25 Cubs Minor Leaguers Get NRI Tix to MLB Spring Training


* bats or throws left 
# bats both 

Joe Biagini 
James Bourque 
* Rex Brothers 
Juan Gamez 
Jake Jewell 
* Brendon Little
Trevor Megill 
Shelby Miller 
* Adam Morgan 
Tommy Nance 
Michael Rucker 
* D. J. Snelten 
* Jerry Vasto 

# Tayler Gushue 
P. J. Higgins 
# Jose Lobaton 

Abiatal Avelino 
Matt Duffy
Trent Giambrone 
* Alfonso Rivas  
Patrick Wisdom 

Michael Hermosillo 
* Nick Martini 
* Ian Miller 
* Rafael Ortega 


With The Two Jakes (Marisnick and Arrieta) needing 40-man roster slots once their contracts are signed, sealed, and filed, I would expect the Cubs to try and sneak Phillip Ervin and Sergio Alcantara through waivers (and if outrighted, neither have the right to elect free-agency). 

I expect Alcantara to be outrighted (just middle infield depth), but I'm really hoping they choose to outright either Underwood or Maples (out of options) before they outright Ervin (who I think will end up being the 4th/5th outfielder and a good platoon partner with Heyward or Pederson at some point in the season).

I don't know how we can keep both Underwood and Maples AND Fenter all year without the flexibility to option them to the minors when needed. Underwood had a great opportunity last year, but didn't fair all that well. Maples can't seem to control his pitches well enough to stick in the majors. And, we have tons of depth at AAA that could produce similar results to those two guys anyway.

I think Underwood has shown enough in each of the last two years to keep his spot, just needs more consistency and the reps to achieve that. Plus I'm pretty sure he's like 26. Agreed on Maples though. I think he's probably gotta go. I want to see Ervin as a Cub, I've always liked his game.

maples has one of the nastiest sliders in the game...and very little consistency with it, or his other pitches.

if he gets stable he's a hell of a closer prospect even if he's not much of a "prospect" at age 28 (29 in may).  i'm kinda tired of waiting for him to break though, though...not sure it's going to happen.

cards signed matt szczur to a minor league deal.

his un-ending cubs love just got slightly complicated...

Who are some of the notable NRI snubs? Brennen Davis for sure is one... blanking on some others.

So let's just say for fun Shelby Miller makes the team.  Who makes the rotation Hendricks...then what between Davies (Gotta assume he is ($8mil isn't a swingman price, then again they gave $13mil to Chatwood) Miller, Mills, Alzolay, Underwood, Marquez, and I can't believe they'd pay Arrieta $6 mil to be a long relief and doubt he'd accept anything but a starting gig.

imagine arrieta's breaking up the slower hedricks/davies.

hendricks / arrieta / davies / t.williams ....mills/alzolay/miller

t.williams isn't exactly a lock to be good enough to make or stay in the rotation given recent performance, but they seem to like the gamble.  i still can't beleive we got rid of home-run-prone lester to pick up the even worse home-run-prone williams.

Also have they sorted out the options ordeal yet?  I think that becomes rather important regarding Alzolay if I'm correct this year being as he will have I think 0 or 1

cubbies.4ever: I haven't heard yet about whether 2020 will be considered a "full season" (and therefore as a Qualified Season) as far as it pertains to players like Adbert Alzolay who might or might not be eligible for a 4th minor league option in 2021, but I do know that players who spent less than 20 days on Optional Assignment to the minors in 2020 are getting credit for only one day of MLB Service Time (not each day multiplied by 2.78) for each day spent on Optional Assignment.

So it would appear that the only changes from the letter of the CBA and MB Rules in 2020 was that MLB Service Time was multiplied by 2.78, but only for days spent on an MLB Active List roster and MLB IL, but not for days spent on Optional Assignment to the minors (if a player spent less than 20 days on Optional Assignment), and minor league players who were eligible to be minor league free-agents post-2020 were given credit for a qualified season toward minor league free-agency in 2020 even though the 2020 minor league season was canceled before it ever started.

Whether all minor league players (the ones not eligible to be Rule 55 minor league free-agents post-2020 but who will be eligible to be free-agents in coming years) will get credit for a qualified season toward minor league free-agency in 2020 is unclear, as is whether 2020 will be considered a "full season" as it relates to 4th minor league option eligibility for guys like Alzolay.

Keep in mind that 4th minor league option eligibility only applies to players on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) who have not yet accrued five "full seasons" but have used three minor league options, with a "full season" being defined as any season where a player spent at least 90 days on an MLB and/or minor league Active List roster(s), or at least 30 days on an MLB and/or minor league Active List roster(s) followed by an IL assignment where the total number of days (combined) spent on an Active List roster(s) and Injured List totals at least 90 days.

So guys like Dillon Maples, Duane Underwood Jr, Sergio Alcantara, and Phillip Ervin are not eligible for a 4th minor leagued option because they accrued five "full seasons" by the time they had used their third minor league option.

Players on the Cubs MLB 40-man roste who would be eligible for a 4th minor league option if 2020 is not considered to be a "full season" are Adbert Alzolay in 2021, Justin Steele in 2022 (but only if his third option is spent in 2021), Miguel Amaya and Manuel Rodriguez in 2023 (but only if third option is spent in 2022), and Nico Hoerner, Brailyn Marquez, Christopher Morel, and Keegan Thompson in 2024 (but only if third option is spent in 2023), but none of them would be eligible for a 4th minor league option if 2020 was considered a "full season" as it pertains to 4th minor league option eligibility.

Thanks, AZ Phil. As always, incredibly detailed answers.

MLBTR reports that Bruce Levine says the Cubs are looking for a lefty bat who plays 2B. Kipnis (maybe), Descasco (please, no) or Travis Shaw (ex-Red Sox always on the list).

Why us old farts hate the Mets: because they troll ex-Cubs? per MLBTR: The Mets have signed Mike Montgomery and Tommy Hunter to minor-league contracts (via Tim Healey of Newsday). Both pitchers will receive invitations to major league spring training.

Williams is supposed to benefit from  Master Yoda's pitch lab. Shelby needs to bring his GT.

Any accuracy to the Cubs having only on DSL/AZL affiliate?

Is this a choice, or a league mandate?

TIM: The short-season leagues (AZL, GCL, and DSL) haven't been fully configured yet, but the Cubs do have 140+ players (includes several players who were "Signed for Future Service" prior to 12/31 and thus don't yet count against short-season minor league reserve list limits) assigned to the reserve lists of AZL Cubs Blue, AZL Cubs Red, DSL Cubs Blue, and DSL Cubs Red.

The Cubs have only named Lance Rymel (AZL Cubs) and Carlos Ramirez (DSL Cubs) as short-season managers because it is not yet officially confirmed (although it is very likely) that there will be two Cubs teams in both the AZL: and DSL.

Because the minor league regular seasons for full season leagues will start at least a month late, It's possible that the AZL, GCL, and DSL will operate more as de facto EXST/Instructs leagues for the entire 2021 season (TBD).

For Craig Kimbrel's 2022 $16M option to vest he will have to finish 79 games (GF) in 2021, and that is after multiplying Kimbrel's GF in 2020 by 2.78.

Kimbrel needed to finish at least 110 games (combined) in 2020-21 for the 2022 option to vest, and he only finished 11 games in 2020 (which is pro-rated to 31 GF). So if he doesn't finish at least 79 games in 2021, 2022 becomes a club option, with a buy-out if option is declined.   

So from the Cubs 2022 payroll POV, the only issue with Kimbrel is not whether his 2022 $16M option will vest (it won't), but rather whether he will finish 53 games in 2021. If he finishes at least 53 games the buy-out is $2M, and it's $1M If he finishes less than 53 games. 

So the Cubs can use Kimbrel as much as they wish this season (even as the primary closer if he is effective in that role) without having to worry about getting stuck with his $16M salary in 2022. 

d.ross has confirmed he will be the closer (backed up by his stellar September showing - 7.1ip 3h 0bb 13k, 0r/er)

I give it til mid May

...provided the team gives him enoigh save opportunities to blow

i have 0 idea how to feel about this entire pen, top to bottom...kinda like last year...

Jeremy Jeffress hasn't signed yet. Does Anyone know if his market just hasn't landed yet or if he's asking for a boatload of $$ or something else (behind the scenes) that is at issue? He was reliable and solid last year. Some recent rumors sound like the Red Sox are sniffing around. Any on the rumor list seems interesting though and I've always liked lefty Tony Watson but he's always too pricey for the dumpster divers.

Getting the band together again? Oh snap! If you like the Jake Arrieta signing, you'll love bringing back Pedro Strop.

(the list of top relievers remaining on the market includes righties Jeffress, Workman, Trevor Rosenthal, Shane Greene and Tyler Clippard and left-hander Tony Watson.)

real talk, though...pedro strop is an underappreciated all-time cubs reliever.  he's not epic, but 5.5 straight seasons of nice with 1 year of bleh.

that said, i think i'm done with pedro strop as a cub.

i'm actually surprised t.rosenthal hasn't been picked up by someone.

re: Pedro - totally agree.  He is #4 in all-time appearances by a CHC reliever (#6 overall including two pre-WWII pitchers/unbreakable-Terminators).  In front of him are:

Lee Smith ('nuff said)

Don Elston (solid RP; longeviity; some very good season)

Carlos Marmol (thank you for the fun memories at a dark period in Cubs history, but I already feel the anxiety rising in my chest)

And just after him in RP games are Ryan Dempster * (~ 225 games as RP & ~150 G as SP) and then James Russell  (I would NOT have ever guessed that... he got WORKED in those first 5 yrs).  Working down the list of RP games played... Farnsworth, Sutter (HOF), Kerry Wood*, Rondon, Sean Marshall... and then it peters out to RPs who had 2ish solid years with CHC (eg, Bob Howry) & guys who sucked up lots of unspectacular innings (eg, Will Ohman - who is currenly in the CHC top 50 all-time for # of G by a P... huh.)

Setting aside some good overall production from Dempster/Wood with discussion to be had about RP/SP splits... that leaves 2 HOF-ers & Pedro. Nobody else really even comes close.

Looking at the numbers for the above post, I revisited the 2007 Pitching Staff... four SP with >= 32 starts. Six RP with >= 55 games, Kerry Wood with 22 games, & the rest of the pen (10 players) with 76 appearances combined. Wow... 

pitchers and catchers report today.  woo.

r.wick held back (oblique strain) and k.ryan on covid protocol (no idea what's going on there).

teams are being rather aggressive with players who have had covid.  it's not just active/exposure cases...they're giving health checkups to make sure anyone who's had it has healthy heart/lungs/etc after recovery...robust checkups for player health.

AZ Phil: Keith Law's newest Cub Prospect Ranking has Michael Avene at #17. Any new thoughts on him for 2021 especially your projection as a reliever or starter.

Cubs sign Brandon Workman per Patrick Mooney at $1M, The allure of ex-Bosox is still strong with the Force says Yoda. Baby Yoda just moves the deck chairs around in circles. 

one more link, Craig Breslow was a teammate of Workman in 2013-5, so there's that.

and Pedro Strop also agrees to a deal, minor league contract with spring training invite.

1965 Cub and Hypnotist Bill Faul as well as Paul Reuschel and Carlos Marmol were on that short list.

Orioles are considering Scott Feldman for DH and 5th starter roles.

ta da boom...

daaaaamn...SD just franchised tatis jr.

14yr/340m extension.

James Shields says: I loved being a White Soxer

SD making a stupid signing of james shields and it low-key ends up being an amazing franchise move years later thanks to the wsox being stupid.

also of note, tatis is signed through 2034, but bobby bonilla's contract is still the king of longevity...paying out until 2035.

A's sign Rosenthal

Cubs dfa Alcantara

actually a bit surprised alcantara's gone.

on the MLB level there's baez/hoerner.  on the "AAAA" minors-to-majors-as-needed pipeline ildemaro vargas is more of a 2nd/3rd type than a 2nd/SS type (kinda like bote).

maybe they're gonna cross their fingers and hope baez/hoerner can handle things without free'ing up a 40-man roster spot for a "AAAA" SS ahead of need.

They've got another SS with MLB experience on hand in Iowa, Abietal Avelino. There's probably not a huge difference between him and Alcantara in terms of an emergency SS. I also think Vargas can probably handle it in a pinch. That was his primary position in the minors. But I imagine they also hope Alcantara sneaks through waivers with most 40 man rosters filled up (and most teams passed on him the last time he was on waivers).

Although it is possible that Sergio Alcantara could get claimed off waivers, he is out of minor league options, and other than a September "cup of coffee" with the Tigers in 2020, he has not played above AA. 

So while he is only 24 and actually still is a decent prospect, Alcantara is not a particularly attactive waiver claim candidate because he probably needs a year of AAA, and since he is out of options he can't be sent back & forth to the minors during the season. 

If the Cubs are able to secure waivers and outright Alcantara to the minors, he does - NOT - have the right to elect free-agency, although he would be a Rule 55 6YFA after the World Series if he is not added back to the 40 before then. 

Does anyone, AZP in other words, know what % of ticket/gate receipts goes to visiting teams in MLB? 

My understanding is that teams no longer split gate revenue with visiting teams. The home team keeps it all, but that money is subject to revenue sharing. 

A club contributes a percentage of its net revenue (that is, minus expenses) to a central fund, and from that fund clubs receive a percentage based upon whether the club is a revenue sharing receiver or payor, or neither.

The percentage of net revenue paid by a club is a "blending" of 50% of the club's net revenue from the previous season, 25% of the club's net revenue from two season's back, and 25% of a club's net revenue from three season's back, which usually comes out to approximately 30% of a club's net revenue.  

A club's net revenue includes ticket sales, but also other revenue as well. 

Thx, BB. Hoping that's the case cuz I wanna go see the Cubs play @ the Twins in August but I don't want the Cubs to get any of my $.

But does any of its gross revenue derive from road gate receipt?

MIKE W: A club's gross revenue includes gate receipts, but the visiting team does not receive a direct portion of the gate receipt from a given game.

About 30% of net revenue (minus expenses) over the course of an MLB regular season (not including the post-season) from all 30 clubs is mixed together in a common pool and then is redistributed as revenue sharing (so some clubs get more than what they put in, others get less), but the actual money spent by a fan on a ticket for a particular game is thoroughly mixed into the stew.

Thx, AZP. Sounds murky & convoluted enuf to let myself believe that none of the $ I pay to the Twins will go directly to the Ricke, I mean Cubs. That's all I need to know.

RIP "Darivsh Blister Anxiety" Twitter post ruling the TCR front page

It was time. 


happ wins his arb case (4.1m vs 3.25m)...kinda surprised he won.

cubs gonna have to trade bryant, baez, and contreras now.

btw, tom ricketts is currently blaming his recent bond brokerage (Incapital LLC) slow growth on spending the past decade pouring $$ into the cubs.  so, that's another great sign from our finacially challenged (yet still billionaire) overlords going forward.

Ricketts arb case v Happ was "Stop the steal." Surprised he won too but good for him!

Stop The Steal went 1 and 61 in court.  Apparently Ricketts thought it was due to come out of its slump.

Love it Jackstraw.

The Cubs have signed OF Cameron Maybin to a 2021 minor league contract.

Because he was an Article XX-B MLB free-agent post-2020, he gets the automatic $100K retention bonus and June 1st player opt-out if he is not released or added to the MLB 40-man roster by MLB Opening Day. 

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 30 min 13 sec ago (view)

    20s sounds about right. Considering they have gotten pretty much nothing out of pitching development in the last decade and only number one picks and Bote on the hitter side in the same time frame, that's pretty telling. I guess Contreras falls into that too but he had been around quite a while before Theo and Jed


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 32 min 25 sec ago (view)

    I was thinking that too, Phil. EJM failing so badly was another spectacular miss. Guess they should have let sleeping dogs lie when his first deal fell through (Dodgers or Giants, I think?)


  • tim815 1 hour 24 min ago (view)

    MLB.com rated the Cubs 22 out of 30.

    This season figures to tell quite a bit. No teams are terrible at player development anymore, and no teams look at the draft as a hopeless puzzle.


  • KingKongvsGodzilla 4 hours 38 min ago (view)

    Are these guys out of the org now? 


  • K Dub 9 hours 15 min ago (view)

    PHIL: Any velo readings on Ramos? Earlier reports also had him sitting 98-99. Thanks!


  • George Altman 15 hours 16 min ago (view)

    Phil, serious question: How good is the Cubs Player Development Department? Scale of 1 to 30 with 1 being best.  I mean, I can think of 5 teams right now who don't have near the Cubs resources but do better year after.

    I mean there are organizations across sports who seem to coach the crap out of their draft picks and signees. They just got 4 teenagers for Darvish, but do they have the coaches to get any of them to the show? 

    My pessimistic grade would be about 24.


  • Arizona Phil 15 hours 31 min ago (view)

    DJL: How about Eddy Julio Martinez as a spectacular miss? A $3M signing bonus out of Cuba and he never made it out of AA. 


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 15 hours 37 min ago (view)

    Wow, that's a pretty spectacular miss. He was so highly thought of when he signed.


  • Arizona Phil 16 hours 9 min ago (view)

    TIM: Richard Gallardo doesn't seem to be progressing as a SP, so he has apparently been moved to the bullpen.  He has a tendency to labor through innings and nibble too much and throw a lot of pitches. 


  • tim815 16 hours 23 min ago (view)

    Anything on Gallardo, of interest, from today?


  • Arizona Phil 16 hours 25 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have released LHP Ryan Kellogg, RHP Alex Moore, 3B Fidel Mejia, OF Jose Gutierrez, OF Eddy Julio Martinez, and OF Zac Taylor from Minor League Camp. 


  • Arizona Phil 16 hours 31 min ago (view)

    And despite what you might read elsewhere, It was - NOT - a "hot" gun.  


  • Arizona Phil 16 hours 57 min ago (view)

    He certainly could have forced the Cubs to release him with full salary as termination pay, so he must like it with the Cubs.  


  • Charlie 18 hours 48 min ago (view)

    Follow-up on last week's discussion of Baez's contact and plate discipline woes. Another Fangraphs article notes that he is among league leaders in combined positive change in zone swing rates (swinging at more pitches inside the strike zone) and reduction in chase rate (swinging at pitches outside the zone). See the last table: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/lets-look-at-some-earl...

    This makes his 45% strikeout rate and 1.7% BB rate all the more strange.


  • crunch 21 hours 49 min ago (view)

    he may not be worth much to us as fans, but every indication points to him being quite popular in the dugout.  nice to see him stick around as an emergency callup catcher.


  • Wrigley Rat 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    Tony Wolters clears waivers and is sent to the Alternate Training site in South Bend.