minutes ago (view)

    the bats are piling up walks with not many hits...and the hits are rather low on doubles and homers.  they would be in much better shape if the bats were cashing in more of this walk-heavy lineup.

    the amount of 1-run games this team is playing is astounding...and it's not like a majority of these are high-scoring 1-run games.

  • Childersb3 17 hours 19 minutes ago (view)

    Wait, stupid question. 

    Wicks spot could've gone to MMadrigal, first.