Cubs 2021 Rule 5 Draft & Minor League Free-Agent Watch List


As things stand right now...

61 Cubs minor leaguers are eligible for selection in the December 2021 MLB Rule 5 Draft, and 45 Cubs minor leaguers (29 post-2021 6YFA and 16 2021 second-contract players) are eligible to be declared MLB Rule 9 (formerly known as MLB Rule 55) minor league free-agents at 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the 2021 World Series (or at 5 PM Eastern on October 15th if the 2021 World Series is cancelled). 

In addition, RHPs Adrian Sampson and Kohl Stewart have Article XX-D rights, and can elect free-agency after being outrighted earlier this week. If either of them do not elect free-agency by 5 PM (Eastern) on Sunday 11/7, they will be automatically declared an MLB Rule 9 minor league 6YFA at that time (TBD). 

Among the notable Cubs first-time Rule 5 Draft eligibles post-2021 are RHPs Derek Casey, Yovanny Cruz, Luis Devers, Manuel Espinoza, Jeremiah Estrada, Gabriel Jaramillo, Eduarniel Nunez, Ethan Roberts, Benjamin Rodriguez, Cam Sanders, and Riley Thompson, LHPs Chris Allen, Jack Patterson, and Luis Angel Rodriguez, INFs Fabian Pertuz, Yeison Santana, Luis Vazquez, Luis Verdugo, and Andy Weber, and OFs Edmond Americaan and Nelson Velazquez. From amongst this group, Roberts and Velazquez (likely) are probably the two most-likely to be added to the 40 on 11/19 (the roster filing deadline will be a day earlier than usual in 2021 because 11/20 falls on a Saturday), but whichever pitchers and position players listed above who are not added to the 40 on 11/19 will very likely be placed on the AAA Iowa reserve list so that they will be eligible for selection in the Major League Phase of the Rule Draft only.

Some of the noteworthy Cubs minor leaguers who were eligible for selection in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft and who will be eligible again in 2021 include RHPs Javier Assad, Danis Correa, Dakota Mekkes, Carlos Ocampo, Peyton Remy, Erich Uelmen, and Dauris Valdez, LHPs Brandon Hughes and Brendon Little, 1B- OF Jared Young, INF Delvin Zinn, and OFs Zach Davis and Yonathan Perlaza. B. Little, Correa, and J. Young are probably the three with the best chance to get added to the 40 by the November deadline. 

The noteworthy Cubs minor leaguers who will be eligible to be a Rule 9 minor league free-agent for the first time post-2021 (if the player is not added to the 40 or signs a 2022 minor league successor contract prior to being declared a 6YFA at 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series) are RHP Dakota Chalmers, LHP Bryan Hudson, and RHP Eury Ramos.    

Among Cubs minor leaguers eligible to be minor league free-agents again post-2021, LHP Luis Lugo is the most noteworthy. He signed a 2021 minor league successor contracts post-2020, and he has an outside shot to get added to the 40 if he declines to sign another successor contract post-2021.  

: If not added to the MLB 40-man roster, the players underlined and in bold green below will likely be placed on the 38-man AAA Iowa reserve list on 11/19 so that they will be eligible for selection only in the Major League Phase of the 2021 Rule 5 Draft   

Jose Albertos, RHP 
Chris Allen, LHP 
Edmond Americaan, OF
Shendrik Apostel, 1B 
D. J. Artis, OF
Javier Assad, RHP 
Cam Balego, C-INF
Craig Bro0oks, RHP (on Restricted List)
Jesus Camargo,. RHP (on Restricted List)
Derek Casey, RHP 
Danis Correa, RHP
Yovanny Cruz, RHP 
Zach Davis, OF
Luis Devers, RHP 
Christian Donahue, INF 
Tyler Durna, 1B
Manuel Espinoza, RHP 
Jeremiah Estrada, RHP
Miguel Fabrizio, C-1B 
Kelvin Feliz, RHP
Reivaj Garcia, INF
Trent Giambrone, INF
Jose Miguel Gonzalez, RHP 
Ben Hecht, RHP 
Brandon Hughes, LHP (ex-OF) 
Josue Huma, INF
Gabriel Jaramillo, RHP  
Widimer Joaquin, INF
Levi Jordan, INF
Caleb Knight, C 
Brendon Little, LHP 
Dakota Mekkes, RHP
Eduarniel Nunez, RHP 
Carlos Ocampo, RHP 
Jack Patterson, LHP 
Yonathan Perlaza, OF (ex-INF)  
Fabian Pertuz, INF 
Jake Reindl, RHP 
Jorge Remon, RHP 
Peyton Remy, RHP 
Samuel Reyes, RHP 
Ethan Roberts, RHP 
Benjamin Rodriguez, RHP 
Luis Angel Rodriguez, LHP 
Cam Sanders, RHP
Yeison Santana, INF  
Wyatt Short, LHP 
Jonathan Sierra, OF
Jake Slaughter, INF-OF 
Matt Swarmer, RHP 
Riley Thompson, RHP 
Erich Uelmen, RHP 
Dauris Valdez, RHP
Didier Vargas, LHP 
Luis Vazquez, INF 
Nelson Velazquez, OF 
Luis Verdugo, INF
Andy Weber, INF 
Blake Whitney, RHP 
Jared Young, 1B-OF 
Delvin Zinn, INF 

Additionally, a free-agent who signs a 2022 minor league contract prior to the 2021 Rule 5 Draft will be eligible for selection in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft if the player was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 5th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season, and a minor league player who was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract becomes eligible for selection starting with the 4th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season.

NOTE: If signed to a 2022 minor league successor contract and not added to the MLB 40-man roster, the players underlined and in bold green below will likely be placed on the 38-man AAA Iowa reserve list on 11/19 so that they will be eligible for selection only in the Major League Phase of the 2021 Rule 5 Draft.



Jose Almonte, RHP 
Abiatal Avelino, INF (Article XX-D player) - one minor league option left in 2022
Joe Biagini, RHP (Article XX-D player) - no minor league options left in 2022
James Bourque, RHP (Article XX-D player) - one minor league option left in 2022
Erick Castillo, C (Article XX-D player) - three minor league options left in 2022
Dakota  Chalmers, RHP (Article XX-D player) - two minor league options left in 2022
Yovanny Cuevas, OF
Donnie Dewees, OF 
Johneshwy Fargas, OF (Article XX-D player) - three minor league options left in 2022
Taylor Gushue, C (Article XX-D player) - three minor league options left in 2022
Mike Hauschild, RHP (Article XX-D player) - two minor league options left in 2022
P. J. Higgins, C-INF (Article XX-D player) - three minor league options left in 2022
Ben Holmes, LHP
Bryan Hudson, LHP 
Tyler Ladendorf, INF (Article XX-D player) - one minor league option left in 2022 
Ryan Lawlor, LHP 
Luis Lugo, LHP
Dillon Maples, RHP (Article XX-D player) - no minor league options left in 2022  
Ian Miller, OF (Article XX-D player) - three minor league options left in 2022
Nicholas Padilla, RHP 
Tyler Payne, C (Article XX-D player) - three minor league options left in 2022
C. D. Pelham, LHP (Article XX-D player) - two minor league options left in 2022
Raymond Pena, C 
Eury Ramos, RHP 
Aneuris Rosario, RHP 
Adrian Sampson, RHP (Article XX-D player) - three minor league options left in 2022
Kohl Stewart, RHP (Article XX-D player) - one minor league option left in 2022 
Marcus Walden, RHP (Article XX-D player) - one minor league option left in 2022
Joe Wieland, RHP (Article XX-D player) - no minor league options left in 2022 
NOTE: Article XX-D means players can elect free-agency if sent outright to minors, and Article XIX-A means player must give his consent before he can be sent to minors by optional or outright assignment. 

(see NOTE-1 below)
Michael Arias, INF / RHP (previously released by TOR - see NOTE-2 below) 
Aneudis Beard, RHP (previously released by TEX)
Andres Bonalde, LHP (previously released by CUBS)
Edwin Figuera, INF (previously released by STL)
Juan Gamez, RHP (previously released by MIN)
Alex Katz, LHP (previously released by BAL)
Ryan Kellogg, LHP (previously released by CUBS)
Garrett Kelly, RHP (previously released by MIN)
Austin Krzeminski, RHP (previously released by LAA)
Jackson McClelland, RHP (previously released by TOR) - three minor league options left in 2022
Carlos Sepulveda, INF (previously released by LAD) 
Dalton Stambaugh, LHP (previouysly released by BAL - see NOTE-2 below)
Tyler Suellentrop, RHP (previously released by SEA) 
Tim Susnara, C (previously released by AZ) 
Vance Vizcaino, OF (previously released by KC) 
Harrison Wenson, C (previously released by LAA)
NOTE-1: With mutual consent (player & club), a second-contract minor league player who has accrued fewer than seven minor league seasons can be signed to a multi-year minor league contract with club control extending up through the player's seventh minor league season. So it is possible that one or more of the Cubs minor league second contract players are signed beyond the 2021 season (TBD).
NOTE-2: If  signed beyond 2021, Michael Arias and Dalton Stambaugh are - NOT - eligible for selection in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft 


A couple of days after the Cubs won the WS, I took a "W" flag to the cemetery to stick in the ground by my parents' graves. When I got there, I was moved to see a veritable forest of blue-and-white flags. That sort of thing, along with Game 7 starting on the Day of the Dead, when the ancestors come back for a visit, demonstrates the cosmic nature of the Cub victory. The downside was that we are just normal fanatical sports fans now. We live and die with the team, we second-guess management, we cheer, we boo, we raise a hullabaloo. But being a Cub fan is no longer a metaphor for the ultimate futility of existence. 

With that in mind, I can't get too upset about the Darvish trade. For one thing, we won't be able to judge it for years. Maybe Darvish will win the Cy Young Award and all the kids will flop. Maybe his arm will blow out in spring training and a couple of the kids become stars. Nobody knows. For another, though of course I'm  disappointed that the Cubs never made it back to the World Series, and sad to see the championship team being dismantled, it's nothing like the heartbreak I'd be feeling if they had lost Game 7. I'll still go to the games with the grandkids and watch them on TV. I'll follow the prospects on There are more important things to worry about than whether the Cubs really could have afforded to keep the band together. 

But there still is a bit of the fatalistic Cub fan in me. I bought a World Champions Cubbie-blue hoodie in 2016, and wear it often to this day.  After some consideration, I bought another one a couple of weeks later, there weren't going to be any more championships. The backup hoodie hangs in the closet, never worn, so I'm probably good for the rest of my life. Pessimism paid off this time, I guess. 

I'm still getting over them trading away Rick Reuschel.

*cough* should be in the HOF *cough*

just because him and his brother look like insurance salesmen that are serial killers in their off-time doesn't mean rick should be overlooked.

seriously, he put in more than a few overlooked seasons that were great.  luis tiant feels his pain.

tommy lasorda has died...93 years old.

ugg...i put this in the 2021 rule5 bad.

Nick Martini and Tommy Lasagna belong in the same thread. Wow.

RHP Edward Vasquez (2017 IFA - Dominican Republic) has retired.

E. Vasquez was one of the top SP on DSL Cubs Red in 2019 and was expected to be a SP on one of the Cubs AZL teams in 2020 if the minor league season hadn't been canceled.

He would have been first-time Rule 5 Draft eligible post-2021. 

The Cubs have signed second-contract FA SS Michael Arias (ex-TOR) to a 2021 minor league contract.

So there is a Michael Arias on Instagram who posted that he signed a contract with the Cubs a few weeks back but is a pitcher. Looks real young but near as I can tell the Arias who was a Blue Jay is only 19 and never appeared in any games. Is this a guy the Cubs are converting to pitcher maybe?

BRADSBEARD: The info I received is that Michael Arias is a second-contract player who was released by the Toronto Blue Jays sometime prior to signing with the Cubs. I don't know anything else about him, so I guess he must be either a two-way player or (as you speculated) he is being converted to a RHP (TBD).

The Cincinnati Reds have claimed INF Max Schrock off waivers from the Cubs. Schrock was Designated for Assignment by the Cubs last Friday to make room on the 40 for INF Sergio Alcantara (who was claimed off waivers by the Cubs from the Tigers).

The Cubs have signed veteran switch-hitting catcher Jose Lobaton to a 2021 minor league contract.

Jose Lobaton is the new Taylor Davis?

PJ Higgins is Taylor Davis

dj snelton's left elbow is screwed up...6 weeks rest then re-evaluate.

looks like he's going to try to avoid having surgery.

spring training TV is usually fluid...adding and subtracting broadcast games...

first cubs TV (as of now) is March 3 (wednesday) on ESPN at 3pm EST.

radio broadcasts available for almost every game that's not televised.  the cubs get going on monday and some other teams will start the day before.

Marquee has added a tuesday game, so now the first televised cubs game is March 2nd (3pm EST)

The Cubs have signed LHSP Ben Holmes (ex-LAD) and RHRP Jose Moreno (ex-NYM) to 2021 minor league contracts. Both were post-2020 minor league 6YFA and neither has been on an MLB 40-man roster.

Holmes pitched collegiately at Oregon State and has some AAA experience, but Moreno hasn't pitched above Lo-A over the course of seven seasons in the Mets organization.  

kevin rizzo is in camp with the cubs and is in workouts with the team.

very tiny guy, no power, but he can run down a ball in the field and he's almost impossible to pitch to.  time to give him a contract and put him in the OF.

No matter how well he performs this spring, the smart play is still to send him down to Des Moines.  Delay his service clock for a month or six weeks, get seven extra years of team control.

I hear he dogs it, and is a bit of a hot dog.

Baseball America came out with a list of the top 2021-22 international singing class of 16 year olds and the Cubs were not list with any of the top 20.  I guess Tom Ricketts decided to pass next year on future Latin talent.

Stock clears waivers, is now NRI. Duane Underwood loses his 40 man spot to Tepera. I find it shocking that he was cut over Maples, but I'm sure Maples gets the boot before Opening Day, too.

maples, the unpolished diamond...maybe he'll figure it out in his 5th year of trying...

so far he's dollar store discount bin carlos marmol.

looked sharp as hell today with a groundout to 1st and a couple Ks.

Neither Robert Stock nor Duane Underwood Jr have the right to elect free-agency if outrighted, although both will be minor league 6YFA at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the 2021 World Series if the player is either not added back to the 40 or signs a 2022 minor league successor contract prior to the deadline. 

odd with JD in the booth without len...nice to see the cubs back in action.

sciambi is a nice replacement.  can't complain.

20% seating for opening day at Wrigley. Not sure how they allocate who gets in yet. Masks and social distancing expected. Selling beer hats with straws?

Saw somewhere Cubs are likely to carry 9 relievers. Thoughts:

1. Gross

2. I thought pitching staffs were to maximize at 13? Did that get relaxed for this year because of the pandemic? Or is that not a thing anymore?

Per AZ Phil... Pitcher limit of 13 suspended for 2021 season due to COVID

Great. Then up roster limit to 27-28, so a team can carry a 5 man bench. Oh, I forgot...that extra $600K to $1.2M would put so many owners in the red.

The Cubs have signed RHRP Randy Meisinger (ex-STL) to a 2021 minor league contract. Unknown right now if he will get an NRI to MLB Spring Training. 

thomas hatch (TOR) left today's game with an elbow injury in the middle of pitching to a batter.

nice 1st inning D play at SS + 1st inning HR...sogard is pretty much stamping his ticket to break spring as the backup SS/2nd.

Update on MLB plan for short-season "complex" teams (AZL, DSL, and GCL) is that they will be run as a combined Extended Spring Training & Instructs for the entire season (through 10/15), with no "official" games.

This plan has nothing to do with CoViD-19. It was part of MLB's Master Plan for minor league baseball prior to the cancelation of the 2020 minor league season. 

However, some MLB clubs do not wish to change the nature of the AZL, DSL, and GCL, so there has been no final determination. 

Also, expect the 2021 minor league season (AAA, AA, Hi-A, and Lo-A) to be delayed until at least June 1st.  

In addition, it is very possible that the minor league baseball regular season will be permanently changed from second week in April through Labor Day to May 1st through third week in September beginning in 2022, with minor league Spring Training beginning after the conclusion of MLB Spring Training (as will be the case this season). 

a.romine not expected to be opening day ready...not surprising at this point.

sprained right knee that's on week 3 of being rested...

there's more masks in the dugout than the entire fan section of the park in TEX...and they're packed shoulder-to-shoulder at near full capacity.

Maddie Lee @maddie_m_lee
Injury update from David Ross: C Austin Romine (right knee soreness) left for South Bend today. He'll get live at-bats there. RHP Rowan Wick is still in AZ building up, but Ross said all signs are positive.

t.williams perfect through 5ip.

welcome to wrigley.

well that was over quickly.

still, only a single.  big standing O from the 25% crowd.

baez takes one flush to the knee...ow.  he took his base, but that was full-on right into the knee.

looks like sogard might be playing SS tomorrow.

Cubs get Dauris Valdez for Norwood. Another hard thrower who hits triple digits but has control issues. Hopefully, AZ Phil know more details but it seems they have focused their scouting on the SD system.

edit: sorry, see Phil's post in the other thread. Great info as always.

MLB All-Star game moved to COL...less humidity, more weed.

that should make for a great HR derby.

and Lobster Humidors

vogelbomb getting the start at 1st tonight for MIL.

also, fergie is finally getting a statue outside of wrigley (next season).

tyler oneil fouled one -exactly- off the lens of the camera behind home plate STL @ MIA...shattered the glass on the camera.

the TV crew is "tier 2" and they can't come on the field to clean up the glass.

delay of game while a random clubhouse guy cleans up the glass on the field.

hey, ready to have your starting job back?

odd seeing the backup catcher used to pinch hit in the 5th, but whatever.



of all the weird cubs stuff, i didn't think waffle makers in the dugout would make a comeback.  this core is interesting.  happ is a fun dude.

Kimbrel ends the 8th. To quote Carlos Zambrano: "Thanks God."

So, our team's Relief Pitchers are Kimbrel, Chafin, & Brothers. Then a half dozen part time baseball arsonists?

How do you walk the bases loaded with a 2 run lead? Then, how does the Manager let you?

I like this version Kimbrel. Seem apparent that he needs a normal spring training.  Year 1, signs a free agent contract mid season, no so good.  Year 2, Covid craziness, settles in 2nd half of the season.  Year 3, pretty bad beginning of ST and settles in at beginning of the season.

4.2ip 0h 0bb 9k

unf.  more please.

I am as befuddled as George A.  Back to back four pitch walks and Ross thinks Winkler gets another batter? 

Isn't the rule where the reliever must either finish an inning or face at least three batters still around? I know it was in effect last year but wasn't sure if that was a "2020 is a nonsense season, let's do whatever" rule or one they're sticking with  

Yeah, Winkler had to face a third batter (or intentionally walk him I guess) before Ross could pull him. Wondering how long before Shelby Miller takes over for Winkler or Workman...

I'd be good with either. The other can go when Rowan Wick is ready, as far as I'm concerned. Hope they keep Maples instead of one of those two.

Right.  Three batter minimum.  Hopefully the only time I'll need to be reminded this year. 


d.ross and others around him are supposedly rather big on j.adam, fwiw...

wouldn't be shocked to see him around in cubs leading/tie/close middle relief.

k.rosenthal reporting that MLB has taken multiple baseballs from t.bauer's last start with "visible markings and were sticky."

they're cracking down on that, btw.  it's also -really- common accepted practice to get stickum/pine tar/etc on the ball as well as using your fingernail (or something else) to cut up or scuff/sand the ball.   so, while bauer may have thumbed his nose at the new rules, he was (maybe) not doing anything extrodinary in the world of baseball cheating.

remember when that ball stuck to yadi's chest protector full of stickum and everyone laughed?  or when they kept having to tell that pitcher for the yanks to not have obvious pine tar gobbed on his body that he was constantly dipping into on the mound?  they're trying to crack down on that kinda stuff...

the real gold about all this is bauer is very outspoken about doctoring the ball in this manner, comparing pitchers that do it to using steroids.  so there's that...

btw, don't pay any attention to that brown crap on kimbrel's cap...i'm sure it's just dirt.

Nats Covid update (wrt Former Cub factor): Brad Hand, Yan Gomes, Alex Avila and Jordy Mercer have all been cleared to return after being away due to COVID-19 protocols. Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber, Jon Lester and Josh Harrison have not been cleared yet, 

Still looking forward to seeing Schwarbs play in a Nats uniform.

Sure makes it sound like Schwarber and Lester were among the positives. Hate that for them, especially Jon who has the cancer history and the recent thyroid issue. Hopefully both recover without significant lingering effects. 

j.musgrove throws SD's first no-hitter.  it would have been a perfect game if he didn't hit a batter.

not bad for his 2nd start for them.

Coach Craig Driver tested positive for Coronavirus and was sent back to Chicago. Apparently, no other Cub tested positive. No word about symptoms so it sounds like it was picked up in whatever the regular testing protocol covers  including Wed, Thursday and Friday which were negative for the "traveling party".

AAA exhibition game @south bend rained out.

Ex Cub Dexter Fowler, now with Maddon's Angels goes on the DL with a knee sprain. 

torn acl...ow

career high for zach davies, 7 runs given up...only took 1.2 innings.


RHSP Duncan Robinson (June 2019 TJS) has retired. 

-deleted, wrong thread-

Back door firing all the players through COVID protocols? Better clear some shelf space for that manager of the year trophy.

The Cubs have released veteran RHRP Trevor Kelley from Minor League Camp.

AA Tennessee must get down to 28 players by Opening Day, and South Bend and Myrtle Beach must get down to 30 players by Opening Day. (The ATS squad will become the AAA Iowa Cubs with a 28-man active list roster limit, the same as the ATS roster limit).

Because of CoViD-19 protocols and quarantine requirements, it will be difficult to move players from one minor league level to another during the course of the season, which is why minor league active list rosters have been expanded.  

It is expected that MLB clubs will be allowed to maintain a Taxi Squad (both home & road) indefinitely after the minor league regular season begins on 5/4 and the ATS is disbanded, presuming the minor league regular season actually does begin on time. 

Appreciate all you do for us AZ Phil!

+1 on that.

the content and feedback comes from a unique outlet that has the skills to properly describe what he's seeing.  where else you gonna get this particular news with the ability to have followup for more info?  thanks again, phil.

also, i really like charlie's digest game threads.  all the facts with some good, to the point, commentary.

The Cubs have released C-1B Gustavo Polanco from Minor League Camp. He was scheduled to be a minor league 6YFA post-2021. 

The Cubs have re-signed minor league LHP Ryan Kellogg. The Cubs released him last month during Minor League Camp, but they are already running out of fresh arms at Iowa and Tennessee, and they haven't even played a game yet!    

The Cubs have signed second contract minor league FA LHP Alex Katz (ex-KC) and RHP Austin Krzeminski (ex-LAA) to minor league contracts.  

arrieta threw a pen today (saturday)

The Cubs have traded for outfielder Trayce Thompson, who was with the Diamondbacks at Triple-A, but is formerly of the big league White Sox, Dodgers, and A’s. The Diamondbacks are getting cash in the deal, which is a reflection of the reality that Thompson, 30, is a depth outfielder at this point in his career. Thompson is the younger brother of NBA star Klay Thompson.

The Cubs have signed free-agent RHSP Adrian Sampson to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa, and RHP Michael McAvene, LHP Jack Patterson, and OF Donnie Dewees have been placed on the 60-day IL to open up slots for Sampson, Trayce Thompson, and Kyle Ryan on the Cubs minor league 180-man Domestic Reserve List. 

The Cubs have released OF Luis Berrelleza, INF Rochest Cruz, LHP Misael Garcia, OF Orlando Guzman, C-1B Brayan Mancilla, RHP Yander Montero, OF Carlos Pacheco, and OF John Rodriguez. 

The rush to 70 players.

Rochest Cruz had some success in the DSL a couple of years ago.  Too bad he didn't pan out.  Carlos Pacheco showed power numbers in the DSL two or three years ago along with a high K rate.

VIDEO: Zach Davis and Rochest Cruz are (were) probably the two fastest players (sprint-speed on the bases) in the Cubs system (though not Cruz anymore, obviously). 

Cubs minor league RHRP Ben Hecht (Cubs 2017 12th round pick - Wichita State) had TJS a couple of days ago. 

The Cubs have apparently signed Tyler Suellentrop, a pitcher drafted by Seattle in 2018 from Indian River Community College in Florida. He's been assigned to Myrtle Beach. I expect he'll pitch on Friday.

there has been a ton of fringe signings the past 48 hours by many teams...guys that were not playing organized ball or playing indie ball for the past 1-2+ seasons.

Tyler Suellentrop:
- 92-95 mph
- Dominant in the B9th with a 1-2-3 frame, striking out all three batters. FB 93-97 T98

on the meh front...

ESPN reporting Pujols has a deal with the Dodgers.

if you gave me 29 guesses where/if he would land the dodgers would be in the late 20s...surrounded by pretty much every NL team.

A possible second chance at Blackenhorn.

The Cubs have released OF Josue Fernandez from the DSL Academy. 

At present the Cubs have 65 players on their 70-man Intenational Reserve List (so five slots are open), but another 14 international players are "Signed for Future Service" (signed first contract last year between 7/1 and 12/31) and do not count against the reserve list limit right now, but they will need to be activated or placed on the 60-day IL or Restricted List by DSL Opening Day on July 12th. 

The Cubs also presently have 173 players on their 180-man Domestic Reserve List (seven slots are open), plus nine players (Yovanny Cruz, Donnie Dewees, Ben Hecht, Michael McAvene, Jack Patterson, C. D. Pelham, Jerrick Suiter, Riley Thompson, and Luis Vazquez) are on the 60-day IL and four players (Andres Bonalde, Craig Brooks, Jesus Camargo, and Manny Collier) are on the Restricted List (players on the 60-Day IL and the Restricted List do not count against the reserve list limit). Players who are presently on a minor league 60-day IL cannot be reinstated any earlier than July 3rd. 

Tennessee RHP Bailey Clark has retired. A reworked delivery and a high 90's FB wasn't enough to overcome his control issues.

Sergio's been impressive here. Doubled high off the wall tonight before he was yanked. Hitting .300+, league leaders in walks & OBP.  Reminds me some of both Ronny Cedeno & Starlin (only hiccup I've seen was a pop up he nonchalanted that dropped untouched on the infield dirt).

Guess Sergio can just keep on gettin' on down here...

Is Giambrone injured.

he's on "personal leave" idea why.  he's actually listed as temp inactive, so he might be gone a while.  he missed the start of the season due to his father being ill, but no idea if this has anything to do with that.

I hope everything is okay with Giambrone's family first and foremost.  The timing of what's going on has to be killing him...  with Bote joining the injured,  you'd have to think he'd be getting his shot at the big leagues by now

From today's I-Cub game notes: Alcántara recorded two more hits yesterday against St. Paul, giving him 20 hits in the 18 games he has played for Iowa this year. With the two hits, the infielder extended his hitting streak to a season-long eight games, tying the longest hitting streak for the team this year, set by Abiatal Avelino on May 5-May 14. Alcantara has been all you could ask for as a leadoff hitter, owning a high batting average and getting on base anyway he can for the middle of the lineup. The infielder ranks in the top-ten in the Triple-A East in three key categories. He owns a .364 (20-for-55) batting average (7th), has walked 15 times (2nd) and has an on-base percentage of .500 (2nd).

The Cubs have signed free-agent INF Tyler Ladendorf (ex-OAK) to a minor league contract and he has been asigned to AAA Iowa. Ladendorf spent the last couple of years playing indy ball. 

Stewart for Williams, right Phil?

Nothing screwy for him starting Kohl Stewart twice, or Stewart then Abbott.

Tribune article Monday said Bote had a shoulder dislocation. MRI was "better than they thought" per Ross, which meant no chip fractures. No timetable for Bote yet but if no surgery at this point, it could be 3-4 weeks (per me). So he rests it initially before some rehab begins. 
Also Trevor Williams had an appendectomy on Sunday. If done laparoscopically that should be a few weeks also.

" In the minors, pitchers like Cam Sanders, Cayne Uekert and D.J. Herz are starting to make a name for themselves."

Patrick Mooney with a nice article on some improvements in the Cubs minor league pitching (From the Athletic).
AZ Phil: Can you give your take on Sanders, Uekert and Herz?

The Cubs have purchased the contract of RHSP Jose Almonte from New Jersey (Frontier League). and he has been temporarily assigned to EXST but will likely be moved to a full-season affiiate shortly.

Almonte spent seven seasons pitching in the Red Sox and Diamondbacks systems 2013-19 and was a D'backs Top 20 prospect a few years ago but never got past Lo-A. 

Shelby Miller has been released by the Chicago Cubs.

PHIL: I was wondering if you could answer some questions my friends and I have. 

1. Are Chris Clarke and Hunter Bigge expected to stay in Mesa? Neither are listed as rehabbing or on the developmental list. We expected them to start in High-A. Do you have any insight on this?

2. Any news on if there will be a DSL season this year? If so, do you know when it will start? And is the starting date for the complex leagues June 28th?

3. Are the backfields open to visitors? Does it help if you can prove you've been fully vaccinated?

Thank you, sir!

K-DUB: Clarke and Bigge are at EXST and will probably move up to a full-season affiliate eventually, the backfields are still closed even if you are fully vaccinated, and the DSL season is scheduled to run July 12th through October 2nd and AZL & GCL run June 28th through September 18th, which means DSL season will lag exactly two weeks behind AZL and GCL seasons instead of the other way around like it was in years previous. AZL, GCL, and DSL teams will play 60 games, five games per week, with Sundays and Wednesdays  off. 

PHIL: Thank you so much for the info. Do you have any idea what is keeping Clarke and Bigge in Mesa? 

K-DUB: As far as I know they are metriculating in the Pitch Lab. 

OF D. J. Wilson (Cubs 2015 4th round draft pick) has retired. He was scheduled to be a minor league 6YFA post-2021, and he had yet to get past AA. 

Today's hot (100+) take from EXST in Mesa: Catcher Miguel Fabrizio is now switch-hitting, and RHP Tyler Schlaffer (two innings - 30 pitches), LHP Bryan King (one inning - 20 pitches), and RHP Angel Gonzalez-Martinez (one inning - 15 pitches) threw in a two-inning "sim" game. Reggie Preciado made a nice play at SS, although he looks more like a Brennon Davis-type CF than an infielder (to me).  

I found it quite interesting Made and not Preciado was sent to Myrtle Beach.  Discussions on Preciado's development implied he was becoming an offensive force.  Made is doing ok but he is still really small physically.  Seems Preciado is not as far along offensively as described at time of trade or Cubs agree he isn't a SS and wanted Made to get the work while Howard is injured.

I suspect the goal for Preciado this spring is to add weight/muscle while working in a more controlled environment (judging from his recent instagram post he's making good progress). Made looks more physically mature to me, so different timeframe maybe. 

Also, to extent you could tell, how did Schafer look?  Was hoping for a DJ Herz like boost (even if on smaller scale).

Also is Angel Gonzalez-Martinez the 18 year old UDFA we signed last year?

SPRINGS: Angel Gonzalez-Martinez was signed as a non-drafted FA out of Puerto Rico after the 2020 draft. Michael Hermosillo took him big-time deep in the "sim" game. 

Schlaffer looked OK. I didn't notice anything eye-popping in the "sim" game, but he didn't get rocked, either. He's clearly being primed to be a SP in the AZL, so that will be a good measuring stick for him. 

Wednesday at EXST... Another two-inning "sim" game... RHP Porter Hodge (two innings - 30 pitches), RHP Nicholas Padilla (one inning - 20 pitches), and LHP Joel Machado  (one inning - 20 pitches). 

The 20-year old Hodge was impressive at 6'4 230+, getting swings & misses and soft-contact ground balls.... reminded me of a young Rowan Wick...  Machado gave up hard contact and struggled with command... Padilla is on rehab from South Bend and looks like he's about ready to return...    

For those of you not familar with a "sim" game, it's sort of a cross between "live " BP and an intrasquad game.

There are nine defenders and the defense makes plays just like in a real game. Pitchers are usually on a strict pitch count limit where an AB can be stopped as soon as the pitcher hits the "magic number."    

The position players hit in groups of four (just like a BP group) and run the bases just like in a real game, and then the the foursome rotates out to the field and four other players come in to hit each time there is a pitching change. 

Each pitcher has his own catcher who warms him up in the bullpen and then catches his inning/frame. The three catchers over the past couple of days were Fabrizio, M. Quintero, and Granadillo. Each catcher gets a round of ABs when he is not catching an inning or warming up a pitcher in the pen. 

The other position players rotate back & forth between defense and offense, but they sometimes also switch defensive positions. The position players in the "sim" games over the past couple of days were Hermosillo (DH), Rivas (1B), Apostel (1B-3B), Pabon, (2B), Santana (2B-SS), Preciado (SS), R. Morel (3B), Pagan (LF-CF), Stevens (LF-RF), Mena (CF), and Caissie (RF). 

RHP Johzan Oquendo and RHP Alberto Sojo threw "live" BP Thursday morning at EXST, with each throwing one inning (20 pitches).  

Good to see Rivas getting into some game action. Hopefully he's nearing a return. 

The Cubs have purchased the contract of 24-year old 6'6 250 1B / LHP  Matt Warkentin from Missoula (Pioneer League).

Formerly an affiliated short-season rookie league, the Pioneer League is now a quasi-independent  "partner league" with MLB, designed for players who have been released from affiliated ball and hope to return and players with no experience in affiliated ball who want a chance to show MLB scouts what they can do.   

A right-handed hitter who throws left-handed, Warkentin hit 249/321/433 with 23 HR and 81 RBI 40/138 BB/K in 134 D-1 games split between the University of San Francisco and Xavier with a year in between at Johnson County CC in Kansas before signing his first pro contract with Missoula in 2021. Although he is primarily a first-basman, Warkentin also logged some appearances as a LHRP in college. 

The Cubs have released OF Gabriel Disla from the Dominican Academy. 

Baseball America came out with their first major update to the TOP 100 minor league prospects. Cubs have:

  • 68 - Brailyn Marquez (previously ranked #44)
  • 70 - Brennen Davis (previously ranked #60)
  • 91 - Cristian Hernandez (new to the list)

looks like they're not buying into the ed howard hype.

baseball prospectus has him at #88.

The Cubs have signed ex-Cub minor league INF Carlos Sepulveda to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to AA Tennessee. Sepulveda was originally signed by the Cubs out of Mexico in 2014, and he was selected by the Dodgers in the Minor League Phase of the 2019 Rule 5 Draft. The Dodgers released him this past March. 

javy out...screwed up his thumb again diving into the seats yesterday.

Phil, can you give me a scouting report on Darious Hill? Thanks,

The Cubs have purchased the contract of RHSP Mike Hauschild (ex-TOR) from Lexington (Atlantic League) and he has been asigned to AAA Iowa. 

The Cubs are clearly beating the bushes of indepenent league baseball. Hauschild is the sixth player acquired by the Cubs from independent league teams in the last month (Jose Almonte, Tyler Ladendorf, Tim Susnara, Matt Warkentin, and Jarod Wright are the other five). 

The Cubs have purchased the contract of RHP Justin Shafer (ex-MIA) from Kansas City (American Association) and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa. 

The Cubs have purchased the contract of INF Edwin Figuera (ex-STL) from York (Atlantic League) and LHSP Dalton Stambaugh (ex-BAL - was Orioles 2019 30th round draft pick - Morehead State) from Evansville (Frontier League), and they have been assigned to ACL Cubs. 

The Cubs have been minng the independent leagues big-time. 

The Cubs have signed C Harrison Wenson (ex-LAA) to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to Hi-A South Bend. Wenson spent five seasons in the Angels organization, and he got an NRI to MLB Spring Training as an extra catcher with the Halos this past spring. 

The Cubs have released OF Connor Myers. He was one of the better defensive outfielders in the Cubs system, and so he should be able to catch on with another MLB organization, or at least in indy ball. 

The Cubs have purchased the contract of veteran LHRP Tony Cingrani from Lexington (Atlantic League) and he will be assigned to AAA Iowa. 

wow.  that's a name i havent heard in a minute.

PHIL - re: options for Hermosillo - would MH have an option year remaining if added to 40? The transaction history on his player page notes MH  added to 40 in Nov '17 with option years used in '18, '19, & '20. But... doesn't the 2020 option year come with a COVasterisk? (COVID-asterisk; TM pending) So MH would have one remaining option that would be useable with some time limitations - right? ( similar to Alcantara) I'm probably missing something...

FP120: Michael Hermosillo accrued a "full season" in 2015-16-17-18-19 and so he was never eligible for a fourth minor league option, and his three minor league option years were spent in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Hermosillo was Designated for Assignment by the Angels last season on 8/23, after he had spent exactly 20 days on Optional Assignment. But if he had been DFA'd just one day earlier (on 8/22 instead of on 8/23) he would have spent 19 days on Optional Assignment in 2020 and his third minor league option year would still be preserved. Why would the Angels have done that? Probably to make Hermosillo less attractive in a waiver claim. (If he was going to be out of options in 2021, other clubs might not be interested in putting in a claim and the Angels could possibly retain him for 2021 on a minor league successor contract, but although he wasn't claimed off waivers, he also declined to sign a 2021 successor contract).  

The reason Sergio Alcantara and Adbert Alzolay got a fourth minor league option in 2021 is because they both had accrued only four "full seasons" through the 2019 season, and so once the arbitrator ruled that 2020 would not count as a "full season" unless the player spent at least 33 actual days (which is 90+ days pro-rated) on an MLB Active List roster in 2020 or at least eleven days on an MLB Active List roster followed by an MLB IL stint of at least 20 days where the two combined for at least 33 actual days (which Alcantara and Alzolay did not), the season would not count as a "full season." 

Also, Alcantara's and Alzolay's fourth minor league options are - ONLY - available in 2021. If not used in 2021, the fourth minor league option won't be available for Alcanatara and Alzolay again in 2022, so there is no reason to try and preserve it. So for example, the Cubs could option Alzolay to Iowa for ten days after his start tonight and replace him with a bullpen arm, since the Cubs won't need a fifth starter again until 7/20. And although Alzolay would count against the I-Cubs 28-man Active List roster, he would not  have to physically report to Des Moines. Alzolay has already spent ten days on Optional Assignment in 2021 and adding another ten days will burn his 2021 option, but again, the fourth option won't be available again in 2022, even if isn't spent in 2021.  

BTW, because 2020 did not not count as a "full season" for them, there are several other players currently on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster who could be eligible for a fourth minor league option year in seasons to come (Justin Steele in 2022, Miguel Amaya and Manuel Rodriguez in 2023, and Brailyn Marquez, Christopher Morel, and Keegan Thompson in 2024), although it will depend on whether the player has accrued or has not accrued five "full seasons" prior to the third minor league option being spent. 

Conversely, guys like Dillon Maples, Cory Abbott, and Patrick Wisdom are not eligible to receive a 4th minor league option, because they either had already accrued five "full seasons" through 2019 (Maples and Wisdom) or will not need 2020 to count as a "full season" (Abbott). Tyson Miller, James Norwood, and Duane Underwood Jr were others who were not going to get a fourth minor league option in 2021 or in a future season no matter what the arbitrator ruled, which is probably why the Cubs were more willing to move them. 

Thank you!  

According to Baseball America, the Cubs have signed a rather large pitcher: 

Name: Adam Heidenfelder

Born: Dec 11, 1995 in

High School: Macarthur

Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 265 lbs

Bats: R / Throws: R

VIDEO: He's actually 6'5. I reported the Cubs purchasing his contract from Gary (American Association) a couple of weeks ago, and he's been down here in Mesa for about ten days. He is indeed one big dude! 

deleted, wrong thread.

Davis with two bombs today at Mile High.


he was wearing "suns in 4" spikes and when he showed them off for the crowd in denver (live field interview) he got boo'd.  lulz.

At the halfway point of the 2021 minor league season, here are the Top 10 post-2021 Rule 5 Draft eligibles and Top 3 players eligible to be post-2021 Rule 9 minor league 6YFA who are most-likely to be added to Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster): 


1. Michael Hermosillo, OF (at AAA)
2. Dakota Chalmers, RHSP (at AA)  
3. Eury Ramos, RHRP (at Hi-A)  
NOTE: Hermosillo could get called up to The Show at any time (especially if the Cubs make moves at the Trade Deadline that open up spots in their MLB outfield), but Chalmers and Ramos are good candidates to be added to the 40 only if the player declines to sign a 2022 minor league successor contract by 5 PM (Eastern) on 5th day after final game of the World Series. 


1. Alfonso Rivas, 1B-OF (at AAA) 
2. Jared Young, 1B-OF (at AA)
3. Ethan Roberts, RHRP (at AA)  
4. Jeremiah Estrada, RHSP (at Lo-A) 
5. Riley Thompson, RHSP (on 60-day IL at Hi-A - shoulder)
6. Yovanny Cruz, RHSP (on 60-day IL at Hi-A - elbow surgery) 
OUTSIDE SHOT (but not very likely at this point) 
7. Brendon Little, LHRP (at AA) 
8. Andy Weber, INF (at AA) 
9. Nelson Velazquez, OF (at Hi-A)
10. Cam Sanders, RHSP (at AA) 
NOTE: To help the Cubs decide whether or not to add an "on the bubble" or "outside shot" player to the 40 by the 11/19 deadline (roster filing deadline is moved up a day this year because 11/20 falls on a Saturday), the  Cubs could assign the player to the Mesa Soler Sox (AFL).  

AZ PHIL:  could you share what you know about (and/or any personal experiences with) Erick Castillo?  I'm always curious about that type of minor league player... what has made him stick with the org for almost 10 years in the minors?  From both sides of that question... what has made the Cubs want to keep him & what makes him (or a similar player) want to stay?   Thanks! 

FirstPitch.120: I have known Erick Castillo since he first arrived at Fitch Park in Mesa in 2013. He was rated (by the Cubs themselves) as the #1 defensive catcher in their system as recently as 2018. Pitchers love throwing to him. 

The problem has always been his bat. He gave up switch-hitting in 2017 and his hitting improved some once he got used to hitting RH versus RHP, but he has virtually no power. 

He has been a de facto player-coach the past couple of seasons, and I suspect he will become a full-time coach at some point in the near-future. 

Second contract player Michael Arias, a former infielder-turned-pitcher, made his Cubs system debut today in relief. 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB for DSL Cubs Blue.

INF Aramis Ademan has retired. He was rated the Cubs # 1 prospect in 2018 by Baseball America

it's crazy how his D didn't show up as well as expected.

it's not like he was supposed to be the slickest glove ever, but it never clicked.  surprised it's over so soon.  hope he saved a good chunk of that 2m signing bonus.


I know even the highest rated international free agents are wild cards cause they're all 16/17, but that is an incredible misfire.

There has been a significant amount of misfiring

That's true. This has gotta be the biggest international signing misfire, though. Even more so then Eddy Martinez

Where is Jack Patterson these days?  Is he in Mesa rehabbing?

he's on the shelf til in early may.

The current CBA will expire on December 1st, but this will not affect a lot of the business that will take place after the conclusion of the 2021 season. 

For example, all players eligible to be an Article XX-B MLB free-agent post-2021 will automatically be declared a free agent at 9 AM on the day after the final game of the 2021 World Series. (A player on an MLB 60-day IL is automatically reinstated at this same time). Players declared Article XX-B MLB free-agents are automatically and immediately removed from the club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster). 

Article XX-B Qualifying Offers must be extended by clubs no later than 5 PM on the 5th day after the final game of the 2021 World Series, and any player receiving a QO will have ten days to decide whether or not to accept it.  

All players on an MLB or minor league 60-day IL must be reinstated no later than 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5rh day after the final game of the 2021 World Series.

Minor league players eligible to be an MLB Rule 9 (formerly MLB Rule 55) second-contract free-agent or 6YFA will automatically be declared an unrestricted free-agent at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series and will be free to sign a major league or minor league contract with any club (including the player's former club) without restriction. A club's minor league Domestic Reserve List limit is expanded from 180 players to 190 players at this time and the DRL limit will remain at 190 until 2022 minor league Opening Day when it will revert to a 180 player limit. 

MLB and minor league reserve lists must be filed with the MLB office on November 19th (moved up a day from the normal 11/20 deadline because 11/20 falls on a Saturday in 2021).  

2022 contracts must be tendered to unsigned players on a club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) on 12/2. Any such player who is not tendered a 2022 major league contract will automatically be declared a non-tendered free-agent and will be free to sign a major league or minor league contract with any club (including the player's former club) without restriction.

The 2021 MLB Rule 5 Draft will take place in December (second Thursday unless the Winter Meetings are postponed or canceled, in which case the draft could take place at a later date - TBD).

That's why it would actually make more sense for the CBA to expire on December 15th rather than on December 1st. By December 15th, everything is done.  

So then what happens if the MLB and MLBPA cannot hammer out a new CBA by the time current one expires? Probably a long, cold, nuclear winter without trades or free-agent signings, until the new CBA is signed. And that could be a while. 2022 MLB Spring Training could be delayed. Even the 2022 MLB regular season could be delayed. And while it's not likely, there is even an outside remote chance that there will not be a 2022 MLB regular season.   

However, the 2022 minor league season should proceed normally even if a new CBA is delayed, so it is possible that 2022 could be the opposite of 2020, when there was an MLB season but the minor league season was camceled. 

Rightfully doom and gloom AZ Phil.

As we approach the August 31st MLB post-season roster eligibility deadline, keep in mind that most players on minor league rosters can be traded up until one week prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season - EXCEPT - for players on a minor league roster who were outrighted off the MLB 40-man roster.

So Nick Martini, Taylor Gushue and Johneshwy Fargas can NOT be traded, because they were outrighted to the minors from the MLB 40-man roster. Conversely, guys like Tony Cingrani and Joe Biagini - CAN - be traded because they weren't outrighted off the MLB 40-man roster.  

And that's also probably why Kyle Ryan elected free-agency after being outrighted last week, even though electing free-agency meant his contract was immediately terminated with no termination pay. If Ryan had accepted the outright assignment -- as he did earlier in the season -- he would have continued to be paid, but he also would have been ineligible to be traded. This way, he can possibly sign a minor league contract with a contending club with the possibility (albeit remote) that he could get called up in September and possbly even pitch in the post-season.     

I also fully expect the Cubs to place post-2021 MLB Article XX-B free-agents to be like Zach Davies, Matt Duffy, Robinson Chirinos, Jose Lobaton (if heathy enough to play) and the two Romines on Outright Assignment Waivers sometime in the next week. That is apparently what the Cubs did with Dan Winkler prior to releasing him, where they were hoping he might get claimed off Outright Assignment Waivers so that the Cubs could get out from unfer his remaining salary. Winkler went unclaimed, however, so the Cubs ended up having to release him. 

If the player is claimed off Outright Assignnment Waivers, the claiming club would assume 100% of what is left of the player's 2021 salary, which would be fairly substantial in the case of Davies. It happened earlier this week with Heath Hembree (claimed by the Mets after the Reds placed him on Outright Assignment Waivers). 

The Cubs might also opt to place arbitration-eligible players they intend to non-tender on 12/2 like Adam Morgan and Rex Brothers on Outright Assignment Waivers as well, since they going to lose them for nothing on 12/2 anyway.

If a player is claimed off Outright Assignment Waivers, the Cubs can bank the $50,000 waiver fee and then use it to claim another different player off waivers sometime later in the seson or the post-2021 off-season.    

The thing is, it's all about timing. Are there any contenders desperate enough for a SP to claim Zach Davies and pay the $50,000 waiver price - AND - assume what is left of his 2021 salary (about $2M)? I actually think there are, especially the Padres and maybe a couple of others as well.   

Remember, a player does - NOT - have to be outrighted after Outright Assighment Waivers are secured, and a player-- even an Article XIX-A player who must give his consent before he can sent to the minors --  does not have to give his consent before he can be placed on Outright Assignment Waivers. 

in a world where j.lester can actually be traded and j.arrieta is worth signing after being released, davies might actually get claimed.

i still can't believe anyone traded for lester.  that one weirds me out more than the arrieta thing.  arrieta at least has something in the tank.  lester's got nothing.

Everyone that Phil has mentioned would not be much of a loss. 

The Cubs have released LHRP Tony Cingrani and RHRP (ex-1B) Jerrick Suiter. 

Cubs sign Jackson McClelland to a minor league deal. He is assigned to Iowa.


Hopefully with an eye toward 2022. Can toss upper nineties and touch 100.

What are the dates and rules for the off-season 180 man roster?


Does a minor-league deal with a spring training invite take up a spot?


Minimal answer permitted. I sometimes feel guilty when you answer a question with 5 full paragraphs. 

TIM: Any player signed to a minor league contract who is invited to MLB SpringTraining (otherwise known as an "NRI") counts against the 190-man off-season minor league Domestic Reserve List limit. 

5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series is the "big bang" of the minor league off-season: 

1. All players on a minor league 60-day IL must be reinstated; 

2. All minor league players eligible to be an MLB Rule 9 (formerly MLB Rule 55) minor league free-agent (6YFA and second-contract FA) who did not sign a 2022 minor league successor contract will be automatically declared an unrestricted free-agent (they don't have to file, it's automatic);

3. The Domestic Reserve List limit is expanded from 180 to 190, and the DRL will remain at 190 until minor league "full season" Opening Day when the limit goes back down to 180, but that's also the first day that a minor league player can be placed on the 60-day IL. 

4. Any player on an MLB 40-man roster who is not eligible to elect free-agency if outrighted and who would have been declared a Rule 9 minor league free-agent if he had not been on an MLB 40-man roster at 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series cannot be outrighted to the minors after 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final  game of World Series unless and until he signs a 2022 contract. 

This all happens at the exact same nano-second, so make sure you have plenty of water (or beer) and non-perishable food (or beer) in your man cave in case the universe comes to a sudden end.  

Found it. It's in your minor league roster rules.


Only remaining question is regarding non-roster invitees.

AZ Phil, what is the plan for an instructional training period this year?

HAGSAG: Cubs AZ Instructs runs from 9/20 through 10/13.

At present the Cubs are scheduled to play 19 games against the A's, Angels, and Rockies (only), because the Brewers, Giants, and D'backs are doing their instructs in January-February. (The Mariners are the only west-side team not fielding an AZ Instructs squad in September-October).   

The Arizona Fall League begins play during the last week of AZ Instructs, so there is a one-week overlap, which essentially allows AFL players to get some game reps at Instructs before AFL games start.  

Baseball America's Updated Top 100 Prospects List:

  • 18 - Brennen Davis
  • 97 - Cristian Hernandez


wow, a top 20 prospect.

i didn't think b.davis would shoot up that much, but given what he's doing in AA as a 21 year old (22 in Nov) it's not too shocking.  #72 pre-season (#61 MLB, #78 Baseball Prospectus).

seems he's going to finish the year in called up to iowa today.

Brennen Davis will be first-time Rule 5 Draft eligible after next season (post-2022), so he could get called up to MLB anytime in 2022 if the Cubs think he's ready. 

Besides Brennen Davis, other notable first-time Cubs Rule 5 Draft eligibles after next season (post-2022) will be RHSP Ryan Jensen, RHSP Kohl Franklin, OF Kevin Alcantara, OF Yohendrick Pinango, OF Cole Roederer, RHSP Chris Clarke, RHSP Caleb Killian, RHSP Richard Gallardo, RHSP Michael McAvene, INF Chase Strumpf, RHRP Cayne Ueckert, OF Darius Hill, 1B Nelson Maldonado. and 1B Bryce Ball.  

That's actually a lot of prospects to consider, not to mention those left-over from this year's Rule 5 Draft eligibles who aren't added to the 40 this season but who might be ready to get added next year.  

A club can only stockpile so many prospects and then you start to get overflow and you lose quality players off waivers or in the Rule 5 Draft. That's why the Cubs are going to need to consider trading some of their prospects for established MLB guys at some point in the next year or so.

The key is to get a good, accurate read on your own guys, so you make sure to keep the best ones. 

This is one of the reasons why I am not as down on the 2022 outlook as some people & I think that we are NOT looking at a huge rebuild. The org really hasn't been in this position in a long time - ie, having many players who might be interesting to another club & that the Cubs could live with trading. Only 2 examples of recent notable trades that happened in the off-season for the purpose of roster construction - 1) for Dexter Fowler, and 2) Adam Warren. AW clearly didn't click in Chicago for some reason b/c he reverted to form as soon as he went back to NYY, so it's not like that was a "bad trade" per se. Dex obviously worked.  

Of the players AZ Phil noted, I totally think that there is a package that would be of interest to a club looking to unload some Arb 3/4 players and not too painful for the Cubs. Can also throw in to the trade pool any MLB players who clearly have value, but are not necessarily "the guy" for a position... which is like everybody on the team right now outside of Contreras.  Different market & different times, but that type of MLB player is what netted Dex & Warren. (Huge sky point to Luis Valbuena). 

And of course what Az Phil said about reading your own talent... oh, DJ... what might have been. 

AZ Phil,

Is there a reason Preciado hasn't been in an ACL game in about a month?

cubs get a 7 run lead in the 3rd...tie game in the 4th.

Cubs select contract of RHRP Jason Adam from AAA Iowa and he will be the "29th man" in today's DH with STL. Also,.C Robinson Chirinos to 10-day IL with oblique strain, and OF Greg Deichmann has been recalled from Iowa.  

Phil, does a player's Rule 5 clock tick while not under contract to an organization? Say a player is released one year after signing his first contract, is released, then plays overseas for, say, five years. When he re-signs with an MLB organization does the Rule 5 clock pick up where it left off or was it paused in the interim?

jdrnym: A player's eligibility for selection the Rule 5 Draft depends entirely on when the player signed his first contract. What the player does between that date and any given Rule 5 Draft doesn't matter, but a free-agent is not eligible for selection.

Only players on a minor league reserve list as of the date of the Rule 5 Draft are eligible for selection, and then it depends 100% on when the player signed his first contract, even if he was released one or more times after signing his first contract.

So it is entirely possible for a player to be released by one club and then sign with another, and still not be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft. In fact it is that way this year with LHP Dalton Stambaugh (released by Orioles and then signed by Cubs) and RHP (ex-INF) Michael Arias (released by Blue Jays and then signed by Cubs). 

The Cubs have locked up the #7 draft pick. 

CUBSTER: Not only did they lock-up the the #7 slot in the 2022 MLB First-Year Player Draft (and the bonus slot values that go with that slot), but they also get the #7 pick in the 2021 MLB  Rule 5 Draft, as well as the #7 MLB waiver claim priority through the 30th day of the 2022 MLB regular season. 

They also lock in a high (early 40ish) pick in the second round and a higher draft dollar pool as long as they don't sign a player who carries qualifying offer compensation. 

Which is why the Cubs will not sign any FA who has a QO attached. 

worth noting marcus stoman won't get a QO because he got one last year.

Same exact thing is true for Kevin Gausman, fwiw

Something to keep in mind about clearing MLB 40-man roster slots for players eligible for selection in this year's Rule 5 Draft is that you can't non-tender players to create 40-man roster space for Rule 5 Draft eligibles. That's because players can only be non-tendered on 12/2, and the pre-Rule 5 Draft roster filing deadline is 11/19 (almost two weeks - PRIOR TO -the contract tender date). NOTE: Normally the roster filing deadline is 11/20, but it's moved up to 11/19 this year because 11/20 falls on a Saturday in 2021

What non-tendering players on 12/2 does do is create roster space for free-agents who might be signed during the off-season and for waiver claims, and perhaps for a Rule 5 Draft selection if the Cubs are so inclined. And of course the 12/2 non-tender is useful because it is the only time a club can unilaterally remove a player from its 40-man roster without risking losing the player off waivers. 

The only ways a player can be removed from the 40 prior to 11/19 is MLB Article XX-B free-agents (Duffy, Davies, Chirinos, et al) are automatically declared a FA at 9 AM on the day after the final game of the World Series (doesn't matter if the player is on the 60-day IL, and the player does NOT have to file, it's automatic), or by trade, release, or Outright Assignment (if the player isn't claimed), and some of the players the Cubs will likely be outrighting (or trying to outright) prior to 11/19 to clear 40-man roster slots will have the right to elect free-agency if outrighted, or even if outrighted without the right to elect free-agency, most of the others will be automatically declared a minor league 6YFA at 5 PM on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series.

The five players who were brought up by the Cubs as CoViD replacement guys in September will not be subject to waivers before they can outrighted, but two of the five (Biagini and Fargas) can elect free-agency after being outrighted, and two others (E. Castillo and Payne) will be declared minor league 6YFA after the World Series. The only one of the five who can be outrighted without any restriction or opportunity to be a FA is Trent Giambrone.      

One more thing.

Besides having the #7 overall pick and the #7 pick in each round in next year's MLB First-Year Player Draft, the Cubs also have the #7 waiver claim priority through the 30th day of the 2022 MLB regular season, and the #7 pick in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft.     

Something to keep in mind regarding signing an MLB Rule 9 minor league FA to be to a 2022 minor league successor contract prior to 5 PM (Eastern) on Sunday is that the player must receive a salary at least equal to  80% of what the player was actually paid in salary in 2021. 

So for example, P. J. Higgins (who was outrighted earlier today) spent most of the 2021 season on the Cubs MLB 60-day IL after undergoing TJS. So he accrued 138 days of MLB Service Time and was paid at the MLB rate for those days, which means he was paid about $400K in 2021. So if he were to sign a minor league successor contract prior to 5 PM Eastern on Sunday his 2022 minor league salary would be about $320K. Which ain't gonna happen.  

So I would expect the Cubs to let Higgins become a free-agent at 5 PM Eastern on Sunday, and then, once he is a free-agent and no longer eligible to receive a "successor contract," the Cubs will offer him a 2022 minor league contract with a salary in the neighborhood of $50,000 (plus an NRI to MLB Spring Training as an added perk), and then he will spend the first half of the 2022 season rehabbing in Mesa before (hopefully) rejoining AAA Iowa. 

A similar situation applies to the recently outrighted RHP Kohl Stewart, who made about $325K in 2021 thanks to spending a large chunk of the season on the Cubs MLB 60-day IL with a right forearm strain. Just like with P. J., Higgins the Cubs can't afford to sign Stewart to a "successor contract," which doesn't mean they wouldn't necessarily be interested in signing him to a 2022 minor league contract AFTER he becomes a FA. Just not a "successor contract." 

Rex Brothers elects free agency, another 40 man spot opened

As with Adam Morgan last week, Rex Brothers has Article XIX-A rights (he has accrued five years of MLB Service Time) but he wasn't eligible to be an Artticle XX-B MLB FA on the day after the final game of the World Series because he has not yet accrued six years of MLB Service Time, so he elected free-agency after he was notified by the Cubs that he going to be outrighted (as an Article XIX-A player, he did not have to wait to actually be outrighted before he could elect free-agency... just being notified was enough).   

 Here is a very nice write up from Baseball America' Arizona League Prospect Report:   Nelson Velazquez, OF, Cubs — There's no two ways about it: Nelson Velazquez has been one of the most impressive players in this year's Arizona Fall League. The Cubs outfielder has showcased a swing that is shorter than in previous years and allows him to be on time to the ball while allowing the barrel to explode through the zone with plenty of authority. His seven home runs are the most in the league, the latest a rocket to left field off of Surprise righthander Alec Marsh. Perhaps even more impressive than his power, however, is the way Velazquez seems to command at-bats. Earlier in the week against Dodgers top pitching prospect Bobby Miller, Velazquez confidently took offspeed pitch after offspeed pitch without so much as flinching. Velazquez is commanding at-bats. Now, he also commands your attention.

Does Velazquez project as a RF? I realize there is some projection but it's nice to see some learning progress in a prospect like him. 

Velazquez has a good arm and can currently handle CF ok, so I think he'll be fine in RF for a while at least. He has 16 OF assists between the regular season and AFL this year. 

Nelson Velazquez is faster than he looks. He reminds me (physically) of Kirby Puckett, with a thick lower half, but with above-average speed, sort of like an NFL running back. 

Velazquez has the speed and range to play CF, a strong & accurate arm that plays very well in RF, and he is an above-average LF, too. So wherever he is needed in the outfield, he can play there. I like him best in RF.