2022 MLB Rule 5 Draft Preview

12/7 UPDATE:

PLAYERS SELECTED BY CUBS IN MAJOR LEAGUE PHASE:
NONE

CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS SELECTED IN MAJOR LEAGUE PHASE:
Chris Clarke, RHP (selected by Seattle Mariners from AAA Iowa roster)
 
PLAYERS SELECTED BY CUBS IN AAA PHASE:
1. Jose Aquino, LHP (selected from Seattle Mariners ACL roster) 
2. Nick Burdi, RHP (selected from San Diego Padres AA San Antonio roster) 
3. Jefferson Encarnacion, OF (selected from Philadelphia Phillies Lo-A Clearwater roster)  

CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS SELECTED IN AAA PHASE:
1. Bryan King, LHP (selected by Houston Astros from AA Tennessee roster)
2. Luis Angel Rodriguez, LHP (selected by Houston Astros from Lo-A Myrtle Beach roster)



12/6 UPDATE:

As expected. the Cubs have signed LHP Brailyn Marquez to a 2023 minor league contract. He had been non-tendered on 11/18. 

Marquez will be eligible for selection in tomorrow's Rule 5 Draft, so he almost certainly has been placed on the AAA Iowa reserve list such that he will be eligible for selection in the Major League Phase only ($100,000 draft price and potentially a right to re-claim if selected, versus $24,000 draft price with no right to reclaim if he is not on the Iowa reserve list and is selected in the AAA Phase). 

With the Marquez signing, 76 Cubs minor leaguers are now eligible for selection in tomorrow's Rule 5 Draft (see full list below).  

 



11/15 UPDATE

The Cubs have selected the contracts of OF Brennen Davis from AAA Iowa, RHP Ben Brown and RHP Ryan Jensen from AA Tennessee, and OF Kevin Alcantara from Lo-A Myrtle Beach, and they have been added to the MLB Reserve List (40-man roster). 

In addition to adding four Rule 5 Draft-eligible minor league players to the 40, the Cubs have also acquired INF-OF Miles Mastrobuoni from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor league RHP Alfredo Zarraga.

By adding the four minor leaguers to the MLB 40-man roster and  acquiring Mastrobuoni in a trade, there are now 39 players assigned to the Cubs MLB Reserve List (one slot is open). 

MLB contract tender day is this coming Friday (11/18), so additional players may be dropped from the 40 at that time by way of a non-tender. 

 



11/11 UPDATE:

The Cubs have sent INF Esteban Quiroz and INF-OF Jared Young outright to AAA Iowa. They do not have the right to elect free-agency after being outrighted. Both will be available for selection in the Rule 5 Draft next month.

Since they were not claimed off waivers for $50,000, it is almost a certainty that Quiroz and Young will not get claimed in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft for $100,000 (plus inconvenient roster restrictions), but if left off the AAA Iowa roster when minor league reserve lists are filed with the MLB Commissioner next Tuesday, they would be good candidates to get selected in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft for $24,000 with no roster restrictions. So there is a possibility that  even though they were outrighted off the MLB 40-man roster, Young (fairly likely) and Quiroz (somewhat less likely but still possible) will be assigned to the AAA Iowa reserve list next Tuesday so that they will only be available for selection in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft ($100,000 draft price plus roster restrictions). 
 


RULE 5 DRAFT 

The MLB Rule 5 Draft is normally held at the MLB Winter Meetings in December. 
NOTE-1: The 2022 MLB Rule 5 Draft will be held on December 7, 2022. 
NOTE-2: The Major League Phase of the 2021 MLB Rule 5 Draft was cancelled 

It is a mechanism that allows MLB clubs to select (draft) players off minor league reserve lists.

There is a "Major League Phase" where an MLB club can select Rule 5 Draft-eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs (any minor league classification) for $100,000 ("Major League Phase" Rule 5 Draft price increased from $50,000 to $100,000 beginning with the December 2016 draft), and a "AAA Phase" where a club's AAA minor league affiliate can select Rule 5 Draft-eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs of a lower classification (below AAA) for $24,000 (Rule 5 "AAA Phase" draft price increased from $12,000 to $24,000 beginning with the December 2016 draft).
NOTE: Effective December 2016, the "AA Phase" (where a club's AA minor league affiliate could select Rule 5 Draft-eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs of a classification below AA for $4,000) has been eliminated.

There is no limit on the number of rounds in each phase (there could be one, there could be three, there could be five or more). As long as at least one club is still selecting players, the phase will continue, but as soon as all 30 teams have a full reserve list (so that clubs can no longer make selections) or have passed, the phase is over.

There is no limit on the number of Rule 5 Draft-eligible players any one organization can lose in a Rule 5 Draft.

Rule 5 Draft order is based upon the inverse order of winning percentages from the previous season. If the winning percentages of two or more clubs are the same, the club with the lowest winning percentage from the previous season picks first. If two or more clubs are still tied, league standings from two years back (or three years back, four years back, etc) are used to break the tie.
NOTE: The Cubs will have the #7 slot in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft.

RULE 5 DRAFT ELIGIBILITY

1. A minor league player who was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract is eligible for selection starting with 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.

2. If a player signs his first contract after the conclusion of the season of the MLB or minor league club to which he is first assigned (even if he signs prior to the Rule 5 Draft), the next season is considered to be the player's "first qualified season" for Rule 5 eligibility purposes. (Depending on the minor league, the conclusion of a minor league club's season could be as early as the first week of August, or as late as the second week of September).

3. A player eligible to be an MLB Rule 9 minor league free-agent who signs a minor league successor contract prior to being declared a free-agent and a free-agent with prior MLB and/or minor league service who signs a minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft is eligible for selection 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 since he signed his first contract, or the player was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 4th Rule 5 Draft since he signed his first contract.

4. Any player on a minor league reserve list who has either been released or had his contract voided and then re-signs with the same MLB organization within one year is eligible for selection.

5. Any player on a minor league reserve list who has been outrighted to the minors previously in his career is eligible for selection.

6. A player on the Voluntary Retired List, Disqualified List, or Ineligible List is not eligible for selection.

7. An MLB club can designate any player on a minor league reserve list "eligible for selection" in a Rule 5 Draft even if the player would not normally be eligible, but once a player is designated "eligible for selection," he remains eligible for selection in all subsequent Rule 5 drafts.
NOTE: A club might do this if the club is planning to release the player during the off-season. 

8. A minor league player-manager who would be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft if he was only a player can be selected, but if he is selected, the player-manager can reject the selection and retire. He has 30 days to decide. If he rejects the selection and opts to retire as a player, the player-manager is ineligible to be reinstated as a player for a minimum of one year.  

At present, 76 Cubs minor leaguers are eligible for selection in the 2022 Rule 5 draft. A maximum of 38 players can be placed on the AAA reserve list on the reserve list roster filing deadline in November and be eligible for selection in the Major League Phase only, and in practice most clubs leave three or more slots open on their AAA reserve list when rosters are filed for free-agents who sign a minor league contract and players who are sent outright to AAA prior the Rule 5 Draft, and to provide AAA roster slots for players who might be selected in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft.

NOTE: If not added to the MLB 40-man roster on 11/15, the players underlined and in bold below will likely be placed on the 38-man AAA Iowa reserve list so that they will be eligible for selection only in the Major League Phase of the 2022 Rule 5 Draft.

CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS ELIGIBLE FOR SELECTION IN 2022 RULE 5 DRAFT (last updated 12-6-2022):
Pablo Aliendo, C 
Elian Almanzar, RHP
Michael Arias, RHP (second contract player signed for 2023)
D. J. Artis, OF
Bryce Ball, 1B
Hunter Bigge, RHP
Andres Bonalde, LHP (on RESTRICTED LIST)
David Bote, INF (Article XX-D player - sent outright to minors on 11/10)
Craig Brooks, RHP (on RESTRICTED LIST)
Jesus Camargo, RHP (on RESTRICTED LIST)
Derek Casey, RHP
Chris Clarke, RHP
Danis Correa, RHP
Yovanny Cruz, RHP
Zach Davis, OF (signed 2023 minor league successor contract) 
Bradford Deppermann, RHP
Christian Donahue, INF 
Luis Devers, RHP
Manuel Espinoza, RHP 
Miguel Fabrizio, C-1B
Kohl Franklin, RHP
Richard Gallardo, RHP
Reivaj Garcia, INF
Stephen Gonsalves, LHP (Article XX-D player - signed 2023 minor league successor contract) 
Saul Gonzalez, RHP  
Stanley Guzman, RHP (second contract player signed for 2023)
Ben Hecht, RHP 
Darius Hill, OF
Josue Huma, INF
Kyle Johnson, RHP (second contract player signed for 2023) 
Levi Jordan, INF
Chris Kachmar, RHP
Bryan King, LHP
Caleb Knight, C
Trey Lang, RHP (reinstated from Voluntary Retired List on 11/1)
Adam Laskey, LHP 
Brendon Little, LHP
Joel Machado, LHP
Nelson Maldonado, 1B
Brailyn Marquez, LHP (non-tendered player re-signed to 2023 minor league contract)
Luis Marte, RHP
Michael McAvene, RHP
Juan Mora, INF
Rafael Morel, INF 
Abel Moya, RHP (second contract player signed for 2023) 
Joe Nahas, RHP   
Eduarniel Nunez, RHP 
Miguel Pabon, INF-C
Ezequiel Pagan, OF
Jack Patterson, LHP 
Yonathan Perlaza, OF (signed 2023 minor league successor contract) 
Fabian Pertuz, INF
Yohendrick Pinango, OF
Malcom Quintero, C
Esteban Quiroz, INF 
Jake Reindl, RHP 
Peyton Remy, RHP
Samuel Reyes, RHP
Luis Angel Rodriguez, LHP 
Cole Roederer, OF
Cam Sanders, RHP
Yeison Santana, INF
Jake Slaughter, INF
Dalton Stambaugh, LHP (second contract player signed for 2023) 
Chase Strumpf, INF
Tim Susnara, C (second contract player signed for 2023) 
Riley Thompson, RHP
Cayne Ueckert, RHP
Didier Vargas, LHP
Luis Vazquez, INF  
Luis Verdugo, INF
Jake Washer, C 
Andy Weber, INF 
Blake Whitney, RHP
Bryce Windham, C-INF
Jared Young, INF-OF

Additionally, a free-agent who signs a 2023 minor league contract prior to the 2022 Rule 5 Draft will be eligible for selection 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.

 



RULE 5 DRAFTS PAST 

Among the more-notable players selected by the Cubs in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft over the years are OF Hack Wilson (selected from New York Giants in 1925), C Bob Scheffing (selected from the St. Louis Cardinals in 1940), RHP Johnny Klippstein (selected frrom Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949), RHP Turk Lown (selected from Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951), OF Jim King (selected from the St. Louis Cardinals in 1954), INF Johnny Goryl (selected from the Baltimore Orioles in 1955), OF Monte Irvin (selected from the New York Giants in 1955), C Cal Neeman (selected from the New York Giants in 1956), 2B Tony Taylor (selected from the San Francisco Giants in 1957), SS Jose Arcia and C Bill Plummer (both selected from the St. Louis Cardinals in 1967), OF Cleo James (selected from the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1969), LHP Willie Hernandez (selected from the Philadelphia Phillies in 1976), C Jody Davis (selected from the St. Louis Cardinals in 1980), RHP Rodney Myers (selected from the Kansas City Royals in 1995), OF Josh Hamilton (selected from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and then traded to the Cincinnati Reds in a pre-arranged deal immediately after the draft concluded in 2006), RHP Hector Rondon (selected from the Cleveland Indians in 2012), and RHP Trevor Megill (selected from the San Diego Padres in 2019), and probably the most-notable Cubs minor leaguers lost in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft are 2B Eddie Mayo (selected by the Philadelphia Athletics in 1942), INF Billy Klaus (selected by the Boston Braves in 1949), RHP Billy Muffett (selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1955), OF Jason Dubois (selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2002 but then later re-claimed by Cubs), LHP Andy Sisco (selected by the Kansas City Royals in 2004), RHP Randy Wells (selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2007 but then later re-claimed by the Cubs), LHP Donnie Veal (selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008), INF Ryan Flaherty (selected by the Baltimore Orioles in 2011), INF-OF Marwin Gonzalez (selected by the Boston Red Sox and then traded to the Houston Astros immediately after the draft concluded in 2011), RHP Michael Rucker (selected by the Baltimore Orioles in 2019 but then later re-claimed by the Cubs), and INF Vimael Machin (selected by the Philadelphia Phillies and then traded to the Oakland A's immediately after the draft concluded in 2019). 
NOTEHack Wilson and Monte Irvin, (both selected by the Cubs - see above) and RF Roberto Clemente (selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1954 Rule 5 Draft) are the only members of the Baseball Hall of Fame who were selected in a Rule 5 Draft.

The Cubs have actually lost many more players in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft (most-notably 1B Justin Bour, who was selected by the Miami Marlins from the Cubs AA Tennessee affiliate in 2013) than they have in the Major League Phase over the past few years, a testament to the depth of their farm system. They are likely to lose a few more players in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft this year as well.

The most-notable players selected by the Cubs in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft over the years are C Vic Roznovsky (selected by the Cubs from the San Francisco Giants AA El Paso affiliate in 1963), C Chris Krug (selected by the Cubs from the St. Louis Cardinals AA Tulsa affiliate in 1964), OF Brock Davis (selected by the Cubs from the Houston Astros AA Dallas-Ft. Worth affiliate in 1968), RHP Heathcliff Slocumb (selected by the Cubs from the New York Mets Little Falls affiliate in the NYP league in 1986), and OF Roosevelt Brown (selected by the Cubs from the Florida Marlins AA Portland affiliate in 1997).    


RULE 5 DRAFT RESTRICTIONS:

1. A minor league player eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft cannot be added to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), traded to another organization, or transferred from one minor league reserve list to another within the same organization, beginning with the filing of MLB minor league reserve lists and extending through the completion of the Rule 5 Draft.

2. A Rule 5 Draft-eligible player cannot be sent outright to the minors beginning at 5 PM (Eastern) on the third day prior to the Rule 5 Draft through the conclusion of the draft.

3. A club must have as many slots open on its MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) prior to the start of the Rule 5 Draft as the number of players it selects in the Major League Phase, and an MLB club's AAA affiliate must have as many slots open on its reserve list prior to the start of the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft as the number of players the affiliate selects in the AAA Phase. 

4. A club can select a player off the reserve list of one of its own minor league affiliates, but if the player is selected in the Major League Phase, the club is bound by the same Rule 5 roster restrictions as if it had selected the player off the reserve list of another club's minor league affiliate.
NOTE: This actually happened at least once a number of years ago, after a club (Atlanta Braves) inadvertently left one of its top prospects off its MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) when minor league reserve lists were submitted to the MLB Commissioner on November 20th.

5. A player eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft cannot be "covered up" from selection, either by agreement between two clubs or by effect (such as by concocting a phony injury and placing the player on an Injured List in an attempt to decrease a player's value when the player is not really injured). Also, a player selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft cannot be "hidden" on an Injured List to help the drafting club fulfill Rule 5 roster obligations (such as by leaving the player on the Injured List after he is healthy enough to play). If the MLB Commissioner believes a club "covered up" a player to avoid losing the player in the Rule Draft or "hid" a selected player on an Injured List, the offending club or clubs are subject to a penalty (TBD by the MLB Commissioner).

MLB RULE 5 SELECTED PLAYER

A "Selected Player" is any player selected in the Major League Phase of the MLB Rule 5 Draft. 

MLB RULE 5 SELECTED PLAYERS ON CUBS MLB RESERVE LIST (updated 3-12-2020):
NONE AT THIS TIME

CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS SELECTED IN MAJOR LEAGUE PHASE OF 2021 RULE 5 DRAFT (updated 3-6-2020)
NONE  
NOTE: The Major League Phase of the 2021 MLB Rule 5 Draft was cancelled 

1. A Selected Player must be placed on the drafting club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) immediately after selection and must be tendered a major league contract by 5 PM (Eastern) on the day of the draft. 

2. A Selected Player can be traded at any time, but the player cannot be Designated for Assignment, released, or sent to the minors any earlier than 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day, and then only if Outright Assignment Waivers have been secured and the player's former club declines to reclaim the player.

3. If a Selected Player spends at least 90 days on an MLB Active List during the MLB regular season following selection, the player ceases to be a "Selected Player" at the conclusion of the MLB regular season. If time spent on an MLB Active List is less than 90 days in the season following selection, the player remains a Rule 5 Selected Player into the next season, and the player continues to be a Selected Player until he has spent 90 days total on an MLB Active List.

4. If a club wishes to send a Selected Player to the minors, the player must be placed on Outright Assignment Waivers, where any of the other 29 MLB clubs can claim the player for the $50,000 Rule 5 waiver price (formerly $25,000), and if claimed off waivers, the player continues to have Rule 5 MLB Selected Player status.

5. If the Selected Player is not claimed off Outright Assignment Waivers, the player then must be offered back to the club from which he was drafted, and the player's former club can re-claim the player for $50,000 (formerly $25,000), with the player being automatically outrighted to the Reserve List of the minor league reserve list from which he was drafted. The club from which the player was drafted usually has 72 hours to decide whether to re-claim the player, but it has only 24 hours to decide if the player is eligible to be an Article XX-D or Article XIX-A minor league free-agent if outrighted to the minors (player has accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time, qualifies for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" player, and/or has been outrighted to the minors previously in his career).
NOTE: A Selected Player with Article XIX-A rights (player has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time) cannot be re-claimed and outrighted back to the minor league club from which he was drafted unless the player consents in advance to the assignment.

6. If a Selected Player is returned (outrighted) to the minor league club from which he was drafted, and if the player has accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time, qualifies for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" player, and/or has been outrighted to the minors previously in his career, the player can elect to be an MLB Article XX-D minor league free-agent (or Article XIX-A minor league free-agent if the player has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time) after being outrighted (he has three days to decide), or he can accept the Outright Assignment and defer the right to be a minor league free-agent until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season.   

7. If a Selected Player is returned (outrighted) to the minor league club from which he was drafted, the drafting club is responsible for any portion of the player's salary above what the player was actually paid the previous season.

8. If the club from which the Selected Player was drafted declines to re-claim the player, the player no longer has Rule 5 Selected Player status, the drafting club retains the player, and the player can be sent to the minors or released.

9. A player selected in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft must be immediately assigned to the reserve list of the AAA club that drafted the player and he must be given a 15-day trial during Spring Training with that club, but the player can be assigned to the active list of any minor league affiliate in the MLB club's organization once the minor league regular season commences. NOTE: Unlike players selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, a player selected in the AAA Phase does not have to be offered back to the club from which he was drafted if the player is ultimately assigned to the active list of a minor league affiliate below AAA.

Comments

"Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Cubs have been among the most active teams on the free agent market as they're looking for an upgrade at shortstop."

the jason heyward era has officially ended.

it cost about 300K per hit (or 207K per hit+walk if you're into advanced money wasting stats).

With today's release of Jason Heyward, the Cubs presently have six slots open on their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster). Other players could be still dropped from the 40 via trade, outright assignment, release, or DFA prior to tomorrow's reserve list filing deadline, but right now six slots are open on the 40 for Rule 5 Draft eligible minor leaguers who the Cubs might wish to protect from selection in the next month's Rule 5 Draft. 

Other players on the 40 will likely be non-tendered this coming Friday (11/18), and that will open up additional slots on the 40 for waiver claims, MLB free agents, and/or a player or players selected by the Cubs in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft. 

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

As for for who the six players the Cubs will add to the 40 tomorrow will be, it probably would be useful to consider the twelve players the Cubs invited to their special minor league mini-camp at Wrigley Field the last weekend of September: 

RHP Ben Brown, Ryan Jensen, Ben Leeper, and Daniel Palencia, LHP D. J. Herz, and Jordan Wicks, 1B Matt Mervis, 2B-3B Chase Strumpf, and OF Brennen Davis, Darius Hill, Yonathan Perlaza, and Yohendrick Pinango.  

Perlaza was eligible to be a Rule 9 minor league 6YFA post-2022, so he would not have been invited if he had not signed a 2023 minor league successor contract. And in fact we now know he did sign a successor contract. And just because he signed a minor league successor contract doesn't mean Perlaza won't get added to the 40 tomorrow, because the Cubs have done that before.  

Of the twelve players on the list of minor league invitees to the mini camp, seven (B. Brown, Jensen, Strumpf, B. Davis, Hill, Perlaza, and Pinango) are Rule 5 Draft eligible. (Top 5 prospect OF Kevin Alcantara is also Rule 5 Draft eligible, but unlike the others he has not yet played above Lo-A, and he was at AZ Instructs at the time of the mini-camp, so that might be why he wasn't invited).  

So will the six minor leaguers added to the 40 tomorrow come from the list of invitees to the Cubs September mini-camp at Wrigley Field? And what about Kevin Alcantara? We'll see. 

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In reply to by crunch

CRUNCH: Herz, Leeper, Palencia, Wicks, and Mervis are the five minor leaguers invited to the mini-camp at Wrigley Field in September who are not Rule 5 Draft eligible this year, although all five of them are good candidates to end up in Wrigley Field sometime next season. 

The other seven invited to the mini-camp (B. Brown, B. Davis, Hill, Jensen, Perlaza, Pinango, and Strumpf) are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft next month, and I was opining that inviting them to the mini-camp MIGHT perhaps be an indication that the Cubs are intending to add most (if not all) of the seven to the 40 tomorrow (Tuesday). 

Also, with ACL Cubs RHP Anthony Martinez having been released and INF Esteban Quiroz and INF-OF Jared Young having been sent outright to AAA Iowa last Friday, there are now 170 players on the Cubs minor league Domestic Reserve List (twenty slots are open). 

I just wanted to share my Rule 5 thoughts prior to rosters being announced today. This is what I would do, not necessarily what the Cubs will do:

40-man major league roster: (ONE spot open)

  • Pitchers: [KEEP] Alzolay, Assad, Estrada, Hendricks, Heuer, Hughes, Kilian, Leiter Jr., Roberts, Rodriguez, Rucker, Sampson, Steele, Stroman, Thompson, Uelmen, Wesneski [ADD] Brown, Correa, Jensen, Devers. [DROP] Wick, Vizcaino, Marquez
  • Catchers: [KEEP] Gomes, Higgins, Amaya
  • Infielders: [KEEP] Hoerner, Madrigal, McKinstry, Rivas, Wisdom [ADD] Slaughter
  • Outfielders: [KEEP] Canario, Happ, Morel, Suzuki, Velazquez [ADD] Davis, Alcantara, Perlaza, Hill [DROP] Ortega

38-man AAA roster: (THREE spots open)

  • Pitchers: Cam Sanders, Richard Gallardo, Kohl Franklin, Saúl González, Riley Thompson, Didier Vargas, Michael McAvene, Chris Clarke, Luis Ángel Rodríguez, Joe Nahas, Blake Whitney, Brendon Little, Jake Reindl, Adam Laskey, Yovanny Cruz, Manuel Espinoza, Eduarniel Nunez, Hunter Bigge
  • Catchers: Pablo Aliendo, Bryce Windham
  • Infielders: Chase Strumpf, Bryce Ball, Nelson Maldonado, Yeison Santana, Fabian Pertuz, Levi Jordan, Andy Weber, Juan Mora, Luis Vazquez, Josue Huma, Rafael Morel, Esteban Quiroz
  • Outfielders: Yohendrick Piñango, Ezequiel Pagan, Cole Roederer

cubs have traded who for what?

"Cubs acquired INF/OF Miles Mastrobuoni from the Rays for RHP Alfredo Zárraga."

hope this is a mckinstry replacement rather than carrying both of these guys.

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In reply to by crunch

Miles Mastrobuoni is the younger brother of former Cubs minor league catcher Marcus Mastrobuoni (AKA "Bone"). 

I had a chance to talk with their mom a few years ago on the Cubs backfields during Spring Training, and she told me how Marcus and Miles were two years apart, and so they usually did not play on the same team and in the same league. So she spent a LOT of time driving the two boys back & forth from home or school to their respective practices and games.

And then both Marcus and Miles ended up playing college baseball-- Marcus at Cal State Stanislaus and Miles at Nevada, and both ended up getting drafted and signed by MLB organizations (Marcus by the Cubs, and Miles by the Rays), possibly none of which would have happened if not for their mom! 

after seeing a september full of mckinstry, i'll take masterboney as a replacement solely on him not being mckinstry.

mckinstry got a big chance and didn't get it done...yes, short sample, but he got pretty much all of september to audition as a near everyday player.  this team doesn't need mckinstry, masterb, and bote all on the bench looking for playing time.

mets not protecting future cub jake mangum...or at least they could use a guy like him off the bench playing OF (very well, all 3 slots).  cubs and CF will be an issue beyond who's actually starting there.

Phil, what's the story with Alexander Vizcaino?  You show the 40-man roster at 39, but the Cubs themselves are reporting that it's at 38.  Is the Restricted List "open and active" during the offseason?  Might Vizcaino still be on that list?  Could that explain the apparent discrepancy?

rylan bannon selected off waivers from the braves.

4th team in 2022....dodgers, orioles, braves, cubs.

toss another 3rd/2nd on the pile. cubs trying to corner the market on them.

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In reply to by crunch

CRUNCH: It's very possible that the Cubs will place Bannon back on waivers (although they have to wait at least seven days before he can be placed back onto waivers). Also,  there are no restrictions on outrighting Bannon (he is not a Draft-Excluded Player, he does not have the right to elect free-agency if outrighted, and he is not an MLB Rule 9 player so he can be outrighted without having signed a 2023 contract). And if he gets claimed by another club, so what? You lose $50,000 making the claim, you get it back if he gets claimed.

dodgers are supposedly in on aaron judge.

meanwhile the cubs are heavily linked to a guy the dodgers don't think is worth paying, cody bellinger.

The Cubs have non-tendered OF Rafael Ortega, LHP Brailyn Marquez, and RHP Alexander Vizcaino. 

A non-tender is a way to get a player off the 40 without exposing the player to waivers. It's the only day of the year when that can be done. 

It's very possible that the Cubs will re-sign Ortega, Marquez, and/or Vizcaino to a 2023 minor league contract. The player doesn't have to sign, but it's a fairly common tactic to non-tender a player to get him off the 40 (without having to risk losing him off waivers), and then re-sign him to a minor league contract with a salary as high or even higher than what he would have received if he had remained on the 40. 

In the case of Ortega, he was eligible for arbitration as a "Super Two," and a non-tender allows the Cubs to avoid salary arbitration with him while at the same time potentially re-signing him to a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training (and maybe an opt-out if he doesn't make the Opening Day Cubs 26-man roster).

Again, a non-tendered player doesn't always consent to signing a minor league contract, but it's also not that unusual if he does. 

BTW, I expected the Cubs to non-tender Zach McKinstry and Mark Leiter Jr, too, because they are both out of minor league options in 2023 and therefore are not fungible (shuttle) guys anymore, but I suspect in both cases the Cubs were probably told that the player would not agree to sign a minor league contract (at least not with the Cubs) if the get non-tendered. 

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

Still should have cut Leiter, I think. Between the MLB depth, near MLB ready depth, and the usual slate of reclamation RP, Leiter is extremely replaceable.

Not that McKinstry isn’t, but LH hitting utility player isn’t quite the some organizational strength as RHRP (Mastrobuoni not withstanding).

[ ]

In reply to by bradsbeard

BRADSBEARD: The problem with Mark Leiter Jr (and this is also true of Zach McKinstry, as well) is that he will be out of minor league options in 2023, which will have a potentially deleterious effect on roster flexibility coming out of Spring Training. 

Ideally, the Cubs would have non-tendered Leiter and McKinstry and then signed them to 2023 minor league contracts (but for big league money), so that if they have good Springs but there is a roster jam at the end of Spring Training, the Cubs would be able to send Leiter and/or McKinstry to AAA without having to risk them getting claimed off waivers.

Also, Leiter has the right to elect free-agency if he gets outrighted, which is probably why he wasn't among the batch of Cubs players who were outrighted after the World Series. 

Obviously the Cubs do not want to lose either Leiter or McKinstry. At least not right now

Phil, can you explain why players who were designated for assignment earlier in the week (most of them before the reserve list deadline) were non-tendered today? Wouldn't the DFA have freed the teams of having to tender them a contract?

[ ]

In reply to by jdrnym

jdrnym: Just a refresher...

A club has the following options with respect to a player who has been Designated for Assignment: 

Within seven days, the player must be either

1) Traded (the club can wait the full seven days to make a trade); 

2) Sent outright to the minors (but Outright Assignment Waivers must be requested early enough so that the waivers can be secured and the outright assignment can occur within the seven day DFA period);

3) Released (Outright Release Waivers can be requested on the seventh day of the DFA as long as the seventh day is an MLB "business day"),

or

4) Non-tendered (which is only one day a year -- previously it was 12/2, but beginning with the new CBA the MLB contract tender day is now the Friday prior to Thanksgiving). 

The reason a club would prefer to non-tender a player rather than try and outright the player to the minors or release him (as long as the contract tender date is within the seven day DFA period ) is because the player might get claimed if he is placed onto Outright Assignment Waivers (which in some cases might be OK with the club because maybe the club doesn't value the player enough to care about losing him, but not if the club does not want to risk losing the player off waivers), or if a player is given his Outright Release he could get claimed for $1 (although all players regardless of  class or service time have to right to decline an outright release waiver claim), and even if he is not claimed, he cannot be added back to the 40 until May 15th. 

So a non-tender is the absolute best way to remove a player from the 40 or dispose of a designated player - IF - the club does not want to risk losing the player off waivers and/or does not want to release the player where the player could get claimed off release waivers for $1, or even if the player is not claimed off release waivers, the club would have to wait until May 15th to add the player back to the 40. 

Prior to 2022 the contract tender deadline (normally 12/2) was almost two weeks after the reserve list filing deadline, (normally 11/20) so it wasn't possible to DFA a player to clear a roster slot for a Rule 5 Draft-eligible player on 11/20 and then non-tender the designated player on 12/2, because the seven day DFA period would have already expired.

But with the reserve list filing deadline now just three days prior to contract tender day, it is now possible to DFA a player to open up a slot on the 40 on the reserve list filing day and then non-tender him within seven days. That was not possible before.  

Just a quick reminder on how contract tender day works... 

Each MLB club must submit the names of all unsigned players on the club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) to the MLB Labor Relations Department (LRD) prior to 8 PM (Eastern). The club must designate which of the players on the list are being tendered a contract for the next season, and which players are not being tendered.    

The LRD then transmits the master contract tender list to the MLBPA at 8 PM (Eastern). The MLBPA is then responsible for notifying each unsigned player whether he is being tendered a contract or not. 

So the club doesn't have any contact with the unsigned player. It's all done with middle-men (the MLB LRD and the MLBPA). 

Also, clubs do - NOT - offer salary arbitration to unsigned arbitration-eligible players who are tendered contracts. The player is the one who requests salary arbitration, and it doesn't happen until the second week in January, and then only if the club and the player have not agreed on a salary for the next season by that time. Clubs - NEVER - request salary arbitration. 

Thanks Phil. Certainly explains Marquez move as well as others.

I expect Leiter and McKinstry won’t survive the winter. As the winter progresses, rosters get tighter and waivers generally get easier.

re: Ian Happ's Glove o' Gold -

Can anybody give me a brief summary/analysis of what changed this year with IH's fielding?

I didn't spring for the MLBtv package this season so I saw more highlights than full game footage. Beyond the flashy plays, any sense of what was different/better?

[ ]

In reply to by First.Pitch.120

i have no idea what he was working on, but watching happ play LF was a masterclass (especially at Wrigley).

warning track, outfield wall, walls down the line...it's like every step was committed to memory and he got there with near perfect timing, even on stuff he jumped/leaped for.  i'm only in my mid-40s, but I've never seen anyone play LF in Wrigley as well as happ did last year.

he's always had a good glove and if he gets to the ball he generally snags it, but wow...he really set himself up to get to the ball in 2022.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

I don't know that a ton changed. He was always a pretty good OF (even in CF). He just runs funny so people assumed he was bad. I'm not even joking. I think a big part of the perception of improvement is he was being compared to other LF rather than to CF. He was statistically just as good last year in LF going by the Statcast measurements. But I do think focusing solely on LF helped a bit with consistency. He seemed really comfortable playing balls in the well and corner and against the side wall. 

yeesh...

morgan "caught on camera racist" wallen is playing wrigley field next year.

good job there, guys.  great look.   get that money.  nice look for 2023.

 

he appoligized and all that, but yeah, now he gets to use wrigley field in the middle of a baseball season as a platform for his 1st major tour since that, uh, incident.  dude wasn't an edgy 15 year old just learning to navigate the world...

[ ]

In reply to by Ryno

it's part of the concert things they've been cramming into wrigley when they're doing away games.

some other teams/parks are hosting him in 2023, too.

i guess they think a couple years between "the video" takes off the heat, but why even wade into that when it's totally not required unless you sign up for it?  it's a needless thing to prop up under the cubs/wrigley brand.

[ ]

In reply to by DavidP

"As Morgan appears to stumble toward his house, he tells someone to watch over a guy in his group. He says ... "take care of this "p****-ass mother******" -- and then goes on to say, "take care of this p****-ass n*****" ... before finally heading in."

 

It was playful, and to friends, and not in anger...but yeah, it came out of his mouth with the type of comfort that you know it's not his first time throwing it around.

i just don't know why they'd offer up Wrigley for this.  this seems to be an easy "no thanks, we'll pass" type of situation.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

I have never heard of the guy, and don't know what kind of player he is, but avoiding adding him to the team because of comments like this, is as stupid as avoidng him because of his political beliefs.  As far as the average fan is concerned, very few would ever hear of this kind of thing, and most of tose wouldn't care in the least.

As long as he is a good player and a good team mate, he would help the team and should be welcomed.

And it certainly is a sliding scale.  The better his performance on the field, the less the fans would care about off field actions.  If Ty Cobb was in his prime, and signed with the team, he would be welcomed by 99 percent of the fans, including myself.  And he was one of the most disgusting persons ever to play the game.

[ ]

In reply to by DavidP

he's a country music singer.

this is about hosting an in-season concert at Wrigley field.

this is a totally needless move and it's not like they need to beg for someone to play Wrigley field in their concert tour for the extra cash.

this isn't like the pros/cons of adding Brandon Nimmo in CF because he decided to donate money to Trump to throw democracy out the window to own the libs...or whatever Trump fans want him to do so he can be dictator.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

That will teach me to actually read a post before commenting on it.  Never having heard of the guy, I assumed that he was a free agent that should not be signed because of past comments.  I apologize for the mistake.

 

But this is even more egregious.  To hold a baseball team accountable for the past comments of a musical performer because of alleged racist comments he made years ago, is just ludicrous.  One of the most popular music groups of my day was the Mamas and the Pappas, who performed some of the best music of their day.  And individually and as a group, they were among the most disgusting humans of their time, among other things, giving their 10 year old daughter drugs at their parties, causing her a lifetime of drug addiction.  Should I hold every concert venue that rented them concert space (including the Dodgers), every television station that gave them a platform (including NPR) and every fan that til this day hums along with "california Dreaming", (including myself)?

 

I hope that the Cubs are more sensible than to pay attention to complaintss such as this.

[ ]

In reply to by DavidP

Not directed at DavidP individually, but offered as some free floating thoughts...

 

I think it's a classic "both/and" or "know it when I see it" type situation. 

 

It's absolutely appropriate & effective to hold orgs, venues, etc. accountable for the business associations they have.  It's also appropriate to wonder about how asking orgs to break those ties impacts free-speech, discourse, and/or opportunities for performers that are marginalized for other reasons (race, gender, etc.).

 

It's absolutely appropriate to find some art/entertainment a non-starter for you b/c of the artists actions.  We all have them...  And it's also appropriate to make individual choices about what we put into historical / situational context  and about how we separate art from artists.  I certainly don't endorse every view of every comedian in my collection of albums... so I must be able to separate art/artist sometimes. But it's also true that I straight up deleted Bill Cosby's albums b/c I just couldn't... but I still really like some Michael Jackson songs & don't know how I feel about that.

 

It's absolutely appropriate & necessary to hold people to account for comments they make in the past. And it's also absolutely appropriate & necessary to allow space for people to make mistakes and then grow, learn, change, apologize, & perhaps make amends.

 

For me, I think that the important process is understanding that these are all ill-structured problems where multiple things can be true at the same time.  Sitting in that tension is the key.  We seek certainty & clarity about should/shouldn't but the reality is there is only a hugely messy & slippery process of meaning-making that happens every minute of every day for every person.  

 

Does this mean we throw up our hands & anything goes? No.  For me, I still get angry (even furious) about some things & will fight so hard against them. But it centers that energy in a way that has compassion for others b/c I realize that at the end of the day everybody is trudging through the same meaning-making mud. 

[ ]

In reply to by First.Pitch.120

I also appreciate your thoughts.  I would add a couple of my own.

First, it is one thing to refuse to support someone you disagree with, for whatever reason.  That is something we all should do.  But it is another thing to try to attack someone for mere association with someone you disagree with, and to actively try to destroy them.

The Cosby issue is a great example.  From all reports, he was a scumbag.  And for that reason, I do not watch reruns of his show, which was one of the best ever on television.  But I think it is wrong, for instance, to actively work to punish any TV station that wishes to have it in their programming.  If for no other reason that every actor that ever was in the series gets residual payments that, to many of them, are important to keep themselves fed.  None are responsible for what Cosby may have done, and should not be punished in a vain attempt to punish Cosby, who will never notice the lack of residual payments.

No one should ever been punished merely for associating with someone else.  Punishing the musician for what you consider his misdeeds also punishes every person who works for him, listens to his music, or works in association with him, none of whom is necessarily racist.

Some hot stove ramblings for the Cubs non SS free agent options. 
Jordan Bastian from mlb.com discussing 1B options like Josh Bell, Yuli Gurriel, Brandon Drury, Trey Mancini , Wil Myers and Luke Voit. (Will post a link but it’s not working at this time). 

CLE gets josh bell 2/33m...another 1st option off the table.

brandon belt still out there as a lefty option...

[ ]

In reply to by Cubster

jebus.  is that in pesos?

 

i knew the dude wouldn't be a bargain, but i thought he'd be in the 12-15 range on a short deal after his last couple seasons.  competition must have been heavy.

 

the defense is there and needed.  there's some pop in the bat.  can't complain even with a touch of over-pay.  cubs have saved many 10s of millions the past couple years.  they got room to spend.

[ ]

In reply to by George Altman

GEORGE A: Unlike the Rule 4 Draft (First-Year Player Draft) of HS and college players in July, there is usually no consensus with respect to who the top prospects are in the Rule 5 Draft. All it takes is one club to really like a player for that player to get selected. It might be that the club wanted to draft the player out of HS or college but didn't get the chance, or wanted to sign a player out of Latin America but another club got there first. 

Whatever the circumstances, most clubs understand that at least with regard to the Major League Phase where the draft price is $100,000 with inconvenient roster restrictions, unless you are selecting an MLB-ready or very near MLB-ready player, it's mostly a matter of taking a look at the player in Spring Training, and then hopefully working out a trade with the player's former club so that the drafted player can be optioned to the minors. Unfortunately, most clubs reclaim a Rule 5 drafted player if given the chance, so while the drafting club gets half the draft price back ($50,000) if the player is reclaimed, they are still out $50,000.    

It's kind of like waking up the next morning after drunk sex, where the club gets to Spring Training and says "Why did we draft this guy again? What the heck were we thinking?!" 

All that said, it is very likely that the Cubs will lose multiple players in both the Major League Phase ($100,000 draft price with the possibility to re-claim the player later) and the AAA Phase ($24,000 with no right to reclaim).

Which players?

Not sure which ones will get selected because like I said, all it takes is one club to like a player, but the most-likely ones would be:     

MAJOR LEAGUE PHASE:  
1. Darius Hill, LF (MLB-ready bat-first LH-hitting OF / and he CAN hit LHP) 
2. Brendon Little, LHRP (MLB-ready / former 1st round draft pick)
3. Danis Correa, RHRP (near-MLB-ready reliever with high velo FB) 
4. Cam Sanders, RHRP (near-MLB ready reliever pitched much better after moving to pen) 
5. Yonathan Perlaza, LF (switch hitter hasn't played above AA but has sky high exit-velo) 
6. Luis Devers, RHSP (Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year with plus CH but hasn't pitched above Hi-A) 
7. Yohendrick Pinango, LF (a Cubs Top 20 prospect but he has not played above Hi-A)  
8. Brailyn Marquez, LHSP (former Cubs #1 pitching prospect / shoulder surgery rehab)
9. Riley Thompson, RHSP (hasn't pitched above AA but finished strong at Tennessee) 
10. Yovanny Cruz, RHRP (100 MPH FB & hard slider combo when healthy / hasn't pitched above AA)
11. Chase Strumpf, 2B-3B (a Cubs Top 25 prospect but he has not played above AA) 
12. Kohl Franklin, RHSP (a Cubs Top 30 prospect but he has not pitched above Hi-A) 
13. Pablo Aliendo, C (has not played above Hi-A but he could be kept as #3 catcher in 2023 for somebody) 
14. Jake Slaughter, 1B-2B-3B (had break-out in 2022 / has not played above AA / combines power & speed) 
15. Chris Clarke, RHSP (rotation starter at AA) 

AAA PHASE: 
1. Elian Almanzar, RHRP (95-98 MPH FB but with no game-usable secondary pitch)
2. Trey Lang, RHRP (30 year old making comeback after retiring seven years ago) 
3. Esteban Quiroz, 2B (was up with Cubs at end of year)
4. Joe Nahas, RHSP 
5. Hunter Bigge, RHRP
6. Manuel Espinoza, RHSP  
7. Blake Whitney, RHRP 
8. Adam Laskey, LHRP 
9. Eduarniel Nunez, RHRP
10. Samuel Reyes, RHRP 
11. Dalton Stambaugh, LHSP 
12. Peyton Remy, RHSP 
13. Josue Huma, INF 
14. Jake Washer, C 
15. Yeison Santana, 2B (one of the players acquired from SD in Darvish trade)  

David Bote will likely be available for selection in AAA Phase, but he probably won't be selected because of his contract. 

Rule 5 draft starts a bit later this year.  5pm EST.

cubs pick 12th.  4 teams ahead of them have a full 40-man.

contreras to the cards is supposedly almost a done deal with only years (4 or 5) being the sticking point.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

There is seemingly no reason the Cubs couldn't have brought Contreras back to split time with Gomes.  They need Contreras' bat which is clearly worth whatever perceived deficits exist with his defense.  Now they have to pin their hopes on winning the (over)bidding for one of the top shortstops and finding a power-hitting corner infielder that's better than Wisdom and Rivas/Mervis.  Signing Bellinger for a year is nice but doesn't do much to inspire confidence in fixing their power woes.

[ ]

In reply to by SheffieldCornelia

i imagine morel is penciled in at 3rd compared to what's in house right now...or 2nd base if they can find someone to play 3rd (2nd is a more natural position).  i'm glad they're done with trying to make him a CF.  he's terrible in the OF.

no idea what their plan is for 1st.  much like CF, there's someone waiting, but probably not 2023 ready out of spring training.

[ ]

In reply to by Sonicwind75

I suspect the Cubs will sign a couple of guys to one-year deals like maybe Trey Mancini or J. D. Martinez (DH) and Dominic Smith (1B), and then wait until Matt Mervis is clearly ready for MLB. It's also not inconceivable that Cody Bellinger could end up at 1B by mid-season if Brennon Davis or possibly even PCA are ready to take over CF. 

The DH-1B thing is independent of the Cubs pursuit of a top-tier SS (Correa or Swanson), another SP (Senga, Bassitt, or Eovaldi), and one or two veteran relievers (Chafin and Robertson would be fine with me).   

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Totally agree they need to supplement offense with a couple guys like you mention above. They need a few more bats regardless of the SS pursuit.

I would be thrilled with any of those SP. Chafin may be too expensive but I suspect they’ll turn a few late offseason RP into contributors/ trade bait like they have the past few years. Maybe the guy they got in rule V AAA yesterday, Burdi, can contribute.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

There is no way to predict a trade without being privy to the actual discussions, but the Cubs and Blue Jays would seem to match up very well.

The Cubs need a catcher (like Danny Jansen), and the all-RH hitting Jays need a LH-hitting OF bat (like Ian Happ). It doesn't hurt that Happ has made himself into a Gold Glove-caliber LF.    

So something like Happ plus a legit LH-hitting corner-OF prospect (which the Jays have none) like Toronto-area native Owen Caissie for Jansen & 2B-LF-RF Whit Merrifield. 

Given what Jansen and Happ are projected to make in salary arbitration and Merrifield's 2023 salary, the money would be almost an exact match. 

Happ and Merrifield are free-agents post-2023, and Jansen is under control through 2024. It would not be too surprising if the Jays try to extend Happ and the Cubs try to extend Jansen. 

Merrifield could play 2B or LF (depending on the needs of the Cubs), somewhat like Ben Zobrist did toward the end of his career.

Lourdes Gurriel could move from LF to DH to make room for Happ in LF, and the Jays could still sign a LH-hitting FA CF like Brandon Nimmo so that George Springer can move to the less physically demanding RF.  

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Jansen had a good year offensively last year but has otherwise been pretty terrible. I know the FO is prioritizing defense and run prevention, but subtracting our best offensive player in Happ for another likely below average hitter would hurt the team, I think. Unless they’re trying to tank again.

Prevent runs all they want. But if you give up 2 and manage 3 hits and 0 runs yourself, you still lose.

At C, get Vazquez. Or reunite the 2016 Cleveland catchers in Gomes and Roberto Perez. If you trade Happ, get a young hitter who has struggled but has upside, a good SP, or prospects. Don’t get two years of Jansen.

[ ]

In reply to by George Altman

Given the dearth of catching in MLB and the fact that Murphy will be under control for three more seasons, I would think the A's would probably want a three player return, probably something like Wesneski, Mervis, and an outfielder who can play CF (probably Kevin Alcantara).

It's too bad that B. Davis and Canario are injured, otherwise one of them could be included instead of K. Alcantara, since the A's reportedly want MLB-ready or near-ready guys instead of a player who is two or three years away (like Alcantara is).  

If the Cubs are unable to sign the FA SP they want, a Murphy deal could be expanded to include somebody like LHSP Cole Irwin, who has four years of club control remaining. The Cubs would probably have to add Jordan Wicks to the package if Irwin is included. 

I guess it all depends on how badly the Cubs want to compete in 2023, because otherwise they can just hold onto their best prospects and focus on 2024.  

cubs pass!  okay.  they must have plans...cuz they got roster spots.

cubs snagging nick burdi is interesting.  i hope SD knew the cubs were gonna steal one of their reclaimation projects...seems a bit cold if not.

munetaka murakami has signed a contract that stipulates he'll be posted after the 2025 season.

he turns 23 in february and is an absolute power hitting monster for his age.  he hit 56 last year.  he has 177 in his career.  not bad for a 22 year old.

i'm seeing some "alzolay as trade bait" rumors and not a lot of "alzolay in the SP mix" rumors.

honestly, i'd like to see the guy compete for the closing gig because "cubs closer FA options" is also a rumor i'm not hearing much about.  i'm a bit over the cubs trying to make rowan wick work in the closer role.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

CRUNCH: To me, Adbert Alzolay fits the profile of a multi-inning / once through the order reliever (I'll call it an "MIR"). With a 13-man pitching staff clubs need two or three MIR. It has become a VERY valuable role in MLB. A club can't get by with seven or eight one-inning guys.

Keegan Thompson is another MIR. Justin Steele started that way, and worked his way up to full-time rotation starter.  Ideally the MIR would be a different type of pitcher that gives the hitters a different look than that day's SP, like a LHP following a RHP, or a high velo guy following a soft-tosser.  

The MIR may be the new best way to integrate a young SP  into MLB. That way, the pitcher has a pitch count established & maintained at about 40-60 and can therefore get moved to the rotation -- temporarily if necessary, or permanently if things go well.   

Right now (subject to additions), I would see the Cubs 2023 Opening Day pitching staff this way: 

SP: 
Marcus Stroman 
James Taillon 
Justin Steele 
Kyle Hendricks 
Adrian Sampson 

MIR: 
Keegan Thompson 
Adbert Alzolay 

RP: 
Brandon Hughes 
Codi Heuer 
Rowan Wick 
Manuel Rodriguez
LHP TBD 
Mark Leiter Jr 

Wesneski, Assad, Kilian, Jensen, Brown, and R. Thompson would be the SP at Iowa, and Leeper, Estrada, Horn, Rucker, Uelmen, B. Little, Correa, Sanders, Stout, and Burdi would be in the pen. Remember that unlike in MLB, in AAA there is a 28-man roster limit (plus five on taxi squad) but no limit on pitchers, so the MIR role is not really necessary at AAA. A AAA club can easily carry as many as 16 pitchers active (plus probably three more on taxi squad). 

Starting pitchers that consistently go more than 5 - 6 innings are rapidly disappearing in the MLB.  I think we are going to see even more of starter/piggyback/ and starter/piggyback/closer games as time goes on.

I think that the Cubs are going to sign one more starter, which will move Sampson to the MIR, pending Hendrick's health and performance.

[ ]

In reply to by DavidP

The Cubs #1 Priority is signing Correa. That's Plan A, because who's going to play SS and hit like him until 2026-2027 (assuming C. Hernandez).

 

Plan B: sign Swanson plus a HR bat (like Conforto).

 

You do that, sign a $4-5M relief arm, trade for Murphy (without giving up Mervis, Wesneski) or sign Vazquez. 

 

Then they've got $8-10m left for the trade deadline when you get the pitching you need for the playoffs run.

 

I give a crap about more pitching until Jed fixes this offense. The Cubs don't have an offense that scares pitchers like PHL, LAD, SD. They just don't. 

 

A lineup like Hoerner, Happ, Correa, Bellinger, Suzuki, Mervis, Murphy, Wisdom begins to fix that. That's what I believe they need to do.

[ ]

In reply to by George Altman

yeah, they could not sign another pitcher and i'd be stoked on the pitching.  we're not even talking about c.killian and many teams would be excited about having him in the AAA/MLB pipeline.  right now he's 3rd/4th in the pecking order.  that's a nice luxury.  pretty sure the cubs want another LH option out of the pen, though I'm not sure if they want a long or short option.

i'm low-key hoping the cubs can manage to snag b.belt or t.mancini on a short contract...preferred belt because of the LH bat.  i'm (maybe foolishly) not even worrying about correa/swanson and assuming one will be signed.

twins "win" the christian vasquez sweepstake.  3/30m.

i mean, he's good, but i still don't understand why fans wanted him so badly to consider him any kind of difference-maker.

cubs sign ben deluzio to minor league deal.  28 year old no-power 3-slot OF'r with a touch of speed.

dead and company are doing june 9th+10th at wrigley.

it comes at the end of an 11-day road trip and a day off.

they will have 2 days to recover the field from 2 nights of dead shows.  good luck.

[ ]

In reply to by George Altman

Backing yourself into a corner and needing to overpay Swanson is a horrible path. If the choice is give Swanson 8 years and $200m (or more) or extend Hoerner, just extend Hoerner. Sign or trade for a decent 2B, get Conforto and/ or Michael Brantley. Get Eovaldi. Try to find someone to pair with Wisdom at 3B. Even these things likely mean a 3rd place finish and no playoffs, which is an absolute failure given the state of the Central and how many more resources the Cubs have compared to the rest of the division.

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

Words cannot fully express how much I disagree with this take. Listen to WSCR 670AM today during the 10am Hour. Leila lays out the SS market perfectly.  The Cubs aren't setting or controlling the FA market this year, the players are. 

 

Here's the question for the Cubs (& maybe AZ Phil): who plays SS between now and 2027? Swanson is the last one left who's at least a 3.5 WAR to 5.0 WAR player, no doubt a 25-30 HR player in Wrigley half his games. Who does that? Not Hoerner. Do they have a 25-30 HR 2B with Hoerner or Swanson's glove? Not anyone I've heard of.

 

As far as money, Crunch nails it below. Cubs fans need to stop worrying about player contracts. Ricketts has a $4 Billion asset and a virtual Cubs ATM surrounding Wrigley Field. 

 

This team either wants to be a contender or it's more of the Great Pretender .... again.

[ ]

In reply to by George Altman

I can’t listen to WSCR, I’m not a Chicago local anymore. I totally get Swanson is an upgrade over what we have. I do. But I don’t think he is a $200m player. He’s a great defender at SS. Counting on him hitting 25-30 HR though? He’s done it the last two years but ATL is a hitter friendly environment.  I personally don’t worry about the payment of contracts. But Ricketts does. He snapped the checkbook tight a few years back. Toss another long, potential overpay at him, and I don’t know how quick he will be to try again. The Ricketts SHOULD open the checkbook. I just don’t trust them to anymore.

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

For the SCORE, get the Audacy app.

 

As for Swanson worth $200M, the Market (e.g. Players/Agents) are determining market value for the top talent this year. Really, get the App and listen to the Bernstein/Holmes show today with Leila sitting in for Holmes. She was spot on and Tom/Jed need to show they're serious about improving this team, or are they just bumping their gums.

[ ]

In reply to by George Altman

She’s absolutely correct in that they need to start improving this team. This isn’t Kansas City. There’s no reason for this team to string together non competitive season after non competitive season.

They need to get bigger improvements done in free agency or via trade. All they depth of solid prospects needs to turn into some level of trade capital. They can’t all be Cubs. And there’s no magical wave of Rizzo, KB, Javy, Schwarber, Willson, Hendricks, and Russell coming. 

this team has "saved" tons of money the past 2-3 years and they've got a buy-low sketchy CF'r and a middle rotation starter to show for it so far going into this year.

this isn't tampa bay or oakland, but they're spending like they are.  the FA market isn't where you go to find awesome deals.  you pay market, often market plus a premium.  that's the nature of the beast.  this team's 2027+ payroll commitments are practically nothing.  they got room for overpaying.  so much opportunity is already off the market.

the team needs ob% and power to compliment the pitching in-house...and it's looking like they may have to "spend" some of this pitching youth in trade as reliable bats disappear from the free agent market.

this is disguting for an ownership group that has pumped 100s of millions into real estate projects around Wrigley Field and buying political influence across the country while the product on the field has been very sub-par.

We will see how much Swanson’s wife, Mallory Pugh, who currently plays for the local Professional Soccer team (Chicago Red Stars), ties into the Cubs ability to get Dansby.  I can think  one other spouse connection that played into a previous free agent signing. Although not as big a contract or signing, it was OF David DeJesus. Kim DeJesus was from Wheaton. 

turns out the cubs never even made corerra a formal offer (via gordo/NBC).  what the hell is going on in this front office?

The Cubs FO has invoked the "Rays Model" here as a reason to not sign long overpriced contracts.

Let's analyze this for a while:

1) The main difference here is that the Cubs have money. Rays don't. So, Cubs should spend money. 

2) The Rays win with no money. The Cubs don't want to be wasteful with their money. So, the Cubs need to scout and develop like the Rays. The Rays draft late in rounds every season now and still produce talent. The Cubs have never done that. This has nothing to do with "overspending" on FAs. Yes, down the road your prospects might get trapped behind big contracts.  This is usually a good problem to have. Let's get there and then figure out the solution instead of not signing players for big money to help hypothetical future prospects having clear paths. Logjams aren't bad.

3) And, lastly, let's not be like the Rays.  They haven't won a WS, yet.  Let's be like the Dodgers. They spend big, produce great talent with late picks, and they win.

Cubs sign Brad Boxberger at 2.8M. He is the 2023 Cubs Mychal Givens replacement at half the price. He’s also very flippable in July.

 

Now we’re in the sixth inning of winter roster “building”  The available market is down to one impact free agent left that fits a Cubs need and a team that right now is not really better than last year (+Berlinger, Taillon; -Contreras, Smyly)

Very depressing

at this point i feel like the cubs may have to trade "excess" pitching prospects to make up for the money not being spent.  that is not ideal given the value of these guys and the supposed excess loot the cubs have in-house to not sell off these guy(s).

contreras not being traded last year means the cubs get a higher-end prospect via the draft this year, but an opportunity to get someone closer to the bigs is coming home to hurt a bit given the position the cubs are currently in.

the cubs need more than swanson to get over the hump, and if they lose out on him things are looking even worse.

i went into the off-season hoping for turner or corerra and a guy like josh bell.  i'm currently wondering what will be done after they snag swanson and no idea what they'll do if don't...  it seems to be a mess.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

What is maddening (& the link I posted from WSCR lays it out best), is all we're at right now is f'ng money. They have it from not spending the last 3 years and they're hem hawing about letting it go.

The players & agents are driving the market and Jed's job is to find talent. Jed said they didn't blow teams out last year and that's what they need to fix. Well, a SS who would have hit 33 HRs in Wrigley last year and a LH OF/DH bat in Conforto would certainly fix that, wouldn't it?

 

Yes, Swanson might cost 10/$270 or 11/$285. Conforto probably 2/$38. That's $46M AAV on top of current $170M which is still $15-20M under the CBT. And then, done.

You've got Happ, Bellinger, Suzuki, & Conforto to fill the OF and rotate into DH. Wisdom, Swanson, Hoerner, Mervis/Mancini to fill the IF and rotate into DH. Catcher - Gomes and who gives a damn. That lineup has a chance to rake.

 

And all it takes is a Billionaire to say yes and write years 7-11 for Swanson off his taxes as depreciation.  WTH. 

[ ]

In reply to by George Altman

the real kicker is a GM/president (selfishly) shouldn't worry about the last few years of a contract because the amount of GMs around to see years 8-9-10+ of a long deal is rather short.  it's usually someone else's problem to clean up given how much upper management gets swapped around.

btw, are the cubs the only team out there where the president really runs the team and the GM is just out there doing paperwork and the draft?  we all know jed is running this, but carter hawkins is technically the GM.

e.hosmer has been DFA'd by BOS.  someone hide this news from jed as long as possible or until hosmer is safely somewhere else.

fwiw, if LAD is truly in on swanson in a significant way it could be well into next month before there's movement on him while the dodgers wait to see if they have to pay trevor bauer 35m if his suspension is overturned.

well, the cubs now have one of the best defensive middle IF's in baseball.

the ob% situation is still sketchy.  there's no omg power bat, but there's steady 15-20+ HR power in almost every slot except C and 1st.  i imagine morel is playing 3rd (mostly).  i assume something will be done at 1st, like b.belt or similar.  i can't imagine mervis is being penciled in at 1st yet.  the 1st outlook is looking a lot better than C at this point even without a current solution.

if things are stable(ish), that would leave guys like madrigal (reliable extreme non-K contact hitting) and wisdom (power) available off the bench or DH.

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

whether it comes in trade or one of the random scraps still left over, they could really use something they can count on at 1st or DH even if someone in the minors is waiting to take that job away from them.

jd martinez is out there.  he's pretty much a DH, but he's not a bad corner OF option on a limited basis.

i still think passing on josh bell (2/33m with CLE, opt-out after 1 year) was a missed opportunity.  he came "cheap" enough and came into the off-season wanting an early opt-out.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

Jinxed JD, he just signed with Dodgers.

i low key really like Michael Brantley as a fit at DH and occasional OF. Would be good with Conforto for that spot too. Get Mancini at 1B. See if you can sign Justin Turner for 3B. Maybe see if you can get Carrasco from Mets by agreeing to also take McCann off their hands

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

I am not sure how you define "penciled in", but I think the odds are extremely high that, unless he has a very poor spring training, Mervis will be the starting first baseman at least against right handed pitching, when the season starts.  There are several reports that he has flaws that might keep him from becoming a good MLB hitter and fielder, but I have seen none that indicate that more seasoning in the minors will eliminate these flaws.  The sooner that they can determine what they have in him, the better plans they can make in the future.

Thank you Mallory Pugh! 
—————

We will see how much Swanson’s wife, Mallory Pugh, who currently plays for the local Professional Soccer team (Chicago Red Stars), ties into the Cubs ability to get Dansby.  I can think  one other spouse connection that played into a previous free agent signing. Although not as big a contract or signing, it was OF David DeJesus. Kim DeJesus was from Wheaton. 

I love this signing!  Not too many years or too much money (he’s getting less total than Jason Heyward) and in a market with theoretically a bunch of competition for Swanson’s services.  Even if he’s average at the plate his defense makes the pitching staff better.  This still isn’t a winning 2023 roster, but they’re at least interesting now with a chance to be real winners if the current crop of minor leaguers comes up and pans out while Swanson’s still around. 
 

They now need to extend Hoerner and keep these guys together long-term.

I don't know what a winning roster is, but I will be surprised if the Cubs end up below 500 this year, barring major injuries to key players.

There are several wild cards that we have not talked about, but lurk in the background.

We don't know exactly the Cubs see in McKinstry.  ArizonaPhil is surprised that he was not taken off the roster when it was seemingly in the Cubs best interest to do so.  Is their internal view that they have seen a flaw that they believe is fixable, that outside evaluators are missing?  It might be worth a winter and spring to find out.

Wesneski seems to be the invisible man on this board and others.  To me, he looks like Hendricks, with a better fastball.  The Cubs gave up a not insignificant young pitcher to get him, and he looked excellent not only at Iowa, but in his short stint in the majors.  There is a strong chance that he will be much more this year than an Iowa shuttle guy.

Morel had a very good rookie season, showing off his not inconsiderable tools while playing a multitude of positions, not an easy thing for anyone, let alone a young kid.  He has a combination of power and speed that is rare, and an attitude that has already made him a fan favorite.  He was always a high ceiling, low floor prospect, and this past year he seemed to raise his floor substantially.

The pitching staff as a whole seem to me to be substantially underrated by the media and fans.  Potential starters/long relievers Taillon, Stroman, Steele, Wesneski, Alzolay, Assad, Thompson, and Sampson are lacking star quality, but are also lacking the deep dropoff most teams have when a top starter goes down (as they all do) for a while during the season.  And set up men Boxberger Hughes and even Wick are average or better.  They only lack is a true closer.

And look for another starter to be yet added to the staff, in the level of Smiley/Wiley.

Not a potential World Series winner, but a very good base to have when the next rush of farm products such as PCA, Alcantara, Cassie, Davis, Canario and Hernandez begin to emerge.

Ok, I just did a fairly deep dive into COTS Cubs Contracts vis a vis, the CBT. Maybe AZ Phil can check my math:

 

$127,077,000: Stroman, Swanson, Suzuki, Taillon, Bellinger,Hendricks, Gomes, Boxberger, Sampson, Wick

 

$16,500,000: Arbitration estimates - Happ, Hoerner, Heuer (assumes Madrigal release)

 

$26,000,000: Heyward, Bote salaries

 

$8,000,000: Assumes $800K Average/AutoRenewal player on 26-Man - Wisdom, Alzolay, K. Thompson, Steele, Leiter Jr, Hughes, Wesneski, Mervis, Morel, Rodriguez. 

 

$1,666,667: 0-3 yr Bonus Pool

 

$2,250,000: MiLB split salaries for 40-man players

 

$16,500,000: Estimate Player benefits.

 

That Totals - $197,993,667

2023 CBT Threshold  - $233M

 

That leaves $35,006,333 to sign 2 bats (1B, DH, OF, or 3B) and either a SP4 or RP. If the Cubs want to go over 20%, the CBT limit is $253M.

 

Looks like plenty of room to sign a Conforto or Brantley, and a Smyly or Wacha.

[ ]

In reply to by George Altman

GEORGE A: That's very good. 

Keep in mind that whatever a club's payroll budget is in a given season, the club MUST keep about $6M-$8M available to cover for replacement players called up from the minors (and who would be paid at the MLB rate while they are on the 26-man active list) to cover for players on the 10-day, 15-day, and 60-day IL. By the end of the 2022 season the Cubs had seven or eight players on their 60-day IL, and that is essentially "dead" money that has to be covered by calling players up from the minors and paying them big league money.

So even if the Cubs payroll budget is exactly the CBT threshold ($233M), about $8M or so needs to be set aside for IL player coverage.

And if the Cubs think they might be a contender and therefore might want to add a player or two at the trade deadline, that's usually another $5M in pro-rated salaries that needs to be set aside in advance.

And potential performance bonuses that might have to be paid after the season count as AAV if they are attained, so payroll has to be set aside for that as well (presuming any of the Cubs have performance bonuses in their contracts).  

So if the Cubs self-imposed payroll limit is $233M, then some of that needs to be set aside for IL player replacements, potential adds at the trade deadline, and performance bonuses.  

If Drew Smyly gets (let's say) something like a $10M AAV, that would leave maybe $12M (combined) in AAV for any other free-agents who might be signed, and that's presuming the payroll budget is the CBT threshold (which it might not be, it could be less).   

That's why I believe the Cubs should (if possible) trade Ian Happ and a LH-hitting outfield prospect (I mentioned Owen Caissie a few days ago in a previous comment addressing this subject, only because he is from the Toronto metro area, but Yohendrick Pinango is another possibility) to the Blue Jays for catcher Danny Jansen and  INF-OF Whit Merrifield.

Based upon the projected arbitration numbers for Happ and Jansen and combining those with Merrifield's 2023 salary, it would be almost an exact salary wash. Happ and Merrifield are free-agents post-2023, and Jansen is under control through 2024 and could be a candidate for a contract extension. 

Happ should be traded if the Cubs can get reasonable MLB value back in the deal (especially a catcher and somebody who can replace Happ in LF), because I doubt that the Cubs would want to sign Happ to a contract extension even if he was willing, what with the Cubs being as deep as they are in outfield prospects.

For those who don't want to move Happ unless the deal gets a decent prospect return back, that was true at the trade deadline last year, and it might still matter if the Cubs were planning on tanking the 2023 season, but it would appear that they are not. So trading Happ and getting an MLB return (NOT prospects) back that would hopefully include an MLB catcher is an immediate priority that must be addressed ASAP. 

I believe Jansen and Merrifield would be a good return for Happ, and that would still leave about $10M-$12M (guessing) still available to spend on a DH/1B - type like Trey Mancini, and maybe another veteran bullpen arm (preferably a LHP) similar to Boxberger.  

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

I'm okay with dealing Happ for MLB players. Cubs probably tried to get prospects for him last July and didn't like the potential returns.

But, I'm not okay with trading ONKC for a Catcher. ONKC is a lefty bat with Slug and contact potential. You don't deal lefty pop.

Pinango would be cool with me. He's good and a lefty, but ONKC is better.

The only hesitation I have is Happ is a lefty bat and we don't have enough of them. Merrifield doesn't do anything for me in LF as a Happ replacement. 

I like the premise of the trade, since Jansen is a real Catcher and his stats are as solid as Willy's in some ways.

But I'm stuck on gaining lefty bats, not losing them for righty bats.

wonder how much money the cubs are gonna give smyly to give up 40 homers next year.  cubs need a possible kyle hendricks replacement, but not this way.

childersb3: I agree with you about the need for lefty hitters, so a possibility in a trade might be Eduardo Escobar from the Mets. 

The Mets are way WAY over the CBT threshold and so I expect them to try and move anyone who can be replaced internally with MLB-ready players (like Brett Baty at 3B and Francisco Alvarez at catcher). 3B Eduardo Escobar ($9.5M AAV) is an obvious one, C James McCann ($10M AAV) is another, and RHSP Carlos Carrasco ($14M AAV) is the third one. 

I can't see the Cubs acquiring any more SP after they sign Smyly, and if they can get Jansen they are not going to want McCann, but a switch-hitting 3B like Escobar would add a lefty bat with the extra added value of having a $9M club option (or $500K buy-out) for 2024, and he can play 2B, too.

Adding Escobar would probably require the payroll AAV the Cubs would have needed to sign Mancini, but Patrick Wisdom could be the 1B-DH Mancini would have been, and at least the Cubs would be adding another LH bat. 

As for the player cost for Escobar, I would think the Mets would probably want a prospect not on the 40. Because the Mets are so far over the CBT threshold (they are in the stratosphere!), the actual $$$ savings they would be getting by trading Escobar would be a LOT more than just reducing their 2023 payroll AAV by $9.5M AAV, so I doubt that the Cubs would have to deal a top prospect to get Escobar.

The Mets can remove $33M in 2023 AAV (plus even more in actual $$$$) if they can trade Escobar, McCann and Carrasco, so they are not going to want to take back any 2023 AAV in a trade involving those three players. Just minor league prosoects. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

I'm not against Escobar. I don't recall him being a particularly good 3B, but he can switch hit with some pop. Not against it at all.

But, what about this:

Trade Happ and Pinango to TOR for Jansen and Merrifield.

Then sign Conforto to play LF. He might have to take a prove it deal???

We'd have to dump Madrigal, one of McKinstry or Mastrobuoni, and probably Wisdom or Velazquez. That's just to make the 40/26man rosters work. 

C-Jansen

1B-Mervis and a RH platoon

2B-Hoerner

3B-Morel or still make the Escobar deal

SS-Swanson

LF-Conforto

CF-Bellinger

RF-Suzuki

DH-Morel, Escobar, Merrifield, Wisdom or Velazquez, Gomes

Wouldn't mind Mancini or Drury in other scenarios as well. Even Justin Turner.

What do you think?

[ ]

In reply to by Childersb3

Personally, I’d rather we just sign either Barnhart or Roberto Perez, but I am really down on Jansen so I recognize I have some bias there. I’d also be fine taking McCann off the Mets hands if they toss us a prospect or pay for most of the deal.

C- Gomes/ Perez

1B- Mervis/ Wisdom

2B- Hoerner

3B- Drury or Brian Anderson 

SS- Dansby the mansby

LF- Happ

CF- Bellinger 

RF- Suzuki

DH- Mancini or Conforto, or maybe take a shot on Dominic Smith

[ ]

In reply to by Childersb3

childersb3:  I would say ideally the Cubs would acquire Jansen and Merrifield for Happ and a LH-hitting OF prospect like Caissie or Pinango or even Darius Hill, because Hill is probably actually MLB-ready right now and could replace Happ in LF for the Jays in 2024. 

The importance of a deal like that is that because it is a salary "wash," there is no payroll increase for the Jays to add a LH-hitting LF and for the Cubs to add a catcher and a direct replacement for Happ in LF. Merrifield also has the  defensive versatility to play anywhere in the infield or outfield, if the Cubs were to sign a full-time LF like Michael Conforto. Merrifield also can steal bases, which is likely to become more important in 2023. 

The bad thing about Conforto is that he is (like Cody Bellinger) a Scott Boras client, and even though it might appear that Conforto has limited leverage because he had shoulder surgery and missed the entire 2022 season, I don't think that Boras would settle for a "prove it" type contract for Conforto.

One year with a mutual option for a second year? Yes. A mutual option with a significant buy-out / severance for the second year if the mutual option is declined by either party? Yes. Just like Bellinger got. Maybe even the exact same contract Bellinger got ($17.5M AAV). And I don't know if the Cubs would be able to fit that within their payroll budget after signing Smyly. Maybe they can, I don't know. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

BTW, there will be a very limited market for Nick Madrigal. He has no defensive versatility, so unless a club plans to make him their everyday 2B, he doesn't really have much trade value. Maybe the White Sox? Red Sox? Nationals? A's? Pirates? Marlins? Brewers? I can't think of any others. Maybe Madrigal to Boston for Bobby Dalbec? 

There also is the matter of Madrigal being eligible for salary arbitration as a "super two," and clubs never know how arbitration is going to roll as far as cost certainty is concerned.

So now that they have signed Swanson to play SS and will be moving Hoerner to 2B, the Cubs really need to move Madrigal off the 40-man roster ASAP so that they don't get stuck with him after he files for salary arbitration on January 13th, preferably via trade or even a waiver claim ($50,000 is not nothing), or (if there just is no market for him) by outright release. 

The clock is ticking.... 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Thanks again AZ Phil !!

Conforto was the pipedream for lefty pop.

Of course, I think if he wants a short term deal, the Cubs should go into the Luxury Tax to try and win. But, that's a whole other issue as always.

Hoerner - 2B

Happ - LF

Swanson - SS

Bellinger - CF

Suzuki - RF

Mervis - 1B

Mancini - DH

Morel - 3B

Barnhart - C

That's probably what we'll end up with.

Wouldn't mind Escobar at 3B/DH

Or even David Peralta as a 4th OF/DH and lefty veteran bat

cubs are supposedly looking a D-first catcher according to p.mooney, so it looks like y.gomes is pegged to be the main guy if you believe him.

m.amaya is on the horizon.  the injuries have limited his outlook and prospect ranking, but he's probably going to show up sometime in 2023 if he can keep a random body part from falling off.

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

i hope they're not counting on amaya for anything but showing up to see some action sometime in 2023 and maybe slotting into 2024, even if just a backup/bench/DH option.

he turns 24 in march.  usually when he's done being injured for the 40 minutes to 40 days between his next shutdown injury he bounces back rather well.  the D skills are there, the arm is above average, he can get on base, and he's got a bit of pop that will hopefully develop more.

doubt he's a candidate to break out of spring training, but he may get a taste before too late into the season.  of course he's got to do the one thing that alludes him, actually staying healthy.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

The best way to think about Miguel Amaya is that you don't count on him but you also don't write him off. Just keep an open mind and see how things develop.

Amaya gets a fourth minor league option in 2023, and he needs to master AAA both offensively and defensively by the end of the season, because he will be out of minor league options and therefore essentially "locked" on the  MLB 26-man active list roster as of 2024.  

AZ Phil:

Do you think Leiter survives to Opening Day?

I think we have enough 40man spots for him to make ST (w/ Rucker, Rivas, McKinstry or Mastrobuoni and/or Higgins being able to do DFA'd and Madrigal, Velazquez, and Wisdom being dealt) but it appears the 13 arm spots are filling up.

Projected arms post-Smyly deal =>

Rotation: Stro-Taillon-Steele-Hendricks-Wesneski (5)

Long Pen: Keegan-Smyly-Alzolay-Sampson (4)

Short Pen: Wick-Hughes-Boxberger (3)

Last Spot: MRod-Leiter-Uelman-Estrada (4)

IL to start yr: Heuer-ERoberts (2)

Leiter is only guy fighting for last spot with no options. 

You think he makes it?

[ ]

In reply to by Childersb3

childersb3: The problem with Mark Leiter Jr is (as you noted) that he will be out of minor league options in 2023, so (like  Zach McKinstry, who is also out of options in 2023) he is no longer "fungible." 

Ideally you would want most all of your relievers and bench guys to be able to be easily moved back and forth between MLB and AAA, especially relievers, because pen arms are notorious for going hot & cold at a moment's notice. The Cubs won't be able to do that with Leiter in 2023, which actually makes him less valuable than he was in 2022 when he had an option available. 

It's also useful to have fungible bench guys, too, because sometimes you might want a back-up position player to get some regular playing time in AAA for a while if it looks like he's starting to go stale. That's why McKinstry (who will be out of options in 2023) has less value than Miles Mastrobuoni (who has three minor league options available).   

BTW, it appears that the A's think they have discovered their new "Moneyball" market inefficiency, which is that clubs may be overlooking and undervaluing guys with speed who can steal bases.

A lot of people were surprised that the A's "settled" for just OF Esteury Ruiz when they flipped William Contreras to the Brewers, but Ruiz is one of the fastest players in baseball. He led the minors in stolen bases in 2022, and with the new larger bases, there could be a significant spike in stolen base attempts in 2023 as the stolen base may suddenly become more valuable because of a greater chance for success. That in turn could make "catch & throw" skills more important for catchers than has been the case in recent years.   

It's interesting that the Cubs specifically targeted speedy minor league FA OF Ben DeLuzio right after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft. I believe DeLuzio has a very good chance to open the season as the Cubs 4th outfielder, as he could be used to PR and steal a base late in a close game, or pinch run as the "ghost runner" in the 10th inning to try and steal a run. 

does anyone know if t.mancini has a full-time ostomy bag?  i've never heard about or been able to tell if he still has one post-colon-resection.  some people manage to avoid it, some people are stuck with it for life.

AZ Phil,

Your suggestion about Escobar just got a lot more interesting and relevant with the Correa signing. He could probably DH for them now. They have Vogelbomb though. Cubs need to step up and make a move with the Mets. Vientos, Mauricio, Baty (who isn't going anywhere but OF in NY) or Escobar. Mauricio has been my guy. But, I'd take Vientos or Escobar. I just don't want McCann as trade ballast

Crunch — Giants fans must be feeling worse than Cubs fans did after Correa signed with the Giants.  So much buildup with no payoff.

Somehow I don’t think we’re going to see any more Free Agent signings before Christmas.  Could be wrong, however, I do expect a Cubs trade before the end of the day.  Don’t know who, but with the Swanson trade being made official today, that brings the roster to an even 40.  I think a two for one trade will happen that will open a spot, even if it’s just for Smyly.

PIT has signed t.chatwood to a minor league deal because...hell, i don't know...a GM with brain damage or something...

mike moosetacos DFA'd by the reds.

i really hope the cubs aren't ready to gamble a roster slot on him.  lefty, 1st/3rd capable (though not well at either)...ugg, really hope this doesn't come up on their radar.  a gamble is a gamble, but i dunno if he's even worth the roster space.

tucker barnhart signed...2/6.5m (up to 9.5m with incentives/escalators).

yan gomes and tucker barnhart, that's the 2023 crew.

Per Sharma on Twitter, John Mallee was signed back into the Cubs organization as the Iowa Cubs hitting coach. Glad to see that happen given the pipeline kids moving up through Iowa.

we might need a new off-season thread or something.  we're pushing page 2 over here.

trevor bauer (LAD) has been removed from the restricted list after having his suspension reduced to 194 games (from 324 games).  it essentially nullifies the rest of his suspension.  he is not expected to play for the dodgers, but they have to pay or trade him.

conforto to SF, paying him big considering he didn't play last year...2/36m pending physical.

it's got your now-normal 1yr opt-out, of course.

a.rivas DFA'd and anthony kay (lefty reliever) claimed from TOR.

i'm more excited about what a.rivas getting DFA'd signals for 1st base over anything a.kay can bring.  minors and majors kay has always been a "hittable" lefty even though he's got a low/mid 90s arm.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

Just as with Rylan Bannon last month, it is very likely that the Cubs will place Anthony Kay back onto waivers and attempt to outright him to the minors.

Bannon got claimed (by the Astros) when the Cubs put him back onto waivers, and it remains to be seen whether Kay will clear waivers. 

One club that might claim Alfonso Rivas (if he doesn't get traded first) is the Oakland A's, Rivas's former team. Marlins and Nationals are a couple of other possibilities. 

"According to Bruce Levine of 670 The Score in Chicago, free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer is on the Cubs' radar."

no. no. no. no. no. no. oh god no. no. no. absolutely not. no.

"Levine notes that Dominic Smith is a possibility as well."

wtf?  no.  remember when they wanted him after his .244/.304/.363 season?  well, he followed it up with .194/.276/.284.  cubs radar is broke as hell.  i want new billionaire owners.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

Eric Hosmer is signed through 2025 at $13M per year, but the Padres are on the hook for all of it minus the MLB minimum salary. So he wouldn't cost the Cubs any AAV since he would be replacing a "theoretical" player making the MLB minimum salary. The only thing is, he might be getting offers from other teams who might offer a signing bonus that would be factored into the AAV.

Although the Cubs might have interest in him mainly because of how he would help to limit their 2023 AAV, Hosmer is from Miami, so the Marlins would seem like as good fit for him. all things being equal.  

For those of you not keeping track, the Cubs are not too far from the CBT tax threshold right now, so limiting AAV by signing Hosmer for the MLB minimum would give the Cubs more payroll space under the CBT threshold for another bat (which they desperately need) and another veteran MLB RP. 

As for Dominic Smith, he hit .194/276/284 with no (zero) HR for the Mets last year in 152 PA, but then he spent the last two months of the season in AAA and hit 284/367/473 with ten HR and 11 doubles in 248 PA. So I think he would be worth a look in Spring Training, if he is willing to sign a minor league contract with maybe an Opening Day opt-out if he doesn't make the 26-man roster out of Spring Training. FWIW, Smith is a good defensive 1st baseman, so he is not a DH.   

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

my biggest fear with hosmer is i can't imagine him wanting to sign anywhere that wouldn't play him full time, and most of that being at 1st.

as much as he's not the hitter he used to be, he's not the fielder he used to be.  he was a bit overrated through some of his gold glove run, but he's years removed from being even that good.

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In reply to by crunch

CRUNCH: If the Cubs do sign Eric Hosmer, I would think he would get an opt-out after every season (2023-25).

And if the Cubs end up releasing him, so what? It wouldn't cost them anything more than the MLB minimum salary, because the Padres are eating the rest of it. 

The only issue I can see is that Hosmer might not want to play for the Cubs. Otherwise, no way the Cubs don't sign him (again, but that's only if he wants to play for the Cubs, which maybe he doesn't). 

Questions for Phil and Crunch:

David Peralta or Eric Hosmer? I say Peralta. We still need a 4th OF. I see Velazquez as the 5th OF.

Mancini or ???. I'm okay with Mancini if we can get Peralta. Don't know if those guys sign for what we have leftover.

Would you trade three of these guys for Devers? Alcantara, ONKC, CHernandez, Kilian, Horton, Herz, Wicks, BDavid and/or Canario? Would BOS do it for three of guy. Only one yr left for Devers.

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In reply to by Childersb3

childersb3: I can't see the Red Sox trading Devers to the Cubs for a package that doesn't include Justin Steele and Pete Crow-Armstrong, especially with Brennen Davis's back still a question mark, and I strongly suspect including both Steele and PCA would be a no-go from the Cubs POV.

Kevin Alcantara is the only other position-player prospect who might get the Sox attention, but he is even further away from MLB than PCA is, and the Red Sox will probably want young MLB guys or near-MLB ready prospects.   

It's too bad that Brennen Davis and Alexander Canario are question marks, because if healthy they could conceivably be part of a package that might not have to include PCA. In fact I think the Cubs might even have been willing to trade both B. Davis - AND - Canario if healthy if it could get Devers for the ENTIRE 2023 season (not just the last two months), but there is just too much doubt right now surrounding the future of Davis and Canario, so neither have significant trade value at this time.     

If the Red Sox also want pitchers as part of the deal (which I'm sure they would), I doubt that anyone besides Justin Steele would be off limits, and he is probably the one pitcher the Red Sox would absolutely have to have included in the deal to make it happen.

Keegan Thompson is pretty good and still has some upside, and he does have MLB experience. Same goes for Hayden Wesneski, but none of the Cubs pitching prospects still in the minors (and the best ones are at AA or single-A) would probably be of particular interest to the Red Sox if Steele isn't included. 

So I can't see a deal like that happening right now. Maybe at the trade deadline if it appears that the Cubs are legit playoff contenders and the Red Sox are not and maybe Brennen Davis proves to be 100% healthy, but even then I really doubt it would happen because I don't think the Cubs generally would sacrifice even B. Davis for two months of Devers, what with a QO and the accompanying comp draft pick that goes with it off the table if Devers is traded during the season.

The Cubs will have a ton of payroll coming off the books post-2023, and so they should be able to make Devers a substantial offer once he hits free-agency, except the Dodgers and Yankees will probably both be in on Devers as well, and they almost certainly would be willing to offer more years than the Cubs would be willing to offer. 

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

That's the sobering and realistic take on Devers I was looking for / expecting / dreading.

Davis has been hurt regularly. Can't change that history. Hope he gets lucky and stays healthy. But, Canario getting hurt is simply awful luck. Really saddled the Cubs options this offseason. That's not even including Velazquez being stuck with no MLB ABs for CHC. 

Anything involving PCA is a no go for me as well. 

I was just dreaming of a LH bat at 3B for a few yrs with pop. Hope Jed throws big cash his way next Nov!!

Thanks Phil

it's about to be 2023 and rich hill has signed a 8m contract to pitch for PIT.  who knew he would be the last man standing from mid-2000 era of cubs baseball?  he'll be 43 in march.

he's only managed more than 150ip in a season in the majors...2007 (cubs) and 2021 (mets/rays).

I am neither Crunch nor Phil, but I, for one, absolutely would not  make that trade, even if I could pick which three (Kilian, Herz and Wicks).  With Devers, we will still not be a top tier team (still much worse than the Cardinals) and would strip our farm system of those who we will need when we are ready to move up to the top tier.  The Cubs have a plan to rebuild through the farm system, and it seems to be making great progress.  This is no time to scrap the concept.

Cubs MLB Roster

Cubs Organizational Depth Chart
40-Man Roster Info

+++++++++++
 
40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full)    

Last updated 1-24-2023
 
* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS: 21
Adbert Alzolay
Javier Assad 
Brad Boxberger
Ben Brown
Jeremiah Estrada
Kyle Hendricks
Codi Heuer 
* Brandon Hughes
Ryan Jensen
Caleb Kilian 
Julian Merryweather
Ethan Roberts 
Michael Rucker
Adrian Sampson
* Drew Smyly
* Justin Steele 
Marcus Stroman
Jameson Taillon 
Keegan Thompson
Hayden Wesneski
Rowan Wick

CATCHERS: 3 
* Tucker Barnhart 
Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

INFIELDERS: 8
Nico Hoerner
* Eric Hosmer
Nick Madrigal
* Miles Mastrobuoni
* Zach McKinstry
Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson
Patrick Wisdom

OUTFIELDERS: 8 
Kevin Alcantara
* Cody Bellinger 
Alexander Canario
Brennen Davis
# Ian Happ
Trey Mancini 
Seiya Suzuki 
Nelson Velazquez


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Minor League Rosters
Rule 5 Draft 
Minor League Free-Agents