Iowa & Indy Play Cubbies & Indians

After 604 days without a ballgame here, Indianapolis came to town for the first time in almost a quarter century last Tuesday night. The first batter of the too long awaited season homered and baseball was finally back.

Two games in the I-Cubs looked like dead ringers for the C-Cubs. Zero runs to go with a bunch of strikeouts (cuatro by Maybin, the most experienced ex-MLBer on the roster-a dreaded golden sombrero) in the reopener; four homers, including a slam by the latest Cub AA to come through AAA, (Abiatal Avelino, successor to Arismendy Alcantara, Albert Almora and Albert Alzolay) the following night, the much preferred variety of GS.

Crowds quickly dwindled from about 3,500 on Opening Night to half as many on Wednesday and Thursday, but having baseball back is like a civic security blanket. It’s just good to know it’s there.

In G3, holdover manager Marty Pevey, now in his 8th season on this job, was ejected after two batters for daring to question a fair/foul call. He’d barely had time to register his disagreement before he was thumbed. Seriously, ump? 

G4 highlights were Kohl Stewart’s line (5/1/1/1/9) and Maybin shaking off the effects of snake venom. Still hitless for the season and having hit into a pair of DPs previously that evening to go with G1’s cap of shame, he swatted a game-tying solo homer in the 8th to snap his 0-15 skein as the I-Cubs eventually prevailed in extras to knot the series at two apiece.

G5 was a washout on Saturday night.

G6 fell on Mother’s Day which dawned dank and raw here but came around nicely by game time. Only because of the Saturday night postponement was this last one of the weeklong series a rubber game. Reclamation project Shelby Miller got the start and set a fine example with three hitless innings marred only by a lone walk against five strikeouts. Tommy Nance did exactly likewise AND drove in the game’s first run with a sac fly. Then Brad Wieck took over and was dazzling, fanning five of the six batters he faced. So Ryan Meisinger entered in the 9th, protecting not only a 2-0 lead, but a no-hitter, too. He walked the leadoff man, then got two outs on hard contact. I figured I knew what was in store when Kevin Kramer stood in as the potential last out. After all, 31 of the previous 53 outs made by I-Injuns were whiffs so what else would you expect from a guy with the initials KK? But no, it took a sliding catch in right by Rafael Ortega to nail down the no-no, much to the relief of Meisinger and the delight of his teammates and the smallish but engaged crowd. It was the first one thrown by the I-Cubs at home since 1984 so I’m glad I got to see it. I hadn’t planned to go, but after our M-Day brunch, my wife wanted to go garden at her Mom’s so I was released on my own recognizance. I brought a gate promo rose home from the ballpark for her which was more appreciated than the no-hit news.

The rookie consortium known as Triple A East is a work in progress. MLB balls in BP, PCL ones in-game (strictly a cosmetic difference, I believe, since Triple A was using balls identical to the big leaguers last time they played in 2019) and a schedule that calls for nothing but six-game series all summer, Tuesdays through Sundays. The whole league gets Mondays off, like barbers. 

Maybe they should call the circuit the Sal Magleague.

Comments

Per Baseball America:  players signed and released over the last two weeks.

Chicago Cubs
Signed: RHP Austin Krzeminski | LHP Alex Katz | LHP Ryan Kellogg
Released: RHP Trevor Kelley | LHP DJ Snelten | C Gustavo Polanco

I know I posted the Kelley and Polanco releases during Minor League Camp and the Kellogg, Katz, and Krzeminski signings about a  week or two ago, but I probably did not post the Snelten release. 

BTW, if you haven't read my Roster Rules section lately, it has been updated for 2021 

One of the most significant changes is that minor league affiliates no longer have individual reserve lists.

It used to be that the AAA reserve list limit was 38 players, AA was 37, and each single-A affiliate and short-season affiliate was 35 for the entire year including the off-season.  

Now, there are two reserve lists, one called the "Domestic Reserve List," and the other called the "International Reserve List."

Back when the Cubs had four domestic full-season affiliates (Iowa, Tennessee, Myrtle Beach, and South Bend) and three domestic short-season affiliates (Eugene, AZL Cubs Blue, and AZL Cubs Red), the aggregate number of reserve list slots available on those seven affiliates (combined) was 250 players year-round.

However, the Domestic Reserve List limit is now just 190 players beginning at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series up until domestic minor league Opening Day (which is considered to be the first day any domestic minor league regular season game is played, which this year was May 4th), and then it's only 180 players beginning on domestic minor league Opening Day up until 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series, which is the exact same deadline for minor league free-agency (which is now called Rule 9 instead of Rule 55) and for reinstating players from the minor league 60-day IL.   

The International Reserve List limit is either 35 or 70 players year-round, depending on whether an MLB organization is operating one or two DSL teams. (The Cubs have two DSL teams, so their International Reserve List limit is 70 players). That number has not changed, although now there is just the one aggregate reserve list for both Cubs DSL teams, although each of the two Cubs DSL team will have separate 35-man active list rosters once the DSL season commences.  

Minor league players on the Restricted List, Ineligible List, or Disqualified do not count against the Domestic or International reserve list limits, and players on the minor league 60-day IL also do not count against the limit, but a player can only be placed on the minor league 60-day IL beginning on minor league Opening Day through the final game of that club's season, and once on a minor league 60-day IL the player must be reinstated no later than 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series.

Also, players who are "Signed for Future Service" do not count against reserve list limits until domestic minor league opening day or until international minor league opening day, depending on whether the player who is "Signed for Future Service" is exempt from the domestic or international reserve list limit.  

The only exception to this new "master" reserve list arrangement is that a club can place up to 38 players on its AAA reserve list beginning on November 20th (November 19th in 2021 because November 20th falls on a Saturday) and extending through the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft. These (at most) 38 players can only be selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft (as was always the case previously), although in practive most clubs usually leave at least two or three slots open on their AAA reserve list when the roster is filed on 11/20 for veteran free-agents signed to minor league contracts between November 20th and the Rule 5 Draft and/or for players selected by the club in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft. (A club must have as many slots open on its AAA Reserve List prior to the Rule 5 Draft as the number of players selected by the MLB club for its AAA affiliate in the AAA Phase of that draft).   

Otherwise, there are no longer any individual club minor league reserve lists. 

Once a player is moved from the International Reserve list (which essentially is the Dominican Academy) to the Domestic Reserve List he cannot be moved back to the International Reserve List. Only players on an International Reserve List can play in the DSL. 

At the present time, the Cubs have 180 players on their Domestic Reserve List (so the list is full), plus one player (C. D. Pelham) is the on the 60-day IL and three players (Craig Brooks, Jesus Camargo, and Manny Collier) are on the Restricted List. 

In addition, the Cubs presently have 70 players on their International Reserve List (so that list is also full), plus 14 more international players were "Signed for Future Service" between 7-1-2020 and 1-1-2021 and those players will not count against the International Reserve List limit until the start of the DSL regular season, at which point 14 more slots will have to be found somewhere on either the Domestic Reserve List and/or the Intertnational Reserve List, either by placing players on the 60-day IL or on the Restricted List, or by trade or outright release.    

An MLB club can sign no more than 12 players for future service (meaning the contract is for the following season) for each DSL affiliate, and no more than 12 players for future service for each single-A affiliate, for a total of 48 players (maximum) who can be "Signed for Future Service" at any one time.  

In addition, the active list roster limit has been expanded from 25 to 28 players for AAA and AA teams, and from 25 to 30 players for Hi-A and Lo-A teams. The active list limit is still 35 for each DSL team, but there is no active list roster limit for AZL or GCL teams. This change in minor league active list roster limits is permanent. It is not CoViD-related 

Also, a minor league player on a AAA or AA IL can now be sent on an injury rehab assignment to either of the organization's full-season single-A affiliates (it used to be a player on a AA or AAA IL could be sent only to EXST or to a short-season affiliate for injury rehab), and a player on a Hi-A IL can be sent on an injury rehab assignment to the Lo-A affiliate (previously a player on an a Hi-A IL could only be sent to EXST or to a short-season affiliate for injury rehab).

Players on IL injury rehab assignments do not count against the active list roster limit of the affiliate to which the player is assigned (which has always been the case). However, no more than three minor league players can be on an injury rehab assignment with any one of the single-A affiliates at any one time.  

There is still no limit on the number of players on an MLB IL who can be assigned on an injury rehab with any one minor league affiliate (including AAA and AA). 

Also, players on the MLB active list roster in September can be optioned to a minor league affiliate only until the minor affiliate's season (including playoffs) has concluded. This was always the case, but it was never an issue before because MLB active list rosters always expanded from 25 to 40 on September 1st, so it was not necessary to remove players from a club's active list roster in September. But now that there is a 28-man Active List roster limit in September, players might have to be optioned to the minors in September to open up a slot on a club's 28-man active list roster.

So once no minor league affiliates are still playing games, a player can be optioned only to the MLB club's Minor League Spring Training facility (essentially its GCL or AZL affiliate), but players optioned to the Minor League Spring Training faciity in September will accrue MLB Service Time while on optional assignment.

Also, If a player who was on an MLB Active List and/or MLB inactive list(s) as of June 1st and remains on an MLB Active List and/or MLB inactive list(s) continuously up until being optioned, and then is optioned to the minors anytime during the period of time beginning on September 1st and extending through to the last day of the MLB regular season, the player accrues MLB Service Time while on Optional Assignment even if the player spends 20 or more days on Optional Assignment, if without the MLB Service Time accrued in September he would not be eligible for salary arbitration or to be an Article XX-B free-agent.

Ther is also a new inactive list called the "Developmental List." (Tyson Miller is presently on this list). 

With approval of the MLB Commissioner, a player on a minor league Domestic Reserve List can be placed on the Developmental List if the player is at a club-approved training facility (like Driveline, X2, Elite, etc) for the purpose(s) of conditioning and/or development, or if the player has been loaned to a club in another MLB organization, to a club in the Mexican League, or to a club in an independent MLB partner league
NOTE: There must first be an agreement in place between MLB and the partner league before players under control of MLB organizations can be loaned to a club in that league.   

A player on Optional Assignment from an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) can be placed onto the Developmental List of the minor league affiliate to which he has been optioned, but only with consent of the player.  

A player cannot be placed on the Developmental List for the purpose of injury rehabilitation or disciplinary action.

A player can be placed on the Developmental List only during his minor league club's regular season, the player must remain on the Developmental List for at least seven days, and the player must be reinstated from the Developmental List no later than the day after the conclusion of his minor league club's season (including post-season).

A player on the Developmental List counts against the in-season minor league 180-man Domestic Reserve List (or MLB 40-man roster if the player is on Optional Assignment), but he does not count against the minor league club's Active List roster.  

A player is paid by the MLB club while he is on the Developmental List.  

Drafted players can't be traded (as of now) until after the World Series. Does the same apply to international free agents? Seems a thing I should know, but I don't.

TIM: There is no restriction on trading international free-agents, so (for example) the Cubs could trade Cristian Hernandez right now (or even the day after they signed him) if they were so inclined.

The trade restriction only applies to players who were selected in that season's MLB Rule 4 Draft (First-Year Player Draft). It doesn't affect players who were eligible for selection but were not selected (non-drafted free-agents). 

Also, if a player selected in the Rule 4 Draft signs after the day after the final game of the World Series (like a college senior with no eligibility left, who can sign anytime up until a week prior to the next Rule 4 Draft), that player cannot be traded until 90 days after signing.  

Prior to last season, Rule 4 Competitive Balance Draft picks could be traded in advance of the draft (the window beginning on December 2nd and extending up until two hours prior to the start of the draft), although the pick could not be sold for cash, the pick itself could not be the PTBNL in a trade, and once traded the pick could not be flipped to a third team.

However, there is presently a moratorium on trading Competitive Balance picks that extends through the conclusion of the 2021 draft, so right now no draft picks may be traded. 

If the rules are changed in the next CBA to allow any and all Rule 4 draft picks to be traded, I would think that it will probably be like with Competitive Balance picks. They can be traded only within a certain window (TBD), the pick cannot be sold for cash, the pick itself cannot be the PTBNL in a trade, and once traded the pick cannot be flipped to a third club. 

Same goes if a separate "International Draft" is implemented, although the window for trading those draft picks would probably have to be completely different from the window for trading "Domestic Draft" picks, because the International draft would almost certainly happen sometime during the off-season. 

Someone on social media was floating Yoelqui Cespedes to the Cubs in a Bryant trade.

I was clueless if it was permitted. It is.

All this Keegan Thompson coverage makes me think of all those other pitchers drafted  by us during the same year. I know Little is a legit bullpen prospect and Abbott seems likely to see Chicago this year, but is there anyone else? Uelman, maybe? Hecht, Remy? Any of those guys have a chance at MLB?

Also interesting that 3 pitchers from that draft class have been traded for MLB assets at various points (Castellanos, Jesse Chavez, & Hamels)

a.lange has 3 walks and 5 wild pitches for DET.  that is some special cubbery.

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 2 hours 16 min ago (view)

    AGREED

     

  • SheffieldCornelia 3 hours 22 min ago (view)

    Hey all, just checking in to say that yesterday was a really sad but appreciative day in my household.  It is still completely mystifying that the Cubs couldn't find a way to extend Rizzo and Javy especially, and there's still some hope here that one or both guys can come back next year along with a Contreras extension.  While they were here, Rizzo, Javy and KB especially gave us so much as players and made the last half decade really special for Cubs fans.  Thanks guys.

    (Also, please let some of these prospects become the next Hendricks or Arrieta and not the next Mike Olt.)

     

  • Hagsag 4 hours 6 min ago (view)

    Pay Willy now please!

     

  • crunch 6 hours 57 min ago (view)

    mlb.com has already updated their "top 30" team prospect rankings post-trade deadline.  https://www.mlb.com/prospects/cubs/

    pete crow-armstrong #6 (mets)

    alexander canario #7 (giants)

    alexander vizcaino #8 (yanks)

    kevin alcantara #11 (yanks)

    caleb kilian #16 (giants)

    greg deichmann #20 (A's)

    i like caleb kilian more than the mlb.com ranking of #16.  if he manages to finish the season strong he should have no problem working his way into the top-10.

     

  • Arizona Phil 9 hours 3 min ago (view)

    Anderson Espinoza will get a 4th minor league option in 2023 and Alexander Canario will get a 4th minor league option in 2024 (if needed). 

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 12 hours 23 min ago (view)

    He looked really good. Rucker didn't look bad either

     

  • crunch 12 hours 35 min ago (view)

    m.rodriguez throws 1ip 0h 0bb 2k, 11 pitches

    hell of a debut.

    cubs lose.

     

  • crunch 13 hours 24 min ago (view)

    rizzo...

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E7lOOLcX0AUA8tK?format=jpg

    already hit his 1st yankee homer, btw.

     

  • crunch 13 hours 26 min ago (view)

    hey yo.  hopefully the offseason and going into 2022 will be worth whatever the hell this is that happened today.

     

  • Jace 13 hours 37 min ago (view)

    Hi, guys!

     

  • QuietMan 14 hours 17 min ago (view)

    Maybe after he's done pitching for Team USA at The Olympics.

     

  • Sonicwind75 14 hours 28 min ago (view)

    Maybe Cubs can counter by bringing Edwin Jackson back. 

     

  • crunch 14 hours 45 min ago (view)

    dbacks see the cubs making a serious tanking move and they have 5 players go on the COVID list.

    hell of a counter-play dbacks...good job.

     

  • crunch 15 hours 10 min ago (view)

    your new 2021 chicago cubs...day 1

    ortega / contreras / happ / wisdom / bote / heyward / duffy / alcantara / arrieta

    phew.

     

  • crunch 15 hours 12 min ago (view)

    woo!  go not-cubs!

    break out a list of 17 year old highschool kids and college sophmores to mull over for the next 10 months!

     

  • Jackstraw 15 hours 15 min ago (view)

    If that's the goal, nobody better than Arrieta 2.0 to get the campaign off on the right foot.