2021 Cubs Spring Training Uniform Numbers


The Cubs have re-signed OF Cameron Maybin and C Erick Castillo to 2021 minor league contracts and they have been assigned to the Cubs MLB Alternate Training Site, and NRI LHRP Jerry Vasto has been released.    



The Cubs have optioned INF Nico Hoerner to AAA Iowa, reassigned NRI RHPs Trevor Megill, Shelby Miller, and Pedro Strop and OF Rafael Ortega to Minor League Camp, and released NRI OF Cameron Maybin. 

: 39 (one slot is open) 
: 26 
: 5 (LHP Rex Brothers and Adam Morgan, C-INF P. J. Higgins, and INFs Matt Duffy and Ertic Sogard)



LHP Brad Wieck has been optioned to AAA Iowa, and INF Sergio Alcantara has been assigned to Minor League Camp.  

: 39 (one slot is open) 
: 27 (must get down to 26 by 4/1)  
: 10 



RHP James Norwood, LHP Kyle Ryan, and LHP Justin Steele have been optioned to AAA Iowa, LHP Brailyn Marquez has been optioned to AA Tennessee, and RHP Joe Biagini, C Jose Lobaton, and OFs Michael Hermosillo, Nick Martini, and Ian Miller have been reasigned to Minor League Camp.   



RHP Keegan Thompson has been optioned to AAA Iowa, and INF Trent Giambrone has been reasigned to Minor League Camp.



RHP Gray Fenter (selected by the Cubs in last December's MLB Rule 5 Draft) has been re-claimed by the Baltimore Orioles, RHP Cory Abbott, RHP Tyson Miller, and RHP Kohl Stewart have been optioned to AAA Iowa, and RHP Manuel Rodriguez, C Miguel Amaya, and INF Christopher Morel have been optioned to AA Tennessee.

In addition, 16 Spring Training NRI (INF Abiatal Avelino, RHP James Bourque, OF Brennen Davis, RHP Juan Gamez, C Taylor Gushue, RHP Jake Jewell, LHP Brendon Little, RHP Tommy Nance, C Tyler Payne, 1B-OF Alfonso Rivas, RHP Michael Rucker, RHP Robert Stock, INF Chase Strumpf, LHP Jerry Vasto, INF Andy Weber, and INF 1B-OF Patrick Wisdom) have been reassigned to Minor League Camp.

Players optioned to the minors or reassigned to Minor League Camp can continue to play in Cactus League MLB Spring Training games, but will be paid the MLB Spring Training allowance only on those days when they are assigned to the Cubs MLB Cactus League game roster.



Eric Sogard is wearing # 4.



Duane Underwood Jr has been traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates, so # 4, 11, 12, 34 (Kerry Wood's old number which appears to be semi-retired), 51 (Underwood's number), 69 (which the Cubs never issue) and 70 (Joe Maddon's number which appears to be semi-retired) are not issued.



Pedro Strop is wearing # 64 (which is his long-time # 46 reversed) and so James Bourque switches from # 64 to # 20, Tyler Payne has been issued # 96, # 97,has been assigned to Sergio Alcantara, and Chase Strumpf is wearing # 98.

Eric Sogard is not active yet, but when he does take the field he will probably wear either # 4, 11, or 12 (TBD). 



Jake Marisnick is wearing # 6 and so Ian Miller switches from # 6 to # 1, Ryan Tepera is wearing # 18 (hasn't been issued since Ben Zobrist retired), Cameron Maybin is wearing # 15 (the same number he wore last year) and so Austin Romine switches from # 15 to to # 25, and Andy Weber is wearing #83 with D. J. Snelten (who was wearing # 83) sent to EXST REHAB group with a sore elbow.

I have not seen Strop, Alcantara, or Strumpf on the field.  




NOTE 1: These are preliminary and are subject to change 
NOTE 2: Numbers 1, 4, 11, 12, 18, 20 (was Michael Ervin), 25, 34, 69, 70, 96, 97, and 98 are not assigned at this time (Cubs do not issue #69)
NOTE 3: OF Jake Marisnick, OF Cameron Maybin (NRI), RHP Pedro Strop (NRI), and INF Sergio Alcantara (NRI) have not reported on the field and have not yet been issued uniform number  
NOTE 4: Some of the Spring Training "guest instructors" are wearing duplicate numbers

2 Nico Hoerner, INF  
3 David Ross, MANAGER
5 Matt Duffy, INF (NRI) 
6 Ian Miller, OF (NRI)  
7 Jose Lobaton, C (NRI) 
8 Ian Happ, OF-INF
9 Javy Baez, INF 
10 RETIRED (Ron Santo)
13 David Bote, INF  
14 RETIRED (Ernie Banks)
15 Austin Romine, C (NRI)
16 Ildemaro Vargas, INF  
17 Kris Bryant, INF 
21 Gray Fenter, RHP   
22 Jason Heyward, OF 
23 RETIRED (Ryne Sandberg)
24 Joc Pederson, OF  
26 RETIRED (Billy Wiliams) 
27 Zach Davies,. RHP  
28 Kyle Hendricks, RHP 
29 Shelby Miller, RHP (NRI) 
30 Alec Mills, RHPP
31 RETIRED (Ferguson Jenkins / Greg Maddux)
32 Trevor Williams, RHP   
35 Justin Steele, LHP    
36 Dillon Maples, RHPP 
37 Kohl Stewart, RHP  
38 Brad Wieck, LHPP 
39 Andrew Chafin, LHP  
40 Willson Contreras, C 
41 Joe Biagini, RHP (NRI)  
42 RETIRED (Jackie Robinson) 
43 Dan Winkler, RHP 
44 Anthony Rizzo, 1B 
45 Brandon Workman, RHP  
46 Craig Kimbrel, RHP  
47 Adam Morgan, LHP  (NRI)
48 Rex Brothers, LHPP (NRI)  
49 Jake Arrieta, RHP 
50 Rowan Wick, RHPP  
51 Duane Underwood Jr, RHPP  
52 Jonathan Holder, RHP     
54 Chris Young, BULLPEN COACH  
56 Kyle Ryan, LHP 
57 James Norwood, RHP  
59 Patrick Wisdom, 1B-3B (NRI) 
60 Jason Adam, RHP 
61 Brailyn Marquez, LHP  
62 Nick Martini, OF (NRI)P 
64 James Bourque, RHP (NRI)  
65 Jake Jewell, RHP (NRI) 
66 Rafael Ortega, OF (NRI)
67 Michael Hermosillo, OF (NRI)
68 Tommy Hottovy, PITCHING COACH  
71 Keegan Thompson, RHP  
72 Tyson Miller, RHP
73 Adbert Alzolay, RHP 
74 Trevor Megill, RHP (NRI)  
75 Miguel Amaya, C
76 Christopher Morel, INF    
77 Manuel Rodriguez, P 
78 Jerry Vasto, LHP (NRI)
79 Brendon Little, LHP (NRI)  
80 Cory Abbott, RHP  
82 Abiatal Avelino, INF (NRI) 
83 D. J. Snelten, LHP (NRI) 
84 Alfonso  Rivas, 1B-OF (NRI)
85 Trent Giambrone, INF-OF (NRI) 
86 P. J. Higgins, C-INF (NRI)
87 Taylor Gushue, C (NRI) 
88 Juan Gamez, RHP (NRI) 
89 Robert Stock, RHP   
92 Tommy Nance, RHP (NRI)  
93 Michael Rucker, RHP (NRI)
94 Brennen Davis, OF (NRI) 
99 Anthony Iapoce, HITTING COACH 


Ryan Tepera returns. Major League deal

Chase Strumpf and Andy Weber invited to the ML camp.

rsox aquiring ZACH bryant from the cubs.


ptbn from the josh osich deal.

totally useless trade...hopefully not a terrible loss.

This is a straight up troll 

i contemplated writing the post totally trolled out as hell with "zach" coming after a wall of text.

i decided the cubs being cheap was enough pre-season punishment without piling on.

Oh, I mean the trade. You were quite diligent in posting!

yeah, i'm just saying i did consider piling onto it with a troll-level post about the trade...it's practically asking to be written that way.

jeff passan did it quite well... https://twitter.com/jeffpassan/status/136577746706...

that said, i had no idea zach bryant existed before today, but his early numbers looked oddly good (which means nothing without context that early in his career).

We just traded for Maddux!!!   ......... nope, the other one.

Q with LAA in his debut for them...HBP, a wild pitch, and BB through 7 pitches...then 3 pop-outs to follow.

blah blah spring training...

baseball on TV...neat.

side note...k.wong is on 1st putting on one of those "baserunning mitts" (hand protection for sliding) that's extending past the length of his hand/fingers by at least 2-3 inches.

they're going to have to start regulating this piece of equipment if this keeps up...

The DFA of Robert Stock to make room for Kyle Ryan coming off the CoViD-related IL wil need to be followed by removing another player on the 40 to make room for Ryan Tepera. 

It's possible somebody (like a pitcher) is injured to the extent that he might be placed on the 60-day IL, or else maybe somebody else will go on the CoViD-related IL (which is 40-man roster exempt) in the coming days to make room for Tepera.

Otherwise, somebody will have to be dropped from the 40 by trade or Outright Assignment (if the player isn't claimed), and the likely candidates would be Duane Underwood Jr or Dillon Maples (both are out of minor league options) or James Norwood or Brad Wieck (who are below Underwood and Maples on the depth chart, but who have a minor league option remaining).  

RHP Gray Fenter (selected by the Cubs in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft) is the really obvious candidate to get dropped from the 40 to make room for Tepera, but by rule he cannot be placed on waivers any earlier than March 8 and he can't be outrighted any earlier than March 12. That's why the Cubs should not have selected a non MLB-ready pitcher like Fenter in the Rule 5 Draft. 

Here are some pitching info from today's game for those of you who didn't see it: 

Adbert Alzolay:
FB: 93-95 
CH: 87 
SL: 84 
CV: 82 
COMMENT: Threw mostly FB and looked sharp... thought he might go two IP but it was at least a good start..

Dan Winkler:
FB: 91-94
CV: 83-84
COMMENT: Lots of FB and he got good results with the limited arsenal he showed today..  

Jonathan Holder: 
FB: 91-94 
CH/CT: 88-89 
CV: 83 
COMMENT: Nothing special but got a 1-2-3 inning... 

Dillon Maples: 
FB: 94-97 
CT: 87
SL: 85
CV: 84 
COMMENT: Has a job in the pen if he has the kind of command and shows swing & miss stuff like he did today... By far the most-impressive outing of the seven Cubs pitchers who threw today... 

Gray Fenter:
FB: 89-93 
SL: 85 
CV: 75-77 
COMMENT: Was unable to command his CV which is supposed to be his best pitch... I just don't see how he makes the Opening Day pitching staff of a contending team.... He's not bad, but the Cubs have lots of other pitchers just like him in the system... 

Brendon Little: 
FB: 95-96
SL: 84-87 
COMMENT: Has a "live" arm and he looks like he could develop into a really nice LHRP...   

Jake Jewell: 
FB: 95-97 
SL/CT: 86-90
COMMENT: Hard thrower... RH-pull no-doubt HR came on a 96 MPH FB that got turned around pretty good... FB has good velo but is straight and his secondary pitch is just passable so hitters can sit on FB... 

KC LHP Daniel Lynch FB was sitting 98 with a mid-80's SL in his first inning of work, but velo fell off 3-4 MPH and he lost command of his FB and SL in his second inning when he got knocked-out.. 

AZ Phil - Saw a report that Maples is using a short arm delivery now. I can't recall his prior delivery but perhaps the short arm delivery may be more repeatable and lead to better command (perhaps minus a few mph on the fast ball, etc). Thanks so much for your on-site observations - my favorite part of Cubs spring training. 

Eric S.... you wouldn't happen to be new Cubs NRI Eric Sogard would you????

Ha! I wish that was the case!

Even though he is signed to a minor lesague contract and is not on the MLB 40-man roster right now, I would think Eric Sogard is a virtual lock to make the Cubs Opening Day Active List 26-man roster. 

The Cubs were reportedly looking to sign a left-handed hitting second-baseman, and Sogard certainly fits that description. And unlike Jason Kipnis, Sogard has the versatility to play 3B and SS as well as 2B. 

As most of you probably know, the 26-man roster will be in effect in 2020 (expanding to 28 in September), but there will be no limit on the number of pitchers a club can carry. I would think most clubs (including the Cubs) will carry 14 pitchers (at least at the start of the season), which means a four-man bench (probably Bote, Marisnick, Romine, and Sogard).

The Cubs will probably try and get Ildemaro Vargas through waivers (and he can - NOT - elect free-agency if he is outrighted) and carry him on the five-man Traveling Taxi Squad (along with Lobaton, Maybin, and a couple of veteran MLB relief pitchers, like maybe Biagini and Strop). 

ERIC: Just as you said, the short-arm technique can improve command, hopefully without impacting the quality of a pitcher's stuff.

Based on what I saw yesterday, Maples' stuff is as good as ever, and his command was better, too. Hopefully it will continue, because he probably has the best pure stuff on the staff. Command has always been the problem.  

The type of pitcher who usually short-arms the ball is an ex-position player, like Rowan Wick (ex-C) and Pedro Strop (ex-SS). Former position players are used to throwing that way, and so it's just natural for them to continue doing it like that after they become pitchers. But it is somewhat unusual for a guy who has always been a pitcher and who isn't coming back from a major arm injury to start short-arming the ball ten years into his pro career. 

Thanks, AZ Phil.  Looks like a better use of the off-season by Maples than Carl Jr's hop-in-delivery was a few years ago - and not against the rules either. 

Jason Adam is another who throws short arm. I don't think he was a position player, but maybe falls into the arm injury category?

DJL: Jason Adam sustained a right elbow fracture a few years ago and missed two full seasons, and when he returned to action he started using a "short-arm" delivery. 

Thanks Phil, these pitching summaries are great!

Thanks Phil.

I read that Shelby Miller is now using a new slider to help out his other pitches (FB, curve).  AZ Phil, any thoughts about Miller making the team possibly as a swing guy out of the pen/spot starter? 

CUBSTER: Unless there is a wave of pitcher injuries in Spring Training I would think Shelby Miller will probably begin the season at AAA (or at the ATS, since the start of the AAA season is supposely going to be delayed) where he can get stretched out.

Unlike Cameron Maybin, S. Miller does not have an automnatic Article XX-B 6/1 opt out or a $100K retention bonus (if he isn't added to the MLB roster by Opening Day), because although he has Article XX-B status, he was not on an MLB reserve list when he became a free-agent after the World Series. (Same goes for Pedro Strop). It's possible that S. Miller has a contractual opt-out, but if so it has not (yet) been reported. 

One thing that is especially important regarding Miller (given his injury history) is to find out if he can bounce-back effectively after an outing, and I don't think the Cubs will want to determine that during the MLB Championship Season and I doubt that they can be sure of anything just based on Spring Training Cactus League game outings. Much better to test him at AAA (ATS) for a couple of months  and then take it from there. No reason to rush it. 

cubs game totally not a delay broadcast for ESPN...thanks for that gem heyward.

dunno if they'll be printing up any "You better have your shit in line" t-shirts, but it's as least as good as "Try not to suck"

Not impressed with ESPN's broadcast. I like Mendoza's work, but how many kids did we have to see rolling around the grass. Good day to see some young players ,but half the time you had no idea who was batting or pitching.

the national broadcasts on ESPN suffer badly from a lack of "homework" on the teams they're covering.

yesterday i heard more riffing between the announcers about each other more than the players.  the only thing that saved them from more of that and dead air was in-progress action and player interviews (too many player interviews, but it's spring so whatever).

General comment on baseball broadcasting... I think that the color comentator (CC) needs to talk about 30% more & the PBP about 30% less. I would love a more stream of consciousness from the CC outlining what they would be looking for in a given situation. To that end, why not have 2 CC for national broadcasts - one a pitcher & one a position player. Would love for them to banter back & forth on micro strategy from their perspectives. I think this would turn the game's pauses between action into more of an asset. I really don't need the PBP telling me everytime a runner takes a lead (always) or a pitcher checks 1B (almost always) - especially on TV.  

I also will absolutely die on the hill arguing that TV production for baseball & football (basketball to a lesser extent) should completely flip how they use their camera shots.  For live action, the shot should be as wide as possible. Maybe with a *slight* zoom in once action is underway. The close-ups should be for replay. How many times does the MLB broadcast cut to a tight shot of the OF picking up the ball only to miss (live) something interesting on the bases? Or a double play... I'd love to take in the whole INF & see how the runners are progressing, who is covering, etc. for the live shot & then cut to the zippy close up for a replay. Football is even worse with the zoom-in on the ball as soon as it is snapped, effectively giving you the worst of both a wide & a tight  shot. Endzone angles as well please... not all the time, but come on. I watched 5 years of U of Wisconsin football from the endzone and I saw so many things that I would have never seen on TV or even necessarily from the sidelines in the stands. 

tight shots + insane amount of screen real estate being taken up with graphics is a bit of a plague...especially the ones with a non-stop bottom news ticker.

Also... what is with only having 2 dots as the outs counter? I know that you don't really need the 3rd dot, but I find it counter-intuitive. If the dots fill in, then only having 2 throws me off b/c it's natural to subitize "3" associated with outs. You quickly see 0/3, 1/3, 2/3.  If the graphic does not have fill-in dots, then just put the #.  eg - OUTS: 1  It's minimalism for the sake of minimalism, not graphic design for effective communication.

FYI - Subitizing is the process of tacitly recognizing the # of something in a set, such as reading the pips on dice. I only know this b/c on like the 3rd day ever of kindergarden for my oldest, I asked "what did you do in math today?" And she said "We subitized".  I knew there was going to be a point where I didn't know what the hell they were talking about for math & I coul;dn't help her, just surprised it was day #3. 

I agree on most of this, but I especially support three fillable dots for the outs--and fill in the third before cutting to a commercial!

Not doing homework on the players in a Spring Training broadcast is pretty forgiveable, but ESPN is really bad about it pretty much all year. It would be nice if they made a habit of picking up a local color commentator and sort of interviewing them throughout games.

3 dot crew represent.  i didn't have an opinion, but now i'm 100% on board.

3 dots on this evening's Cubs-Dodgers game - makes sense & they do color in the 3rd dot as they're going to commericals (Spectrum Sportsnet).

Wow... this is the most engagement I have ever received on any topic on social media platform. Please stay tuned for my opinions on the Oxford Comma, the APA Style Manual for Academic Writing, and the auto-correct on my iPhone.  

I am an awesome guy at parties.... 

I watched some of the Puerto Rican Winter League games that Miguel Amaya played in this winter. At least one broadcast had a super wide shot for balls in play that let you see the OF and the baserunners at the same time. It was awesome. 

Yes! Exactly... I'd love to be able to watch coverages in football or just key-in on a great WR to watch them work.

The single thing I want in a sports broadcast is to become smarter about the sport,  to learn something from the broadcast crew.

Stone does that, Romo does that, Eddie O on hockey, and that's about it. I watch sporting events with the sound down very low or off. I forgot more about baseball than most broadcasters will ever know, and I'm always shocked when I see something in a football game that the crew doesn't,  and I know about NOTHING about football. 

Cotton McKnight: In 23 years of broadcasting I thought I'd seen it all, folks. But it looks like Peter La Fleur has actually blindfolded himself.

Pepper Brooks: He will not be able to see very well, Cotton. 

brews sign j.bradley 2/24m...decent deal for a quality CF'r.  he can opt out of the 2nd year.

kimbrel...K, single, HBP, 3 more hits...inning called due to pitch count.  4 earned.

also, baez removed after being HBP on the hand.


baez "soft tissue injury"...no biggie...it's spring.  he'll be back in a day or 2.

Today's pitchers, most of them the same guys who threw last Tuesday: 

Alec Mills:
FB: 89-91 
SL: 81 
CH: 81-82 
CV: 67-70 
COMMENT: This just in: Mills heater now sitting at 91!!!!... had two easy innings and looked very good... threw only a handful of his "Bugs Bunny curves" but they are fun to watch because hitters don't know how to deal with it... ... 

Craig Kimbrel: 
FB: 93-96 
CT: 87-88 
SL: 82-84 
COMMENT: Threw mostly sliders, relatively few FB... struck out the first hitter he faced and looked good doing it, then a catchable foul pop-up fell between Rizzo and Contreras, and then it all went to crap...  26-pitch inning and it just kept getting worse and worse the more pitches he threw...
Dan Winkler: 
FB: 90-92 
SL: 84-85 
COMMENT: Nothing new here... Winkler being Winkler... 

Jonathan Holder: 
FB: 94-95 
CT: 88-90 
CV: 80-83 
COMMEMNT: FB velo was up a couple of ticks from Tuesday... I am startng to think Holder might be a better pen option than Jason Adam (if it comes down to that) because Holder's overall stuff is better and he throws just as hard as Adam...
Dillon Maples: 
FB: 94-97 
SL/CT: 84-87 
CV: 82-84 
COMMENT: Used short-arm delivery except for a couple of times when he used the full-wind-up and those were the two times he hit 97... threw 31 pitches but actually pitched OK... gave up a broken-bat (shattered bat actually) infield hit, then another batter reached base on a FC (runner safe at home), and another reached base on an E-5, before the no-doubt-about-it Bobby Bradley three-run bomb off a 95-MPH heater... at least Maples no longer displays public frustration with his defense like he used to do, although he had good reason to do it today... 

Brendon Little:
FB: 92-96
SL: 85-87 
CH: 84 
COMMENT: Indians hitters squared him up pretty good and he got knocked-out... FB velo started at 95-96 but was down to 92-93 by the end of his 21-pitch outing... 

Jake Jewell:
FB: 96-98 
SL: 87 
COMMENT: Finished Little's inning... threw one high velo FB after another after first pitch (an ineffective SL) did nothing... he reminds me a lot of James Norwood (high velo straight FB but apparently no useful secondary pitches)... 

Also, Cleveland Indians RHRP Emmanuel Clase FB was sitting consistently at 99 (T-100). 

The fact that the Cubs have not run him through waivers by now tells me they know Duane Underwood Jr is a lock to get claimed and so they are hoping to find a club that would be willing to give the Cubs something more than the $50,000 waiver price in return for Dunderwood (either more $$$ and/or a player). 

BTW, I think I might have mentioned this here before, but I talked to a scout a couple of years ago who said he saw Underwood as a perfect MLB 25rh man (this was back when there was a 25-man roster limit) because he is such an outstanding athlete that he can pitch and play OF and PR (this scout also saw Underwood in pitchers BP on a backfield and was impressed with his swing). 

Another (different) scout said he hoped the Cubs would place Underwood on waivers so his club could get him cheap. (Again, this was a couple of years ago before Underwood was out of options). 

So I suspect that if Underwood is placed on waivers, that there would be a number of teams who would put in a claim. 

Phil, what are your thoughts on Mike Hermosillo? He is from our area,Ottawa.

HAGSAG: I've been watching Michael Hermosillo since his earliest days with the Angels, playing over the years against the Cubs in AZL, Minor League Camp, EXST, and AZ Instructs.

From the outset he showed plus defensive skills, a plus arm, and plus speed, but his hit tool was clearly lacking, and he had well below-average power. I thought AAA was his likely ceiling, and even then only as a 4th OF. 

What's different now is that his power has developed. I don't know if he will ever be a decent enough hitter to be anything more than a platoon or back-up MLB OF, but - IF - he can sustain the HR power he has a chance to accrue some MLB Service Time as a Jake Marisnick-type 4th OF with somebody (though probably not with the Cubs). 

maybin 0-9 with 6 Ks so far this spring.

How is Almora Jrs spring going?

3/9 with a homer (no walks).

pedro strop broke COVID protocol and will be even more days away from his spring debut.  good job, guy.

there is a goose in CF hanging out.

this is goose territory now.  this is not up for discussion.

game is in goose delay.

arrieta threw 2 innings...not bad, not good, nothing alarming, nothing impressive.  it'll be nice to see him work in future outings.

game back again...goose still in CF.

we now have 2 OF geese.

the 2 geese are now together covering left-center

Underwood to Pittsburgh for a 1B that hasn't played stateside yet. 2 DSL seasons.

2027 team gonna be fire.

i can't wait to see what group of teenagers we get for bryant mid-season.

Teenagers we've never heard of*

Shendrik Apostel will be first-time Rule 5 Draft eligible post-2021, so he will almost certainly be at AZL in 2021 if not at Lo-A. 

So is Justin Steele the guy on the bubble now if they need to open another 40-man roster slot?

I'd put my money on Fenter next. Steele makes sense too

Oh, I just figured that Fenter was going to pull a Rule-5 hammy on the last day of spring training that would warrant a 60-day IL list stint

Nah, Steele is a legitimate prospect still. Fenter and then Maples are probably next in line. 

Maples was the other I was thinking. Agreed he and Fenter (especially Fenter) are on the thinnest ice

Outright Assignment Waivers can be requested on Rule 5 draft picks (technically they are called Rule 6 Selected Players, because Rule 6 deals with the aftermath of Rule 5) no earlier than 25 days prior to MLB Opening Day (which was this past Sunday), and a Rule 6 Selected Player can be outrighted to the minors (either back to the minor league club from which he was selected if the player's former organization reclaims the player, or to a minor league affilliate of the selecting club if the player's former club declines to re-claim the player) no earlier than 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day (which is this coming Friday).

The player's former club has 48 hours to decide whether to reclaim the player once Outright Assignment Waivers have been secured, so if the Cubs requested Outright Assignnment Waivers on Fenter as soon as they could (let's say this past Sunday or Monday) and he cleared his waiver ride yesterday or today without being claimed, then the Orioles would have until tomorrow or Friday to decide whether to reclaim him, at which point either the Orioles reclaim Fenter and he is automatically sent outright to AAA Norfolk (the minor league club from which he was selected), or the Orioles decline to reclaim him and the Cubs keep him and outright him to AAA Iowa. 

It's possible a trade could be worked out with the Orioles if Outright Assignmment Waivers are secured and the Cubs want to keep Fenter but the Oriolesc want something back to make that happen (like maybe more $$$ and/or a player). 

Also, Draft-Excluded Players (Abbott, Marquez, C. Morel, and K. Thompson) can be sent to the minors beginning on the 20th day prior to MLB Opening Day, and any player on an MLB 40-man roster who did not accrue any MLB Service Time the previous season (Abbott, C. Morel, and K. Thompson, plus Miguel Amaya) can be sent to the minors (even if the player is injured or rehabbing from an injury) up until the 15th day prior to MLB Opening Day, which means next Wednesday. (Both Brailyn Marquez and Manuel Rodriguez accrued MLB Service Time in 2020, so they are not subject to this rule).  

So if a club is going to option or outright a player to the minors and the player does not figure to make the club's MLB Opening Day 26-man roster, the club absolutely must make sure to option or outright the player to the minors ASAP, because if the club waits too long and the player gets hurt, the player must be placed on the club's MLB Injured List, and if that happens the player gets paid at the MLB rate (instead of at the minor league split rate) - ,AND - accrues MLB Service Time while on an MLB IL. 

So Amaya should be optioned to the minors prior to next Wednesday, the three Draft-Excluded players who did not accrue any MJLB Service Time in 2020 (Abbott, C. Morel, and K. Thompson) should be optioned to the minors sometime between this coming Friday and next Wednesday, and any other player on the 40 who has minor league options available and who is not rehabbing from an injury and who does not figure in the Cubs 2021 MLB Opening Day roster plans (like T. Miller, Norwood, M. Rodriguez, Steele, Stewart, and Wieck) should be optioned to the minors ASAP. 

Adding a minor league NRI to the 40 should delayed as long as possible (preferably until MLB Opening Day), unless the NRI player has an opt-out or gets a retention bonus if he is not added to the 40 or released by a certain date (like post-2020 MLB Article XX-B free-agents Cameron Maybin and Eric Sogard, where the Cubs must decide by the Saturday prior to MLB Opening Day whether to add one or both to the 40, pay the player the $100K retention bonus and send him to the minors until the automatic 6/1 opt out, or release the player and move forward without him). 

It's interesting that Fenter was initially listed as scheduled to pitch in today's game against the Giants but didn't. I'm assuming that means he has not been placed on waivers yet? Or maybe they placed him on waivers prior to the game and that's why he didn't pitch?

BRADSBEARD: Being on Outright Assignment Waivers (which takes 47 hours) does not preclude a player from playing in games. Only being Designated for Assignment or being placed on Outright Release Waivers would require a player to be inactive. 

What might have happened is Fenter cleared Outright Assignment Waivers without being claimed, and so now the Orioles have 48 hours to decide whether to reclaim him or not, and the Cubs don't want him to pitch while the Orioles are making their decision. 

It also could mean a trade proposal is on the table where the Cubs get to keep Fenter in return for more $$$ and/or a player (or a PTBNL). 

Makes sense. Will be interesting to see if something goes down in the next day or two. 

Last year the Cubs were able to retain Rule 5 Draft pick Trevor Megill without giving the Padres anything additional beyond the original $100K draft price, and once outrighted Megill (who already had a year of AAA under his belt) was under club control for two seasons (2020-21).

On the other hand, if outrighted Gray Fenter will be under club control only through the 2021 season (he is scheduled to be a minor league 6YFA post-2021) and he has yet to pitch above single-A. So Fenter's value should be even less than Megill's, which Is why I would be s bit surprised if the Cubs give the Orioles anythng beyond the draft price, and I'm not sure that the Orioles would even reclaim Fenter (which would cost them $50,000).

The $100K (which is twice the waiver price) the Orioles got for Fenter would seem to be more than what he was worth (he's not exactly Jacob de Grom), given his lack of upper level experience and his impending minor league free-agency.  

Which once again begs the question: "Why did the Cubs even draft this guy?" 

I think that I actually see the logic in a R5 selection like Fenter.  (I know that AZ Phil knows all of the following… just thinking out loud).  If you are going to pick a R5 player thinking that you are going to slip them through waivers at some point, then there are some strategic considerations on who you choose:

>  Not automatically wanted back by original team - if its clear that the team is going to want the player back, then you lose $50k

> Unlikely to be selected by another team on waivers -  this is tough to know as rosters change. Possible to sneak through, but very much depends. The R5 restrictions would theoretically limit interest, but on the other hand said player is to be had for 1/2 the R5 draft price. 

Fenter seems to rate higher on both of these considerations - not somebody that BAL is going to pay to get back & likely to get through waivers.   I think I like the idea of investing $100k on R5-eligible player like Fenter with the tools you think you can craft better than netting a loss of $50k when you lose the roll of the dice & the player is claimed.  Basically buying a season to see if you can tweak enough to justify a 40-man spot at the back end of  2021 season. 

Would you rather spend $10 on a lottery ticket where you get to keep all of the winnings or $5 on a lottery ticket where there is a 50% chance somebody else gets the winnings if your # comes up? (Not a perfect metaphor, but I think it comes close enough).  I don’t know that there is a “right” answer, but I can see the merits of either argument. 

Drafting a player the other team doesn't value can work.

I'd have preferred to keep Underwood a bit longer.

I would say that makes much more sense for an off-season waiver claim, because a club can turn around and put the player back onto waivers and try to outright him if a roster slot is needed. 

But a Rule 5 Draft pick gums up the 40-man roster for about three months, from the day he is selected in December until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day. He can only be traded. He can't be Designated for Assigned, outrighted, or even released.

Not being able to DFA Gray Fenter after they re-signed Ryan Tepera actually cost the Cubs Duane Underwood Jr. I get that Fenter was one of the Orioles' Top 20 peospects coming into the 2020 season and that he got a $1M signing bonus back in 2015 and has MLB upside, but (because of TJS and subsequent rehab) he is 25 years old and has yet to pitch above Lo-A.   

My feeling about a Rule 5 pick by a contending team like the Cubs is generally I'm OK with it - IF - the guy is MLB-ready or very near MLB-ready, but unless a club is in full tear down / rebuild mode, a Rule 5 pick who is not MLB-ready (or near MLB-ready) just causes 40-man roster problems. 

A baseball person with cred told me a few years ago that his club sometimes makes a Rule 5 selection to reward a professional scout for finding a hidden gem. It's good for morale, even if the player ends up getting returned to his former club and the selecting club loses $50,000 in the process. 

Taking up a 40-man slot is the clear downside.  I see the R5 as a chance to target a *specific* player in a way that regular waivers doesn't (depends on who is waived).  So maybe that is the distillation of the trade off... 

For what it's worth, the Cubs have had some success in the recent past at fleecing BAL.  (evil laugh) 

re: R5 & morale - I love the gems that you share that give us all so much more insight to the game.  It's why I hang around here not doing my real job. Thanks as always!

Keep in mind that the Cubs have several veteran Article XIX-A players on the 40 (like Workman, Marisnick, Romine, Tepera, and Winkler) who are are signed to contracts with low base salaries (at or below $1.5M), and so any of them could get released prior to Opening Day if the Cubs need a 40-man roster slot (although probably not Romine, because he is clearly the Cubs back-up catcher and there is no other catcher in camp capable of beating him out for that job).  

Releasing a veteran player signed to a contract with a low base salary would result in minimum payroll issues, even moreso if the player signs with another MLB club after getting released and the Cubs get a salary offset.   

So the Cubs really don't have to expose any of their younger guys to waivers to open up slots on the 40 prior to Opening Day. They can just release a veteran who doesn't fit in (and I would imagine by the end of Spring Training there will be one or two who will clearly fit that description).

Strumph looks hitterish. And can smoothly deposit hanging breaking pitches into the berm behind left field. 

they totally wiffed on it being his birthday today (or i missed them giving a shout out)...media guide fail.

That is a fail. I blame Michael Barrett. 

Pitchers info from today's game at Sloan Park for those of you who didn't see it: 

FB: 85-87 
CT: 82-83 
CH: 76-78
CV: 71-72
COMMENT: Needed only 25 pitches to get through three full innings of work, seemingly without breaking a sweat... outstanding command and weak contact... probably could have thrown a complete game if Rossi has asked him to... I don't know if Davies is "Hendricks-lite" or if Hendricks is "Davies-lite"... Davies obviously is no Yu Darvish, but he ain't bad... 

4S: 93-96 
2S: 90-92 
CH: 85-87
SL: 81 
COMMENT: Likely inhertits the Colin Rea chair in the organization (Chicago - Des Moines shuttle SP)... threw one 18-pitch inning and then faced one batter (and threw just one pitch) in the top of the 4th (HBP on a breaking ball) before being summarily pulled from game... I don't know if this was planned (Brothers was warmed-up & ready to go) or if he tweaked something while throwing the pitch... 

FB: 95-96
SL: 87-89
COMMENT: Hard, nasty stuff, just like this time a year ago... I would rate Brothers as (at worst) the Cubs #2 LHRP... better than both K. Ryan and Wieck... 

FB: 93-95
SL: 86-87
CV: 75 
COMMENT: Serviceable veteran journeyman RP in the mold of Holder and Adam, except Holder and Adam are already on the 40 and both have minor league options left, while Biagini is not on the 40 but if he is added he is out of minor league options... bullpen depth is built with guys like Biagini... 

FB: 97-99
SL: 87-88
CV: 84 
COMMENT: WOW!!!!... 6'8 250 with high octane gas (like Norwood and Jewell), but unlike Norwood and Jewell, Megill actually has usable secondary stuff.... has added significant FB velo since I saw him in ST this time last year... future high leverage RP in my opinion... this guy is a definite keeper... will be minor league 6YFA post-2021 so Cubs need to add him back to the 40 before he becomes a FA after the World Series, perhaps even by MLB Opening Day... 

Phil, has a date for the minor leaguers to report been announced?

HAGSAG: Supposedly March 31st, but given the recent past I would take that date with a grain of salt. Also, MLB will apparently be using the Alternate Training Site plan again, at least for the first month of the season or until the AAA regular season starts. 

the stupid/loud "no one's here for a game, they're here for my award winning speeches" hecklers are out in full force today.  it's been nice hearing every thought from these people shouted for a couple hours now.

pretty sure they're our people.  *sigh*

maples didn't have a good outing, but he didn't look awful doing it.  it's nice seeing him command his stuff.

This time it was his own poor defense that cost him. He lets that ball go through and he has a clean inning. 

BRADSBEARD: I think it's fair to say that Maples feels he has to strike out every hitter or at least make every play himself because he clearly does not trust his defense to make plays. I'm not saying he is right to feel that way, but based on his body language it certainly appears to be the case

I really feel for the guy at times, but I also admire how he's stuck with it after several outings that felt like they could have ended his career. If he somehow sticks on the roster this year I'll do backflips for him (metaphorically speaking). 

If his control continues, I think the organization will find a way to stick with him for a while longer -- even if he's giving up runs in the short term.


yeah, it's spring, but the cubs (ortega) just walked off with a grand slam down by 3.

baseball.  yeah.

Here are the pitching reports from today's game at Sloan Park for those of you who didn't see it: 

4S: 91-93 / T-94
2S: 89-90  
CH: 83-86 
SL: 82-85 
CV: 78-79 
COMMENT: A classic BOR SP with a full arsenal of (at best) average pitches... threw three innings and looked OK (decent)... if Williams is the replacement for Tyler Chatwood, then the exchange is (at worst) fair, but it's not much of an upgrade... 

FB: 93-95
SL: 82-83 
COMMENT: Not enough FB velo and SL doesn't have enough bite to dominate like he used to... A's hitters made too much hard contact... 
FB: 93-94 
CH: 87-88 
CV: 80-81 
COMMENT: Poor outing for someone "on the bubble" who has a minor league option available... looked uncomfortable on the mound and was unable to finish his inning... FB velo was down slightly and command was a bit off as well... 

FB: 93
CT/SL: 87-89
CV: 80 
COMMENT: Finished Holder's inning.... threw mainly his high 80's cutter/slider... FB velo has diminished since he was sitting mid-90's a couple of years ago...   

FB: 95-97 
SL: 86-88 
CV: 84 
COMMENT: Command remains solid which has been his main problem throughout his career... only hard-hit ball was a two-out oppo field line-drive RBI double on a 97 MPH FB...

4S: 96-97 
2S: 90-91 
SL: 87-88 
COMMENT: It's strange to see an upper 90's FB get consistently tagged but that's what's been happening with Jewell... having no movement and no delivery deception probably doesn't help... he was able to get good bite on his hard SL today, however, which is a definite positive going forward because at least hitters can't just sit on his FB...  

Does Maples have a real shot at the  roster?


march 11th and joc has 5 homers this spring (2 today).


Here are the pitcher reports from today's Cubs - Rockies game for anyone who might not have seen the game: 

FB: 85-87
CH: 78-80 
CV: 71-73
COMMENT: After breezing through the first inning on just ten pitches, Hendricks labored in the second and couldn't even record three outs before the frame was rolled, then he came back a bit and looked better in the third... faced one batter in the fourth before being relieved after throwing 55 pitches total... 

FB: 94-97 
SL: 82 
COMMENT: Relieved Hendricks and finished the fourth... FB velo was down a couple of clicks from Monday when he hit 99 but never-the-less he was dominating once again... Looks really nasty on the mound, too, like he just finished eating a raw squirrel... I predict Megill will be this year's Rowan Wick... 

FB: 92-96 
SL/CT: 88-90 
CV: 81-83
COMMENT: Still shaking off the cobwebs after three seasons of elbow & shoulder rehab... command comes & goes (mostly goes), but at least his arm is alive and kicking... threw two innings / 35 pitches... 

FB: 94-96 
SL: 85-87
COMMENT: Another outstanding performance by Brothers and his hard FB/SL combo... I believe he is the best lefty reliever on the Cubs  Spring Training roster, as long as he keeps throwing strikes and avoids walks, because he is virtually unhittable...  

FB: 94-95 
CH: 90 
SL: 82-84 
COMMENT: Battling for a bullpen job probably with Holder and Biagini... a reliable RHRP...  

FB: 98-100
SPLIT: 90-92 
SL: 87-88 
COMMENT: Despite his FB hitting 100 MPH several times, he just cannot seem to put hitters away.. was unable to finish the 9th... left with tying runs on base after needing 28 pitches to record two outs... 

FB: 95-96
SL: 85-86 
COMMENT: Got the save after relieving Norwood and striking out the potential winning run with a nasty slider... once again displayed hard stuff that will be even better once he refines his command... ceiling is high-leverage LHRP

"like he just finished eating a raw squirrel" - an economy of words that yields incredible depth of imagey.  Felt like I was reading Hemingway for the first time.

i like how they keep letting heyward interview live no matter how many times he creates FCC fines.

so far he's keeping it G rated with the language.

kimbrel better leave this shit in arizona when the season begins...except for road games to arizona...

3 games... 2.2ip 7h 2bb 1k and runs given up in all 3 games (4, 1, 4).  that's a 30.38 ERA.

Here are the pitcher reports from today's Cubs - Brewers game at Sloan Park, for those of you who did not see the game:

4S FB: 91-93 T-94
2S FB: 87-90
CH: 87-89
SL: 86
CV: 80-82
COMMENT: Easy 11-pitch first inning, OK second, then he couldn't finish a 25-pitch third inning and so it got roiled, and then he faced a couple of batters in the fourth before being relieved... has the same repertoire he's always had but the FB velo and bite on his secondaries are just a shell of what they once were... is still a serviceable veteran BOR SP, however, except the Cubs already have three BOR starters (Mills, Williams, and Alzolay)... after trading Darvish what the Cubs really need is Jake Arrieta circa 2015-17, but I believe that ship has sailed, folks...

4S FB: 94-97
2S:FB 91-93
CH: 86-89
SL: 82-85
COMMENT: Worked a couple of frames in relief of Arrieta... has SP repertoire... FB velo up at least three MPH over where it was when I saw him pitch in the AFL post-2019, and in fact I don't even remember him throwing a 4S FB back then (he was a sinker/slider guy)... command is still an issue, but otherwise I can see why the Cubs added him to the 40 post-2020...

FB: 94-95
SL: 84
COMMENT: Cubs closer only because of his salary and reputation, but FB velo is nowhere near where it needs to be and he can't command either his FB or his SL... it almost looks like he is afraid to throw strikes, which is understandable given the way opposing hitters consistently square up his FB.... got pulled with bases loaded after recording two outs on 21 pitches... 

FB: 91-93
SL: 84-87
CV: 75
COMMENT: Finished Kimbrel's inning... needed only one out but it took him twenty pitches to get it... FB velo down from last outing, couldn't command slider, and hitters clobbered his slow CV like they were hitting it off a tee... for a guy who is in contention for a pen job and should know it, this was a very poor outing... one of the worst I've seen so far this year...

FB: 92-95
SL: 81-82
COMMENT: I saw him this time last year and nothing has changed... he is simply an ex-catcher with a FB/SL combo delivered with a short-arm motion typical of an ex-position player who became a pitcher... has nothing special to offer, but given his catcher background he can probably throw often and be fairly consistent from outing-to-outing, FWIW... 

Rule 5 pick RHP Gray Fenter has been re-claimed by the Orioles, so the Cubs MLB Reserve List now stands at 39 (one slot is open).

Also, the Cubs have optioned RHP Cory Abbott, RHP Tyson Miller. and RHP Kohl Stewart to AAA Iowa, and C Miguel Amaya, INF Christopher Morel, and RHP Manuel Rodriguez to AA Tennessee, so with Gray Fenter having been re-claimed by Baltimore and with six players having been optioned to the minors, the Cubs Active List roster now stands at 33 (must get down to 26 by 4/1). 

Keep in mind that players who have been optioned to the minors can continue to play in MLB Cactus League games without any restriction (it's kind of like being an NRI), but if they get hurt they do not need to be placed on an MLB IL.  

So, what was everyone's favorite moment of the Gray Fenter era?

trying to get my top-10 down to a single moment is going to take some time.  i might write a guest article about it when i get a few weeks to flesh it out.

My favorite part was when I went all-in on "I can see the sense of this pick" about 10 hours before he was released.

I feel like it made sense when they made the pick. The team was very much in tear down mode. But since then they've decided to half ass contention, so he doesn't really fit anymore.

*checks lineup*

hmm... it seems it's a golf day for most of the club.

Cubs infielder Sergio Alcántara (non-roster invitee) has not been in camp this spring due to visa issues.


angels/cubs both going with a mostly regular season lineup today.  that should be fun...ish...it's spring.

Here are the pitcher reports from today's Cubs - Angels game at Sloan Park in case any of you might have missed it: 

4S: 92-94 
2S: 89-91
CH: 85-86 
SL: 84 
CV: 78-80 
COMMENT: Faced Angels MLB lineup and held his own... decent outing similar to last one... tends to nibble... threw 54 pitches and pitched shutout ball into the 4th (3.2 IP)...  

FB: 96-98 
SL: 84-87 
COMMENT: Finished Williams' last inning...  surrendered a ground rule double that bounced off warning track and over LF fence, but fly ball should have been caught by Pederson...  

FB: 92-93 
SL: 82-84 
COMMENT: Veteran sinker / slider lefty with an easy ten-pitch inning... 

FB: 93-96 
SL: 86-88 
COMMENT: FB velo down just a tick (but still plus) but SL velo was up from last outing... command was off a bit and so he labored to finish inning (23 pitches)... his hard slider is a true wipe-out pitch so he has to get ahead in the count with his FB to make the SL most-effective... 

FB: 89-92 
CV: 77-80 
COMMENT: Showed a plus-CV and a FB with cutting action... Workman and Winkler are similar pitchers (the only difference being Winkler throws a SL and Workman throws a CV), so I'm not sure Cubs would want to carry both... 

FB: 94-96 
CH: 89-91 
SL: 83-85
CV: 78 
COMMENT: Very nice outing by Adam... struck out the side... goes to the head of the class for what is probably a battle with Holder, Biagini, and Norwood for the final RH pen slot... 

FB: 96-99 
SPLIT: 90-91 
SL: 86 
COMMENT: Gave up the game-tying two-out RBI triple in the top of the 9th on a hanging SL after he couldn't put hitter away with FB... no question Norwood has electric raw stuff, but he can't seem to make it work in game situations... 

Considering we're likely looking at 7 RHP in the pen, who are the other six? Kimbrel, Tepera, Workman, Winkler, Alzolay, and...? Maples?

Never mind, misread your post. 

DJL: Yes.

And then when Rowan Wick (intercostal inflammation) returns, somebody will have to be dropped (either Workman or Winkler could get released, Maples could get traded, or Adam could be optioned to the minors, or the Cubs could try and play musical chairs with the IL for a while). It's also possible that the Cubs will eat a large chunk of Kimbrel's $16M salary (plus the 2022 buy-out) and trade him (he can only refuse a trade to eight clubs - TBD). 

Also, still waiting for the arbitrator's decision that will affect whether Adbert Alzolay (and certain other players on other MLB clubs) will get a 4th minor league option in 2021.

I have thought about it, and I think the most-obvious (and fair) way for the arbitrator to rule would be to give players one day of "active duty time" for each day of the truncated 67-day 2020 MLB regular season spent on Optional Assignment to the minors (that would be 56 days for Alzolay), plus the pro-rated number of days spent on an MLB Active List using the 2.78 multiplier (which would be 11 days pro-rated to 31 days for Alzolay). 

So for Alzolay that would be 31 days (pro-rated # of days spent on MLB Active List in 2020) + 56 days (actual # of days of the 2020 MLB regular season spent on Optional Assignment) = 87 days (which is three days shy of 90).

So if that is what the arbitrator decides (and again, I am just speculating here), then I would expect Alzolay to get a 4th minor league option in 2021 (but just barely). 

Thanks Phil. Any thoughts on Shelby Miller potentially being a bullpen long man? I'd guess he could take Maples spot, or Adam/ Holder/ Strop/ etc. or even Alzolay if he gets an option.

Also, random question... Keegan Thompson gets some prospect attention but Erich Uelman doesn't. Weren't they pretty similar? I feel like I vaguely remember that from when they were drafted. 

Not Phil but hope Miller can keep pitching the way he did today. His sharp breaking ball looked great against both left and right handed hitters and his fastball looked decent (but no speed gun readings on TV). White Sox broadcast team said it was a slider he's been working on - big verticle break. 

This was the Shelby Miller game report from his previous outing on 3/11. It probably isn't much different from yesterday's.  


If Shelby Miller continues to pitch like has so far in Spring Training, I think he will eventually replace one of the other starters in the rotation (most-likely Alec Mills), with the SP he replaces going to the bullpen as the multi-inning guy.  

And once he is added to the 40 Miller would have to give his consent before he could be sent back to the minors, so adding Miller to the 40 would be a relatively firm commitment.   

Also, it is actually easier to manage a SP's workload than a RP's because everything can be planned in advance for a SP. And because of his recent injury history, I would think that the Cubs would probably want Miller to throw on a very predictable schedule, which would not be the case if he works out of the pen.  

AZ Phil, do you have a clue what is going on with Brailyn Marquez?

HAGSAG: The only thing I know about Brailyn Marquez was that he got a "late start," but it must be injury related, otherwise he would have been optioned to the minors last Friday with Abbott, Amaya, T. Miller, C. Morel, K. Stewart, and M. Rodriguez. Same goes for Justin Steele and Brad Wieck.  

cubs/wsox today.  cubs get to face d.cease.

cubs off-day today (tuesday), night game vs SD wednesday.

it's worth keeping an eye on...or at least i hope the cubs are paying attention.

the mets, especially pete alonso, have spent a big chunk of spring hitting to the open side of the shift to get on base.  i dunno if they're just using spring to practice it or if it will be a part of their 2021 game plan.

Wouldn't it be fastening if 1 whole team--and only that team--suddenly figured out how to do this consistently? Would we investigate them as potential cheaters? Would their hitting coach get the largest raise in hitting coach history?

there is a slew of crazy and not-so-crazy things being tried for potential rule changes in the minors and one is limiting the amount of space (by feet) you can be outside of your designated field position.

personally, i dont care about the weird shifts, even the "extra infielder" ones.

Sounds like a Chili Davis thing.

Per MiLB Transactions, the Cubs have released RHP Carlos Paula, RHP Jonathon de Marte, RHP Willy Cabrera, RHP Emir Blanco, RHP Edmar Gonzalez, LHP Wilker Ruiz,RHP Manuel Heredia, and OF Brailin Pena.

150 years ago today (March 17, 1871), the first professional baseball league (National Association of Professional Base Ball Players) was founded. The original nine teams were: 

Athletic Club of Philadelphia 
Boston Red Stockings 
Chicago White Stockings  
Forest City Club of Cleveland
Forest City Club of Rockford
Fort Wayne Kekiongas
Mutual Club of New York 
Olympic Club of Washington 
Troy Haymakers 

The number of games played varied from club to club. as games were played intermittently over the course of four months. There were no series, only individual games. The most games any NAPBBP club played in 1871 was 33 (New York) and the fewest was 19 (Fort Wayne). 

The first professional league game was played on May 4th at Kekionga Ball Grounds in Fort Wayne (Cleveland at Fort Wayne). The location where Kekionga Ball Grounds was situated is now known as Camp Allen Park.  

The Athletics won the championship with a 21-7 record. There was no "post-season." 

The White Stockings did not play in 1872 or 1873 because their ball park (Union Base Ball Grounds at Michigan & Randolph, now the site of Millennium Park) was destroyed and the club lost all of their equipment in the Great Chicago Fire of October 1871.  

There were professional baseball clubs established in 1869 (the Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first) and 1870, but the NAPBBP was the first professional baseball league. By the time the NAPBBP was formed the Cincinnati Red Stockings (the first professional baseball club) had disbanded and most of its players (led by player-manager-GM Harry Wright) moved to Boston to form the Boston Red Stockings.  

The NAPBBP was disbanded after the 1875 season, and the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs (controlled by the owners not by the players) was formed in 1876. 

good stuff..shame those old National Association stats aren't recognized by MLB.  they're not controversial like the Federal League.

Here are the pitcher reports from Wednesday night's Cubs - Padres game at Sloan Park for anyone who might have missed it: 

FB: 85-88 
CH: 78-80 
SL: 78-79 
CV: 71-74  
COMMENT: Labored a bit through 3.1 IP and 70 pitches... however, this was a fairly typical Spring Training outing for a veteran SP getting stretched out... 

FB: 92-93
SL: 80
COMMENT: Finished Hendricks 4th inning... nothing special... 

FB: 91-93
SL: 82-84 
COMMENMT: Another easy ten-pitch inning from a veteran sinker / slider LHRP ... 

FB: 95-96
SL: 83-86
COMMENT: Not dominating but certainly better than his last couple of outings... FB velo was up a tick and SL had a bit more variety & bite... hopefully he can build on this going forward (but where have I heard that before?)... 

FB: 92-94
CT: 89-91 
SL: 82-84 
COMMENT: Nice outing for a veteran journeyman reliever getting into game shape... the best thing about Winkler is his consistency from appearance to appearance... 

FB: 93-95
CH: 89-90 
SL: 81-82 
COMMENT: Better outing than last time, but I think he is probably still behind Jason Adam for a spot in the pen... the Cubs might consider releasing Brandon Workman to open up an additional slot in the pen, because Workman's base salary is only $1M, and so if he were to be released and then signs with another MLB club the Cubs would get a $570,500 salary offset and owe him only about $430K as termination pay... 

FB: 93-95
SL: 87
CV: 75-77 
COMMENT: Nice comeback from his last time on the bump when he was terrible... the problem Biagini has to overcome in a battle for a slot in the pen is that unlike Adam and Holder he is not on the 40, and if he were to be added to the 40 he is out of minor league options (and Adam and Holder do have minor league options available)... Biagini is actually a good candidate for the five-man traveling taxi squad that will be available on road trips because he is too experienced for AAA but there really isn't a spot for him on the Cubs 26-man Actlive List roster either... 

maples throws 8 consecutive strikes, 1 pitch away from an "immaculate inning" (3 batters, 9 pitches, 3 Ks)...and he HBP the batter.

maples finds extrodinary new ways to remind us he's maples every year.

Clearly intentional.  An homage.  Just not sure if it was to Strop or Marmol.

cubs rolling out the full "A-list" lineup for today's game (friday)

happ / rizzo / bryant / pederson / contreras / baez / heyward / hoerner / z.davies

not a bad crew when you can slot baez into the 6 slot and it makes sense.

i still like bote better than hoerner, but bote seems to be destined for a bench guy who gets semi-regular play all over the field.  assuming everyone stays healthy and hoerner sticks around at 2nd, bote should still get 400-ish PA.

With a righty starter, not sure I would do anything different.  4-6 can be readjusted to whomever is hot and/or matchups.  With a lefty, Bote starts at 3rd and Bryant gives either Heyward or Pederson a day off. 

Like to see Hoerner to get consistent reps.  Whether it is in Chicago or Iowa is up to Hoerner. 

per Rotoworld...

Cubs optioned LHPs Kyle Ryan and Justin Steele and RHP James Norwood to Triple-A Iowa; optioned LHP Brailyn Marquez to Double-A Tennessee; re-assigned RHP Joe Biaigini, OFs Michael Hermosillo, Ian Miller and Nick Martini and C Jose Lobaton to minor league camp.

Ryan and Norwood both figure to ultimately make plenty of appearances in the Cubs' bullpen this season. Marquez is the team's top pitching prospect and will be part of Iowa's rotation.

no cubs or A's television feed.

that's cruel for a friday afternoon...and double cruel sitting down ready to chill with a game that only has A's audio feed.

Cubs Minor League Pitcher Jesus Camargo was arrested on four felony charges while driving recklessly in Colorado after police found 21 pounds of suspected meth and 1.2 pounds of suspected oxycodone pills in his Cubs duffle bag. The charges are:
- Distribution of schedule 2 - Meth
- Distribution of schedule 2 - Oxycodone
- Possession of schedule 2 - Meth
- Possession of schedule 2 - Drugs

Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but this article makes him sound like an idiot who can't lie to save his life: https://gazette.com/news/crime/chicago-cubs-minor-...

(Section 1, paragraph 1 of any minor league drug policy should be "Pay all minor league players a living wage.")

given that he was driving a BMW, this probably wasn't his first "$500" mule trip.  10K a year A-ball salary don't stretch like that. 

it's also worth mentioning they don't get spring training pay, either...and only this season have teams eliminated "clubhouse dues" to the f'n team they play for and forced teams to provide a meal for the players they don't have to pay for (many times rolled into the clubhouse dues).

Better Call Saul.  

Los Mochis (Jesus Camargo's hometown) is one of the hubs of the Sinaloa Drug Cartel.

"El Chapo" (the leader of the cartel) was captured in Los Mochis about five years ago.  

AZ PHIL: any interesting reports from camp on position players getting work on a different position? Anybody taking a few reps w/ the catchers or some extra balls in the OF?  Any insight on who would be the emergency C this year?  Thanks... I'll hang up & listen to your response. 

FP120: I haven't seen any infielders or outfielders work out behind the plate so far, so with Schwarber gone I have no idea who the emergency #3 catcher would be. 

My money would be on Vargas or Sogard, but there's always the Javy longshot.

jack leiter throws a 16K no-hitter, 97mph on his 100th pitch of the game.  he threw 124 pitches, so according to some people his career is due to end in 2-4 weeks.  RIP.

he's making a heavy push to unseat kumar rocker from the #1 overall draft pick slot.  cubs get pick 21, btw (PIT has #1 overall, TEX #2).

not an "official" game, but new marquee network hire beth mowins is the first female PBP to call a full game for the cubs.

she's called a little bit of everything (college sports to NFL games) since the 90s.  game has barely started, but she's showing that she's done her homework dropping points of interest about both teams beyond the PBP.

it's only been 4 innings, but jd and beth are working extremely well together and it should be nice to have her around as a backup to boog.  she's done an impressive amount of prep for this game, even if most of it is easily gleened from a media guide...still more than a lot of people do.  she's even prepared with a background knowledge of jd's career to kick around with him.

yeah, if joc pederson is gonna get his chance to go full time vs lefties (supposedly the reason he signed) he needs to suck it up deep in the lineup.

he's not just historically bad vs lefties, he's criminally bad vs them.  i understand he's getting these spring ABs closer to the top of the lineup so he can see more of them, but oof...quality of contact is poor when he can actually make contact.

Here are the pitcher reports from today's Cubs - Rockies game at Sloan Park for anyone who might have missed it: 

4S: 91-93 
2S: 88-90 
CH: 84-85 
SL: 82-84 
COMMENT: Excellent outing... very economical with his pitches, so much so in fact that he threw only 53 pitches through five innings so he went out to the bullpen and threw another 15-20 more pitches in the pen during the top of the 6th...

FB: 95-96
SL: 82
CV: 78 
COMMENT:  Very impressive outing, but I was hoping he would throw more than just one inning... I don't know if he has a contractual opt-out at the end of Spring Training, but if he does Cubs will need to add him to the 40... otherwise I would hope he gets stretched-out at Minor League Camp in April...  

FB: 96-97, T-98 
SL: 84-86
COMMENT: Faced Rockies minor leaguers but this was the best he's looked all Spring... FB velo was back up to where it needs to be and his SL had bite...  

FB: 91-93 
SL: 83-86 
COMMENT: Chafin has been exactly the same each outing so far this Spring... his command and consistency never seem to waver...  
FB: 93-95
CT: 86-89 
SL: 82-83 
COMMENT: Vintage Strop... good life on his FB & SL and mediocre command... it's like he never left... while it looks like he can still pitch, I don't know if it will be with the Cubs or elsewhere... he would be a good guy to carry on the five-man Traveling Taxi Squad if he's OK with that... 

Here are the pitcher reports from today's Cubs - Reds game at Sloan Park: 

FB: 88-91
CH: 80-82
SL: 76-79 
CV: 64-68 
COMMENTS: Mills velocity spread is 27 MPH (64 to 91) and it is the largest velo gap I can ever remember. .. hitters just can't sit on one or two pitches, because the pitches he throws are all so different from each other and he mixes them really well, and then they come in at very different speeds, too... the Farmer HR came on the slowest pitch he threw all day, a 64 MPH Bugs Bunny CV that was probably too slow in that it gave Farmer a chance to reset his timing... I could watch Mills pitch all day long...  

FB: 91-94 
COMMENT: Finished Mills 5th inning... threw all FB... 

FB: 96-98 
SL/CT: 87-89 
CV: 84-86 
COMMENT: Had command issues (two walks and an HBP) but he got ground balls when he needed them, although an E-6 on what should have been a 4-6-3 DP didn't help... worked two innings and four of the last five pitches he threw were 97-98 MPH FBs, so he clearly has the stamina to throw multiple innings if that's what the Cubs need him to do... 

FB: 89-91 
SL/CT: 86-87 
CV: 76-80 
COMMENT: Labored through a 23-pitch inning... I can think of at least a dozen RP in Cubs camp I would take ahead of Workman... he is a CV first pitcher who uses his  FB as a "show-me" pitch... reminds me a bit of Justin Grimm...  

FB: 96-98
SL: 85-89 
COMMENT: Had difficulty commanding his SL but he maintained a 98 FB all the way to the end of his inning... I firmly believe he is a future MLB closer... reminds me of Tim Stoddard (Cubs RP back in the mid-80's)... nickname is "Megilla Gorilla"... he is a beast... 

Curious how you would rank these 4 pitchers, and which of the 4 you would leave off the opening day roster if you had to pick one:

Winkler, Workman, Maples, S. Miller (assuming he can opt out after ST) 


1. S. Miller (but only if he can opt-out, otherwise he should be stretched out as SP at Minor League Camp) 

2. Maples (despite some command issues, stuff is electric and he has not reached his ceiling)

3. Winkler (because he has reached his ceiling and what he has to offer isn't unique)  

4. Workman (would cost the Cubs only $1M if he were to be released, but even less if he signs with another MLB club after being released and Cubs get salary offset)

That was kind of my thinking as well, although I don't really know what to make of Workman. He seems pretty ordinary and I still kind of wonder why the Cubs brought him in on a major league deal. Only thing I can think is the curve gives him a bit different look from the rest of the guys in the pen.  

Zambrano only threw his curve about twice a year, but at one point he did throw a mid 90s fastball and a ridiculously slow curve. 

Thank you AZ Phil as always for all of the information!  It is super helpful in understanding how Cubs pitching is faring and we very much appreciate it!

the somewhat rare useful cubs.com article...


opening day roster predictions.

In projecting the Cubs Opening Day MLB 26-man Active List roster, besides Adbert Alzolay's still unresolved 4th minor league option issue, we also would need to know if Shelby Miller, Eric Sogard, and/or Rex Brothers have contractual opt-outs, and if so, when. 

Also, the timetable for the return of Austin Romine (sprained knee) and Rowan Wick (intercostal inflammation) will determine if one or both will be placed on the 10-day IL or on the 60-day IL (placing one or both on the 60-day IL would at least temporarily open up one or two slots on the 40, but if placed on the 60-day IL on or before Opening Day, the earliest the player could be reinstated is May 31st).

There already is one slot open on the 40, but at least one additional slot will be needed if at least two from amongst Higgins, Sogard, S. Miller, and Brothers are added.

If Romine is not ready by Opening Day, then Higgins (or Lobaton) will take the remaining open slot on the 40. Sogard would seem to be likely to get added, which means either Kohl Stewart, Kyle Ryan, or Ildemaro Vargas gets a DFA (and Stewart and Ryan can elect free-agency if outrighted, and while Vargas cannot elect free-agency if outrighted, he would almost certainly be claimed if he goes onto waivers), Workman gets released (probably won't happen until later in the season), or Romine and/or Wick (more-likely Wick than Romine, but it could be both of them) go on the 60-day IL, and same thing if S. Miller and/or Brothers are added to the 40 by Opening Day.   

Dillon Maples threw two innings in yesterday's game, so he would seem to project as a multi-inning reliever, which means the Cubs would not necessarily have to have Alzolay or S. Miller in the bullpen, especially if it is possible for both to go to the Alternate Training Site or to Minor League Camp and get stretched out and then get regular work as a SP. 

Besides the Opening Day 26-man Active List roster questions, there also is the matter of which five players will be carried on the Traveling Taxi Squad for road trips. One must be a catcher (so that would very likeIy be Lobaton), plus almost certainly one infielder or outfielder (Cameron Maybin is a lock if he is willing, otherwise maybe Rafael Ortega), and then three veteran relief pitchers signed to minor league contracts, probably Pedro Strop, Joe Biagini, and Rex Brothers (if he is not added to the 40 and if he does not have a contractual opt-out, otherwise possibly Jake Jewell, Jerry Vasto, or Juan Gamez).

Players assigned to the Traveling Taxi Squad can be moved to the MLB Active List roster temporarily if a player is placed on the CoViD-19 related IL (which is 40-man roster exempt), and then the replacement player can be moved back to the Taxi Squad and be removed from the 40 without having to be exposed to waivers when the player on the CoViD-19 related IL is reinstated. However, a player must consent to being placed on the Taxi Squad, which is why Lobaton, Maybin, Strop, Biagini, and Brothers (if they are indeed the five) are not absolute locks to be there. They would have to give their consent. 

With the exception of the catcher (who can physicaly remain with the MLB club even when the club is at home and can serve as a bullpen catcher during games), players assigned to the Taxi Squad must return to the Alternate Training Site (presumably South Bend) when the club is at home. 

i can't imagine rex brothers and eric sogard are going anywhere but the MLB roster at this point.  they keep producing and it's not just vs late-game replacement level and low minor league guys (though brothers got an easy slate today).

I am starting to think that the roster I like best for the start of the season has 2 catchers, Rizzo, 6 INF,  & 4 OF.... feels odd at first, but grows on me. If the last two (4th & 5th) bench spots are between Maybin, Vargas, & Sogard, I think that I like the positional flexibility & nature of bats (style & handedness) over having a dedicated 5th OF.  I feel like there are enough pieces to move around that if an additional OF is needed during a game that Bryant, Hoerner, Bote, and/or Varags could all handle some innings in LF. I could see lots of late game switches of Bryant to LF & a better defender to 3B.  

im a bit surprised they're not putting bote in the corner OF this spring just to expand his possible opportunities.

he's got the arm for 3rd, but it's not always accurate.  dunno how well he tracks balls in the OF, though...might be an issue that makes it not worth trying.

I think Bryant and Hoerner make that unnecessary, since both have more reps in the outfield than Bote and he can backup their positions. I would definitely want Bote focusing on his infield D and his hitting, since some other guys are threatening to push him out of a job.

Since they extended him, I've been surprised Bote hasn't gotten longer stretches of plying time. He's running out of time to show he could be more than a bench guy, and I don't think it's through much fault of his own.

yeah, bryant would most likely be the 2021 option out there before bote (and after marisnick).

i'm a big fan of bote and i thought they would be working on zobrist'ing his game out.  they don't seem too interested in him anywhere but 3rd/2nd for the most part, though.  bote might be the 2022 (or trade deadline 2021) guy slotting in at 3rd nearly full time assuming bryant's time with the team is nearing it's end.

FWIW... Bote has played 400 innings in the OF in the minors. I agree that others are probably better options out there, but I don't think he would embarass himself on a corner. 

1.1 innings of cubs pitching and pitcher #3 comes into the game.  ow.

k.thompson + juan gamez, btw...nothing of 2021 concern.

robert stock comes in and loads the bases on his 1st pitch with a HBP.  this inning is awesome.

d.fowler had 3 hits all spring coming into this game.  he's had 2 hits in 1 inning today.

10 batters in a row reached before trout grounded out (rbi ground out) for the 2nd out.

15 batter inning...10 runs score...nice.

Here are the pitcher reports from today's Cubs - White Sox game at Sloan Park for anyone who didn't see it: 

4S FB: 90-92, T-93
2S FB: 86-89
CH: 85
SL; 85 
CV: 80-81
COMMENTS: FB velo down a tick... lots of traffic on the bases but he navigated through it all without too much difficulty... I see Arrieta as sort of a John Lackey circa 2016-17...  

FB: 97 
COMMENT: Finished Arrieta's 6th inning... threw only one pitch and it was rifled into the right-centerfield alley and Ian happ made a spectacular inning-ending diving catch... 

FB: 93-96 
CT: 88-89 
CV: 80-82 
COMMENT: Nothing wrong with his arm but command still needs work.. . labored through a 29-pitch  inning, loading the bases on an HBP and two walks before retiring Jose Abreu on an L-9 to end the inning... 

FB: 90-93, T-94 
CH: 86 
SL: 82-83 
COMMENT: Surrendered an unearned run thanks to a Nico Hoerner E-4, a SB, and a two-out RBI single... otherwise pitched OK...  

FB: 92-93 
CT: 86-88
SL: 82-83  
OMMENT: FB velo down a couple of MPH from last outing... command was poor... Mendick's HR was cruahed... if he hadn't looked so good last time I would say this is the type of Spring Training outing that gets a veteran RP released... 

arbitrator has ruled a.alzolay has a 4th minor league option (this is a "team" win in team vs player negociations)

this pretty much locks in a.mills as the 5th starter now that alzolay can get safely sent down.  s.miller might be the long man out of the pen.

Unless the 4th minor league option rule is changed / altered / reversed in the new CBA, several other players on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster are also affected by the arbitrator's ruling with regard to 4th minor league option eligibility: 

Miguel Amaya, C (in 2023 - see NOTE
Adbert Alzolay, RHP (in 2021 - see NOTE)
Brailyn Marquez, LHP (in 2024 - see NOTE)
Christopher Morel, INF (in 2024 - see NOTE)
Manuel Rodriguez, RHP (in 2023 - see NOTE)
Justin Steele, LHP (in 2022 - see NOTE)
Keegan Thompson, RHP (in 2024 - see NOTE)
NOTE: Adbert Alzolay is eligible for a 4th minor league in 2021 but it will not be available in 2022 if it is not used in 2021, Justin Steele will be eligible for a 4th minor league option in 2022 but only if his 3rd option is spent in 2021, Miguel Amaya and Manuel Rodriguez will be eligible for a 4th minor league option in 2023 but only if 3rd option is spent in 2022, and Brailyn Marquez, Christopher Morel, and Keegan Thompson will be eligible for a 4th minor league option in 2024 but only if 3rd option is spent in 2023 (TBD).

evening/night games for the next 2 nights (wed/thu).  boo.  east coast fail.

Per Baseball America:  the Cubs have released catchers Henderson Perez and Jonathan Soto.  A couple of years ago, they were first and second on the DSL/AZL proopect list for catchers.  Oh how times have changed.

VIDEOGRAPHER: Henderson Perez was released and Jesus Camargo was placed on the Restricted List, but I have not seen the Jonathan Soto release yet. 

VIDEOGRAPHER: OK. I see it now. The Cubs did indeed release C Jonathan Soto as well as RHRP Maikel Aguiar. 

Here is how the arbitrator ruled with regard to a player's eligibility for a 4th minor option year in 2021 (and beyond): 

1. Days spent on Optional Assignment in 2020 did not count; 
2. Days spent on an MLB Active List and MLB inactive lists (IL, FMLA/Bereavement, Paternity Leave, et al) in 2020 did count; 
3.  The 2020 MLB regular season was only 67 days in length, but MLB Service Time was prorated to 186 days by multiplying each 2020 day by 2.78, so each day of the MLB regular season was worth 2.78 days.  

So in order for 2020 to count toward a "full season" as far as it relates to eligibility for a 4th minor league option is concerned, a player would have had to spend at least 33 days on an MLB Active List in 2020 (33 days multiplied times 2.78 equals 92), or at least 11 days on an MLB Active List in 2020 (11 days multiplied times 2.78 equals 31) followed by at least 22 days spent on an inactive list or lists (22 days multiplied by 2.78 equals 61).    

So because Adbert Alzolay spent 11 days on the Cubs MLB Active List in 2020 (which is pro-rated to 31 days) but spent no time on a Cubs MLB inactive list, he did not reach the 90 day threshold that would have caused him to reach five full seasons and make him ineligible for a 4th minor league option in 2020. 

However, Nico Hoerner did get credit fror a "full season" in 2020, so he will not be eligible for a 4th minor league option in 2024. 

Keep in mind that this only applies to players who use up their third minor league option prior to accruing five "full seasons" (like Alzolay in 2021, Justin Steele 4th minor league option projected in 2022, Miguel Amaya and Manuel Rodriguez 4th minor league option projected in 2023, and Brailyn Marquez, Christopher Morel, and Keegan Thompson 4th minor league option projected in 2024). 

As I mentioned, only Nico Hoerner is affected in the opposite way, in that he is now ineligible to receive a 4th minor league option in 2024, when it was possible that he might have been eligible for a 4th minor league option in 2024, depending on how the arbitrator ruled.  

Players who have already accrued five "full seasons" (like David Bote, Ian Happ, Jonathan Holder, Dillon Maples, Alec Mills, James Norwood, Kyle Ryan, Kohl Stewart, Ildemaro Vargas, Brad Wieck, and Rowan Wick), or who project to accrue five "full seasons" by the time the player's third minor league option is used (like Cory Abbott, Jason Adam, and Tyson Miller) will not be affected by the arbitrator's ruling and so they are not eligible for a 4th minor league option year now or in the future.

BTW, Duane Underwood Jr (recently traded to the Pirates) is out of minor league options but he is not eligible for a 4th minor league in 2021 because he has already accrued five "full seasons."

Eloy Jimenez injury is a left pectoral muscle/tendon complete rupture. He's out 4-6 months and will have surgery to repair the tendon. This is reminiscent of what Jake Peavy went through (except for crashing into a wall). He hits right, throw right, so that's better than his throwing arm but obviously impacts his main value (hitting and power). Not sure of the long term impact  but he will  miss his age 24 season. Sigh. 

ow.  that suuuuucks.  i was looking forward to seeing what this young wsox team could do this season.

i don't live in/near chicago so the wsox/cubs rivalry isn't a thing in my life...if anything, the wsox looking great puts pressure on the cubs to field a better team.

I wonder if the White Sox might be interested in acquiring Kris Bryant as a one-year replacement for Eloy Jimenez in LF?

The Cubs would want to get back at least what they would have received if they had extended a QO to Bryant post-2021 and he declined it, which is a Sox prospect who was a draft pick in the 2nd or 3rd round (like RHP Andrew Dalquist), plus at least one other decent (Top 10) prospect, preferrably a pitcher (like RHP Norge Luis Vera). The Cubs would also have to pay part of Bryant's salary. 

I believe playing David Bote at 3B and Nico Hoerner at 2B is what is going to happen in 2022 anyway, so trading Bryant now would just be a matter of getting a head-start on that, and I'm not sure that the Cub offense and defense would necessarily be worse without Bryant at 3B. 

Might Jimenez be a better hitter than his backups with but a signle pec?

Seriously, that's horrific. Here's wishing for a full recovery and no permanent maleffects.

and while I'm on the ex-Cub theme... Hector Rondon released by Phillies, Tommy Hunter released by the Mets and Carl Edwards Jr opted out of his deal with the Braves. 

alzolay straight up owning a mostly A-list dodgers lineup through 3ip...struck out the bottom of the lineup in the 3rd...another 2 Ks vs betts and bellinger.

3ip 0h 0bb 5k

...and i jinxed the 4th...

he's due for AAA anyway.  hope he stays hot.  i imagine he'll get another outting (even if just out of the pen) at the end of spring training so the crew going into the regular season can stay fresh.

Man, if Bryant and Willson don't lose that pop foul in the twilight he would have been through 4 with just the one walk. Then on the next pitch he looked like he had Bellinger struck out but maybe just a hair low. 

Here is the pitchers report from Thursday night's Cubs - Dodgers game at Sloan Park, for anyone who might have missed it: 

FB: 92-95 
CH: 86-87 
SL: 85-87 
CV: 77-80 
COMMENT: Threw three perfect innings while matching Dustin May pitch-for-pitch, before running out of steam after throwing 60 pitches... threw a lot of sliders... hopefully he can get fully stretched out at Minor League Camp next month and be ready for recall when needed... 

FB: 96 
SL: 85-87 
CH: 84-86
COMMENT: Finished Alzolay's 4th inning, allowing a two-run single that drove-in two inherited runners that put a blemish on Alzolay's final line... Despite that, Little clearly does project as an MLB LHRP, and so he is likely to be added to the MLB 40-man roster by the 11/20 deadline...  

FB: 92-93 
CT: 85-87 
SL: 83-84 
COMMENT: Still getting into game shape after signing late... FB velo down some from where it was last year and SL was a bit erratic... Tepera has a minor league option left but he also has Article XIX-A rights (meaning he has accrued 5+ years of MLB Service Time so cannot be sent to the minors without his consent)... 

FB: 90-93 
CV: 74 
COMMENT: Competing with Rex Brothers for the #2 lefty in the pen ... labored through a 30-pitch inning, although a weak pop fly that fell in front of Jason Heyward in short RF and a pop foul fly that Willson Contreras lost in the lights and/or wind made the inning a lot longer than it should have been... threw all FB except for two CV... Despite being 6'8 Wieck doesn't throw particularly hard (especially when compared to Brothers), but his FB is unusually "heavy," and so it goes "thud' instead of "pop" when the catcher catches it...     

FB: 94-97 
SL: 86-89 
CV: 82 
COMMENT: Worked two innings once again as he is obviously being groomed to be a multi-inning reliever... and it was classic Dillon Maples, too... he threw six straight balls to start his first inning before walking the bases loaded with no outs, then got an infield fly pop out and two GO, and then he struck out the side on 13 pitches in his second inning or work... 

FB: 96-99 
SPLIT: 90 
SL: 86-89 
COMMENT: Struck out first two batters before a 98 MPH FB was returned 400+ ft and onto the CF berm for a solo HR with two outs in the top of the 9th... 

Also, Dodgers SP Dustin May's FB was sitting 98-100 (touched 101). Not to exaggerate or use hyperbole, but the Dodgers may have the best starting rotation in the history of baseball. 

Catchers listening to "pop" vs" thud."  Once again, AZ Phil puts a smile on my face!

guys...joc pederson.

this guy seems to be good at swinging a bat.

Here is the pitchers report from today's Cubs - Giants game at Sloan Park for anyone who didn't see it: 

FB: 86-88
CH: 79-81 
CV: 71-73
COMMENT: This was Hendricks' last Spring Training Cactus League start before Opening Day... threw five frames and 85 pitches total, but he threw 45 pitches in just his first two innings and was (temporarily) relieved in the top of the second with one out after throwing 23 pitches in that inning alone... he returned to throw the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings, retiring the side in order all three innings on only 40 pitches combined...  

FB: 94 
SL: 86 
COMMENT: Relieved Hendricks with one out and runners at 1st & 2nd in the top of the 2nd inning and induced an inning-ending 5-4-3 DP ball on just his second pitch (the slider), so his outing was short-but-sweet...  

FB: 92-93 
SL: 83-86 
COMMENT: Another "no drama" inning from a reliable veteran journeyman LHRP... he's probably been ready for Opening Day since his first outing of the Spring... 

FB: 92-93 
CT: 89-91
SL: 82-85 
COMMENT: Terrible outing... needed 31 pitches to record just two outs and then couldn't finish inning... issued two walks and hit two batters and generally couldn't command his FB or CT, and when he finally did he couldn't put hitters away with either pitch...  

FB: 95-98 
CH: 89
SL: 85-86
COMMENT: Finished Winkler's inning and then threw another complete inning... continues to display high velo FB with no usable secondary stuff, so he doesn't dominate like you might think he would throwing that kind of gas...

FB: 92-93 
CT: 85-87 
SL: 79-80
COMMENT: Had an easy 1-2-3 inning facing Giants minor leaguers, none of whom have probably seen a pitcher quite like Pedro Strop... probably ticketed for the Traveling Taxi Squad with Lobaton, Duffy, Jewell or Biagini, and Maybin or Ortega... 

This is my 44th Spring Training, and in one particular way it has been the best. 

And that is... 

There have been no split squad games, and because Minor League Camp will start after the big leaguers leave town, the only place for the big leaguers to play in a game is in an MLB Cactus League game. . 

While split squad games mean more MLB Cactus League games, the quaility of the extra games you get to see are not much better than watching a minor league spring training game on a backfield, except the minor league games are free and they usually play two games at once on adjoining fields so you get to see a lot of players and prospects. Sometimes even the big leaguers would pitch or play in a minor league game. 

But this year, with no split squad games and no simultaneous Minor League Camp, the visiting teams have been bringing many more of their better MLB players and pitchers to Mesa than in past years.  

A couple of nights ago the Dodgers fielded essentially their entire Opening Day starting lineup in a road game at Sloan Park. That would never have happened in the past. 

And the Cubs are more-often playing their starters, too.  

"A couple of nights ago the Dodgers fielded essentially their entire Opening Day starting lineup in a road game at Sloan Park. That would never have happened in the past."

...or almost every bus trip to Tucson when they had spring training.  I miss ST in Tucson so much, but i understand why it's not there anymore.  I liked to go to the less busy Tucson and catch cubs road games there.  if you went early/middle of spring you had a better chance of seeing stars, but it was still a hated trip by a lot of vets.  by the time it was the end of spring no one making a real paycheck wanted to leave phoenix metro and make that trip.

The Cubs have optioned LHRP Brad Wieck to AAA Iowa, so it looks like Rex Brothers will make the Opening Day roster (presuming the Cubs want two lefties in the pen).  

The Phillies just released 35 yr old LHP reliever Tony Watson. I'm interested based on his track record but he didn't have a good spring. Filed under: things that make me say hmmmm.

The Cubs have optioned Nico Hoerner to AAA as well - some question whether it's service time manipulation (if he stays down for 36+ days, we control him for an additional year). Others admit that he does have some things to work on and has very limited minor league experience since he'd been rushed to the majors two years ago.

My bias tends to skew pretty strongly on the side of labor, but Nico trende hard the wrong direction offensively and Bote has shown he can be at least serviceable. This is a pretty defensible roster move.

I'm hoping he can learn a little more selective aggression and turn out to be something more than Darwin Barney 1.1.

Seems similar to happ situation a few years ago. Could nico doggy paddle in majors, yes; but long term might be better let him play every day and learn to swim in minors for half a season.

myself, i don't care about missing nico on the MLB level because the guy just seems a dude who's bat peak is "ricky guitierrez" (better glove on nico)...which isn't a bad thing, but it's not impressive.

i always assumed his pick in the draft was based on how quickly he could slot into the majors.  his upside didn't scream "future all-star" with his bat or glove, but he was polished.

I have been thinking his ceiling is probably more like Mark Grudzielanek. Very good defense at 2b, fringe speed, and offense driven by lots of contact with a small bit of doubles pop. Peak Grudzie could have managed 15 HRs a year with the last version of the MLB ball we saw. So far, he hasn't shown the doubles pop enough.

yeah, that's a better overall comparison vs ricky guitierrez.  i don't expect a lot out him, but i don't groan seeing him around.

dusty would have loved nico in the 2 slot if he had him back then.  if you can make contact and not K, that's where he slotted guys like this.  i'm happy to see him in the back of the lineup.

So 2nd base starter is a platoon of Sogard and Bote?

yup...sogard totally earned his way onto the club, but yeah...the nico send-down stinks of service time concerns.  all 3 guys have had amazingly good springs, so the cubs get to hide behind that.  they'll probably throw the "sogard can also play 3rd" thing around if pressed on the issue, too.

they're slotting sogard in at LF tonight (bote 2nd, hoerner DH).  sogard played 3rd yesterday.  sogard may be the new zobirst.

Yeah I mean I think that may have played a part. But it isn't egregious like Bryant in 2015. Nico definitely has some things to work on and barely has any minor league experience. He was pressed into his first MLB call up in 2018. The gulf between Nico and Bote/ Sogard/ Vargas does not compare to that between Bryant and Olt in 2015. This seems closer to Happ starting in AAA in 2018 or Javy in AAA in 2015. Ultimately I think this benefits Nico in a similar way it did them.

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In addition to optioning LHRP Brad Wieck and INF Nico Hoerner to AAA Iowa, the Cubs also reassigned RHPs Trevor Megill, Shelby Miller, and Pedro Strop and OF Rafael Ortega to Minor League Camp, and released OF Cameron Maybin. 

Because Maybin was a post-2020 MLB Article XX-B player signed to a 2021 minor league contract, the Cubs had to decide by five days prior to MLB Opening Day (today) whether to add him to the MLB 40-man roster, release him, or retain him on the minor league contract and pay him a $100K retention bonuns with an automatic June 1st player opt-out. 

By releasing Maybin the Cubs can avoid paying him the retention bonus as well as the automatic 6/1 opt -out, and they can now re-sign him to another (different) minor league contract with no retention bonus and/or a different opt-out date. The Angels did that yesterday with Jon Jay and the Orioles did it with Wade Leblanc on Thursday. 

The fact that the Cubs did not release Eric Sogard today means he has almost certainly made the Cubsd Opening Day roster. (Sogard was the other post-2020 MLB Article XX-B FA the Cubs signed to a minor league contract during the off-season). 

Presuming the Cubs (as is expected) add LHRP Rex Brothers, INF Eric Sogard, and C-INF P. J. Higgins to the 40, the Cubs will need to open up a couple of additional slots on the 40 (they have one slot open now).

C Austin Romine (sprained knee), RHRP Rowan Wick (intercostal strain), and RHRP Jonathan Holder (pec strain) will likely ber placed on the 10-day IL to start the season, but one or even two of them could be placed on the 60-day IL to open up the two additional slots on the 40 that will be needed.

If that doesn't happen, the most-likely DFA candidates are probably RHP Kohl Stewart and LHP Kyle Ryan (both have fairly low minor league split salaries). While both Stewart and Ryan have the right to elect free-agency if outrighted (presuming the player is not claimed off waivers), if the player is not claimed off waivers he would know that he will not get an MLB contract once he's as FA, so the player would probably accept the Outright Assignment and defer free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season (or he could be added back to the 40 sometime later in the season). 

Refresh my memory: if Romine were put on the 60 day IL, can that be back dated since he played in some ST games? Or is back dating only allowed in the regular season? 

BRADSBEARD: 60-day IL assignments cannot be backdated. Also, if a player is placed onto or transferred to the 60-day IL prior to or on Opening Day -- even if it's the first day of Spring Training in February -- the player must spend at least the first 60 days of the MLB regular season on the 60-day IL and so the player would not be eligible to be reinstated from the 60-day IL until the 61st day of the MLB regular season (which will be May 31st in 2021).

However, time spent on the 7-day, 10-day, or 15-day IL does count toward the minimum number of days a player must spend on the 60-day IL, if the player was initially placed on the 7-day, 10-day, or 15-day IL before being transferred to the 60-day IL.  

So while a 60-day IL assignment cannot be backdated, a 7-day (concussion), 10-day (for position players), and 15-day (for pitchers and for "two-way players") IL stint can be backdated, as long as the player did not play in a game during the backdated period.  

A 7-day IL (concussion) assignment can be backdated up to four days (including the four days prior to MLB Opening Day), a 10-day IL assignment (for position players) can be backdated up to three days (including the three days prior to MLB Opening Day), and a 15-day IL assignment (for pitchers and for "two-way players") can be backdated up to six days (including the six days prior to MLB Opening Day). However, the 15-day IL (for pitchers and for "two-way players") has been suspended in 2021 (just as it was last season), so pitchers and "two-way players" can be placed onto the 10-day IL just like position players, at least in 2021.  

Also, because last season was truncated, the minimum number of days a player had to spend on the 60-day IL (which technically is called the "Emergency Injured List") in 2020 was reduced from 60 days to 45 days, but as far as I know that will not be the case in 2021, although I wouldn't be surprised if it is reduced to 45 days in the next CBA. 

As far as the CoViD-19 Related IL is concerned, there is no minimum or maximum number of days a player must spend on the list, but the player must test negative twice at least 24 hours apart and be symptom -free before he can be reinstated.

Also, the CoViD-19 Related IL (like the 60-day IL) is 40-man roster exempt, and the player who replaces the player on the club's MLB Active List does not have to pass through waivers before he can be removed from the 40 (if waivers would normally have been required to remove the "replacement" player from the 40) and the "ten-day minimum recall rule" would be waived (just like for the 27th man in as doubleheader) if an optioned player is recalled as a "replacement" player and then is optioned back to the minors. However, if waivers would normally have been required to remove the "replacement" player from the 40, the "replacement" player has to agree to this in advance before he can be added to the club's 40-man roster and 26-man Active List roster. 

bote confirmed to be "starting" 2nd baseman by d.ross.  ross claims it has more to do with what bote did vs what hoerner didn't do.

i didn't expect it, but as a bote fan i'm happy.

Seems this is our roster, barring injury:

C: Contreras

1B Riz

2B Bote


SS Javy

OF Joc Happ JHey

Bench: Higgins, Sogard, Marisnick, Vargas

SP: Hendricks Arrieta Davies Williams Adbert

RP: Kimbrel Workman Tepera Winkler Adam Maples Mills Chafin Brothers

Question is... who goes to accommodate the adds to the 40 man? One spot is open, maybe Wick to 60 day, Ryan gets axed?

i wouldn't be shocked to see adbert in AAA and mills slot in #5.

I strongly suspect that Adbert Alzolay will be on the MLB Active List only until Shelby Miller's opt-out (presumably sometime in April or May) forces the Cubs to add him to their MLB roster. 

Keep in mind that Alzolay's 4th minor league option iis only available in 2021, so if the Cubs think Alzolay needs some additional polish and refinement in AAA to make him a better pitcher in the long-run, they will need to option him this season.

I was a bit surprised that with Nico Hoerner being optioned to AAA that the Cubs didn't keep Rafael Ortega as a late-inning LH bat of the bench.

Most of the best closers & set-up guys in baseball are RHP, and if the N. L. does not have a DH, having a lefty bat on the bench who can PH late in the game is kind of important.  

I get that Sogard is a LH-hitter and Vargas is a switch-hitter, but having an extra LH bat on the bench beyond those two would be a plus.