Cubs 2023 Rule 5 Draft & Minor League Free-Agency Watch List

1/24 UPDATE

The Cubs have sent RHP Manuel Rodriguez and LHP Anthony Kay outright to AAA Iowa. Both were Designated for Assignment last week. 

Neither pitcher has the right to elect free-agency if outrighted, but both will be an MLB Rule 9 minor league 6YFA post-2023 if the player does not sign a 2024 minor league successor contract or is added back to the MLB 40-man roster in the meantime.    



1/20 UPDATE

The Cubs have signed FA catcher Luis Torrens to a 2023 minor league contract. 

Torrens is out of minor league options if he is added to the MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2023, and he has the right to elect free agency if he were to be outrighted after being added to the 40.  

 



1/13 UPDATE:

The Cubs have signed FA OF Mike Tauchman to a 2023 minor league contract. He played in the KBO in 2022. Tauchman has Article XX-D player status, so he can elect free-agency if he is added to the 40 at some point in 2023 and then is subsequently sent outright to the minors. He is also out of minor league options, should he be added to the 40.  

 



1/12 UPDATE:

The Cubs have signed FA RHRP Vinny Nittoli to a 2023 minor league contract. He was released by the Phillies yesterday after being Designated for Assignment last week. Nittoli has Article XX-D player status, so he can elect free-agency if he is added to the 40 at some point in the future and then is subsequently outrighted back to the minors. 
 

 


1/6 UPDATE:

The Cubs have signed FA RHSP Nick Neidert to a 2023 minor league contract. He was non-tendered by the Miami Marlins in November. 

 


1/4 UPDATE

The Cubs have signed signed FA LHRP Ryan Borucki to a 2023 minor league contract. Borucki is out of minor league options should he be added to the 40 at some point in 2023. He also has the right to elect free-agency if he is added to the 40 and then is subsequently outrighted back to the minors. 

 


1/2 UPDATE:

The Cubs have signed FA C Dom Nunez to a 2023 minor league contract. He was non-tendered by the San Francisco Giants in November. 

Also, the Cubs have re-signed LHRP Brad Wieck (2022 TJS) to a 2023 minor league contract with a 2024 addendum. Wieck is out of minor league options if he is added back to the 40-man roster at any point during the next two seasons. He also has the right to elect free-agency if he is added to the 40 and then is subsequently outrighted back to the minors. Although he is not eligible to be a minor league FA until post-2024, he will be eligible for selection in the 2023 Rule 5 Draft if he is not added back to the 40 or released in the meantime. 

 



12/20 UPDATE

The Cubs have signed FA LHP Roenis Elias to a 2023 minor league contract. He is out of minor league options if he is added to the 40 at some point in 2023, and he has the right to elect free-agency if he is added to the 40 and then is subsequently outrighted back to the minors. 

 


 

12/19 UPDATE

The Cubs have signed FA INF Sergio Alcantara to a 2023 minor league contract. He is out of minor league options if he is added to the MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2023, and he has the right to elect free-agency if he is added to the 40 and then is subsequently outrighted back to the minors.   
 


 

12/14 UPDATE

The Cubs have signed FA LHP Eric Stout and FA OF Ben DeLuzio to 2023 minor league contracts. DeLuzio was non-tendered by the St. Louis Cardinals in November. Stout has the right to elect free-agency if he is added to the 40 and then is subsequently outrighted back to minors. 
 



As things stand right now...

87 Cubs minor leaguers are eligible for selection in the December 2023 MLB Rule 5 Draft, and 38 Cubs minor leaguers (31 post-2023 6YFA and seven 2023 second-contract players) are eligible to be declared MLB Rule 9 minor league free-agents at 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the 2023 World Series (or at 5 PM Eastern on October 15th if the World Series is cancelled). 

Among the notable Cubs first-time Rule 5 Draft eligibles post-2023 are RHSPs Daniel Palencia, Porter Hodge, and Max Bain, LHSPs DJ Herz and Luke Little, RHRP Ben Leeper, LHRP Bailey Horn, C Ethan Hearn, INFs Kevin Made and Reggie Preciado, 1B Matt Mervis, and OF Jordan Nwogu.  

Some of the noteworthy Cubs minor leaguers who were eligible for selection in the 2022 Rule 5 Draft and who will be eligible again in 2023 include RHSPs Riley Thompson, Luis Devers, Kohl Franklin, and Richard Gallardo, C Pablo Aliendo, INFs Chase Strumpf, Jake Slaughter, Andy Weber, and Levi Jordan, 1B Bryce Ball, and OFs Darius Hill, Yohendrick Pinango and Cole Roederer.    

The most noteworthy Cubs minor leaguers who will be eligible to be an MLB Rule 9 minor league free-agent for the first time post-2023 (if the player is not added to the 40 or signs a 2024 minor league successor contract prior to being declared a 6YFA at 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series) are LHSP Brailyn Marquez, RHRP Manuel Rodriguez, Danis Correa, and Yovanny Cruz, LHRP Anthony Kay and Brendon Little, and INF-OF Jared Young.   

The most noteworthy Cubs minor leaguer who will be eligible to be a Rule 9 minor league free-agent once again post-2023 (if he is not added to the 40 or signs a 2024 minor league successor contract prior to being declared a 6YFA at 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series) is OF Yonathan Perlaza.   

There are almost always one or two unexpected pop-up break-out guys every season, so a lot is still TBD.  

NOTE: If not added to the MLB 40-man roster, the players underlined and in bold below will likely be placed on the 38-man AAA Iowa reserve list on 11/15 so that they will be eligible for selection only in the Major League Phase of the 2023 Rule 5 Draft. 

CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS ELIGIBLE FOR SELECTION IN 2023 RULE 5 DRAFT (last updated 1-24-2023):
Pablo Aliendo, C 
Elian Almanzar, RHP
Ezequiel Alvarez, INF-OF 
Jose Aquino, LHP 
D. J. Artis, OF
Max Bain, RHP 
Bryce Ball, 1B
Brad Beesley, OF 
Hunter Bigge, RHP
David Bote, INF (Article XX-D player)
Yovanny Cabrera, RHP 
Burl Carraway, LHP 
Derek Casey, RHP
Bradford Deppermann, RHP
Christian Donahue, INF 
Luis Devers, RHP
Jefferson Encarnacion, OF 
Manuel Espinoza, RHP 
Miguel Fabrizio, C-1B
Anderson Feliz, RHP 
Kohl Franklin, RHP
Richard Gallardo, RHP
Reivaj Garcia, INF
Saul Gonzalez, RHP  
Ethan Hearn, C  
DJ Herz, LHP 
Darius Hill, OF
Porter Hodge, RHP 
Bailey Horn, LHP 
Joel Jimenez, RHP 
Levi Jordan, INF
Chris Kachmar, RHP
Caleb Knight, C
Scott Kobos, LHP 
Trey Lang, RHP 
Adam Laskey, LHP
Ben Leeper, RHP  
Luke Little, LHP 
Joel Machado, LHP
Kevin Made, INF 
Nelson Maldonado, 1B
Luis Marte, RHP
Michael McAvene, RHP
Scott McKeon, INF 
Ismael Mena, OF 
Matt Mervis, 1B 
Gregori Montano, RHP 
Juan Mora, INF
Cristian More, OF 
Rafael Morel, INF 
Joe Nahas, RHP   
Jordan Nwogu, OF 
Johzan Oquendo, RHP 
Miguel Pabon, INF-C
Ezequiel Pagan, OF
Daniel Palencia, RHP 
Jack Patterson, LHP 
Fabian Pertuz, INF 
Yohendrick Pinango, OF
Reggie Preciado, INF 
Sheldon Reed, RHP 
Bailey Reid, RHP 
Malcom Quintero, C
Ronnier Quintero, C 
Esteban Quiroz, INF (Article XX-D player) 
Jake Reindl, RHP 
Samuel Rodriguez, LHP  
Cole Roederer, OF
Lizardo Ruiz, INF 
Andricson Salvador, LHP 
Cam Sanders, RHP
Yeison Santana, INF
Tyler Schlaffer, RHP 
Jake Slaughter, INF
Felix Stevens, 1B-OF
Chase Strumpf, INF
Esmarly Tatis, INF 
Riley Thompson, RHP
Sam Thoresen, RHP
Cayne Ueckert, RHP 
Luis Verdugo, INF
Jake Washer, C 
Andy Weber, INF 
Jacob Wetzel, OF 
Blake Whitney, RHP
Brad Wieck, LHP (Article XX-D player) 
Bryce Windham, C-INF

Additionally, a free-agent who signs a 2024 minor league contract prior to the 2023 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.

SIX-YEAR MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENTS POST-2023:
Sergio Alcantara, INF (Article XX-D player - out of minor league options if added to the 40)
Ryan Borucki, LHP (Article XX-D player - out of minor league options if added to the 40)
Craig Brooks, RHP (if reinstated from Restricted List)
Nick Burdi, RHP (Article XX-D player)
Jesus Camargo, RHP (if reinstated from Restricted List)
Danis Correa, RHP
Yovanny Cruz, RHP
Zach Davis, OF
Ben DeLuzio, OF
Roenis Elias, LHP (Article XX-D player - out of minor league options if added to the 40)
Stephen Gonsalves, LHP (Article XX-D player - out of minor league options if added to the 40)
Ben Hecht, RHP 
Josue Huma, INF 
Anthony Kay, LHP (Article XX-D player)
Brendon Little, LHP 
Brailyn Marquez, LHP 
Nick Neidert, RHP 
Vinny Nittoli, RHP (Article XX-D player) 
Dom Nunez, C 
Eduarniel Nunez, RHP 
Yonathan Perlaza, OF
Peyton Remy, RHP 
Samuel Reyes, RHP  
Manuel Rodriguez, RHP (Article XX-D player)
Tim Susnara, C 
Eric Stout, LHP (Article XX-D player)
Mike Tauchman, OF (Article XX-D player - out of minor league options if added to the 40)
Luis Torrens, C (Article XX-D player - out of minor league options if added to the 40)
Didier Vargas, LHP 
Luis Vazquez, INF 
Jared Young, INF-OF (Article XX-D player) 

SECOND CONTRACT MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS (see NOTE-3 below)
Michael Arias, RHP (previously released by TOR)
Andres Bonalde, LHP (on Restricted List - previously released by CUBS)
Stanley Guzman, RHP (previously released by TEX)
Kyle Johnson, RHP (previously released by NYY)
Fraiman Marte, RHP (previously released by STL) 
Abel Moya, RHP (previously released by LAD)
Dalton Stambaugh, LHP (previously released by BAL)
NOTE-3: With mutual consent (player & club), a second-contract minor league player who has accrued fewer than seven minor league seasons can be signed to a multi-year minor league contract with club control extending up through the player's seventh minor league season. So it is possible that one or more of the Cubs minor league second contract players are signed beyond the 2023 season (TBD).
  

 

 

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Comments

Thanks for all this useful info you've produced over the years.  It's nice to come back to it as the season (and years) roll by for reference.  It's some of the most useful Cubs system info around that wouldn't ordinarily be readily available.

Phil, interested to hear your thoughts on the Phillies taking Noah Song from the Red Sox in the Rule 5 Draft. I'd venture to guess that there hasn't been an active Major Leaguer on the Military Leave list in decades...

Phil - Can you help me understand why players like Walker Powell, Bailey Horn, Jarod Wright, Chase Watkins, Tyler Santana, Liam Spence, Ed Howard, BJ Murray, and Casey Opitz are NOT Rule 5 eligible next year. They're all entering their third year in the Cubs organization and were never teenagers in the system. I never seem to understand these exceptions. Maybe it has something to do with the 2020 COVID season??? Thanks!

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In reply to by Wrigley Rat

W-RAT: 

To determine Rule 5 Draft eligibility, you need to know three things 

1. What was the official signing date of the player's first contract? 

2. How old was the player on the June 5th prior to signing his first contract? 

3.  What was the last day of the regular season of the minor league affiliate to which the player was first assigned?

A player who was 19 or older on the June 5th prior to signing his first contract is eligible for selection in the fourth Rule 5 Draft after his first "qualified season," and a player who was 18 or younger on the June 5th prior to signing his first contract is eligible for selection in the fifth Rule 5 Draft after his first "qualified season." 

So despite what you might read elsewhere on the internet,  Rule 5 Draft eligibility is - NOT - about whether the player was a high school player or college player. It is 100% about the player's - AGE - on the June 5th prior to signing his first contract.   

For Rule 5 Draft eligibility purposes (only), a player's first "qualified season" depends on if the player was signed before or after the conclusion of the regular season of the minor league affiliate to which he is first assigned.

Also, Rule 5 Draft eligibility has absolutely nothing to do with when the player played in his first pro game. The only relevant point is the date the player officially signed his first contract, even if he doesn't play in a game for two years. Doesn't matter.  

For example, in 2015 the Cubs signed a number of high-value international free-agents (SS Aramis Ademan, 2B Luis Diaz, OF Jose Gutierrez, LHP Brailyn Marquez, RHP Hector Matos, SS Christopher Morel, C Henderson Perez, RHP Yunior Perez, INF Yonathan Perlaza, and OF Jonathan Sierra) on August 23rd, which just so happened to be the day - AFTER - the conclusion of the DSL regular season.

Isn't that something? The Cubs best IFA prospects in 2015 all signed on the VERY SAME DAY!, which just coincidentally happened to be the day AFTER the conclusion of the DSL regular season, which meant they would not be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft until post-2020, instead of post-2019 (if they had signed just a day earlier).  

Therefore, even though Morel and the others were signed prior to the end of the U. S. (domestic) minor league seasons which concluded the first week of September, it was after the conclusion of the DSL season, and so it was 2016 (NOT 2015) that was considered Morel's first "qualified season." And so he was not eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft until 2020 (not 2019), which was the SIXTH Rule 5 Draft after he actually signed (2015), but only the FIFTH Rule 5 Draft after his first "qualified season" (2016)! Even Fangraphs got that one wrong. 

Because most players who sign after the First-Year Player Draft sign prior to the conclusion of the minor league season of the affiliate to which the player is first assigned, what happened with Morel is usually only possible with international free-agents. However, sometimes a drafted player or a NDFA (like a college senior with no eligibility left) signs after the signing deadline.

This happened with INF Christian Donahue, a college senior (Oregon State) with no eligibility left, who signed on August 26, 2017, AFTER the conclusion of the AZL Cubs regular season (Donahue was initially assigned to the AZL Cubs reserve list). In that case, Donahue was not Rule 5 Draft eligible until the FIFTH Rule 5 Draft after he signed (instead of the FOURTH Rule 5 Draft after he signed)  because the year he actually signed (2017) was not his first "qualified season." He signed too late (after the conclusion of the AZL Cubs season). BTW, Donahue participated in AZ Instructs the year he signed, but Instructs (and the AFL and Latin winter ball) don't count toward that season being considered the player's first "qualified season."   

Also, sometimes a high school player turns 19 prior to June 5th. This happened with Dillon Maples a few years. Even though he was a high school draft pick, he had been held back a year sometime earlier in his life, and so he turned 19 on May 11, 2011, prior to June 5th the year he was drafted and signed (2011). So even though he was a high school player, he was eligible for selection in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft, just as if he had been a college player when he was drafted.  

So it isn't just a matter of being a high school player versus a college draft pick that determines Rule 5 Draft eligibility.  What ACTUALLY matters is how old the player was on the June 5th prior to signing his first contract. Again, it is all about the player's AGE on June 5th, not whether he was a high school or college draft pick. 

Which brings us to 2020.... 

What happened in 2020? 

CoViD-19.

And the minor league season was canceled. 

But it wasn't - OFFICIALLY - canceled (by MLB) until June 30th. 

So the conundrum about the 2020 season is... what about players who signed that year? Was 2020 their first "qualified season" toward Rule 5 eligibility, even though the minor league season was canceled? 

Or, for players who signed prior to the minor league season being canceled on June 30th (Beesley, Carraway, Horn, L. Little, McKeon, Mervis, Reed, and Wetzel), was that their first "qualified season" toward Rule 5 Draft eligibility, but not for players who signed after the minor league season was officially canceled (Kobos, Leeper, Nwogu, Reid, and Thoresen)? This also affects whether Pete Crow-Armstrong, Owen Caissie, and Koen Moreno will be Rule 5 Draft eligible post-2024 or post-2025. 

Or is 2020 considered the first "qualified season" for ALL players who signed that year, even though the minor league season was canceled? 

Or will 2021 be considered the first "qualified season" for ALL players who signed in 2020?  

I do know that MLB and the MLBPA agreed that the canceled 2020 minor league season WOULD count toward the number of seasons a player requires before he can be a minor league 6YFA.  

So as of right now, I have listed ALL of the players who were 19 or older on June 5, 2020, who signed in 2020 after the draft (Mervis, Leeper, Nwogu, et al) either after being drafted (the draft was cut-back to five rounds in 2020) or as a post-draft NDFA, as being Rule 5 Draft eligible post-2023 (see my list above).

BUT THAT IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE!!! 

Because I have not yet received a clear definitive answer to the question of whether or not the 2020 season will be considered the first "qualified season" for players who signed that year.  

Stay tuned!

Thanks for all this info Phil. You rule.

Who, in your opinion, are the locks to be added next November? And who else can jump into that conversation?

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In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

DJL: RHSP Daniel Palencia, LHSP DJ Herz, LHSP Luke Little,  and RHSP Porter Hodge are the best pitching prospects coming up for first time Rule 5 eligibility post-2023, and 1B Matt Mervis, SS Kevin Made, and OF Jordan Nwogu are the best first-time Rule 5 Draft eligible position-player prospects.

At least as of right now. 

However, given the way the Cubs played "chicken" with the Rule 5 Draft in 2022 (and got away with it!), it's possible that some of the better prospects might not be protected if they are deemed too far away and/or risky.   

Obviously Mervis and RHRP Ben Leeper are near MLB-ready so they could get called up at anytime, maybe even on Opening Day.

LHRP Bailey Horn is another possibility to get called up in 2023, since he will likely get an NRI to Spring Training and begin the season at AAA, and (at least right now) the Cubs don't have a lot of lefty options in the bullpen

And then there are the guys who were Rule 5 Draft eligible this year and didn't get selected, like RHSP Riley Thompson, RHRP Cam Sanders, RHSP Luis Devers, OF Darius Hill, OF Yohendrick Pinango, INF Chase Strumpf, RHSP Kohl Franklin, et al, and they will be a step closer to MLB this time next year and so could be more in-line to get added to the 40.

And then there are the minor league free-agents post-2023, most notably OF Yonathan Perlaza, RHRP Danis Correa, RHRP Yovanny Cruz, LHRP Brendon Little, and LHSP Brailyn Marquez. If the Cubs want to retain a player eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2023 and the player is unwilling to sign a 2024 minor league successor contract, the only way to keep the player is to add him to the 40 after the World Series (although it's fairly likely that Correa and B. Little will be called up to Chicago sometime during the 2023 season).    

Something to keep in mind about the 2023 Cubs:

Cubs top prospect CF Pete Crow-Armstrong is at the same place right now that 2022 N. L. Rookie of the Year Michael Harris was in the Braves system this time last year. (Harris played at Hi-A in 2021 and was rated the Braves top prospect coming into the 2022 season). 

So things can happen in a hurry. 

PCA will get an NRI to MLB Spring Training, and while he almost certainly will not make the Cubs Opening Day MLB roster, if he lights it up at AA (like Harris did), he could conceivably skip AAA and go directly from AA to MLB.

Just sayin'.  

One of the questions yet to be answered is who the Cubs will drop from their MLB reserve list (40-man roster) if they sign more free-agents than they have roster slots available. 

At present the Cubs have four slots open on the 40, but two of them will go to Cody Bellinger and Jameson Taillon once their signings become official.  

That leaves two slots open for a FA catcher (presuming they don't trade for one) and a FA SP (again, presuming they don't trade for one). 

If the Cubs sign a SS, Nico Hoerner moves to 2B, and Nick Madrigal is gone. If the Cubs do not sign a SS, then Madrigal stays and is the Cubs starting 2B and Hoerner remains the SS. Madrigal has no value as a utility player because he can only play 2B, and he certainly isn't somebody you would want to use as a DH. 

One thing unique about Madrigal is that he is eligible for salary arbitration as a "Super Two," and Super Two players have the right to elect free-agency if outrighted, and if the player has not been outrighted previously in his career (and Madrigal has not been outrighted previously in his career), a Super Two player must elect free-agency immediately upon being outrighted if he wants to be a FA (he actually has 72 hours to decide). So he can't defer free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular like Article XX-D players can.  

Also, if Madrigal files for salary arbitration prior to being outrighted and then elects free-agency, the Cubs are on the hook for 100% of whatever Madrigal requested in arbitration. All arbitration requests will be delivered by the MLB LRD to the MLBPA on Friday, January 13th, so figure the Cubs will need to DFA Madrigal before that date in order to avoid having to pay Madrigal's requested salary as termination pay if he elects free-agency after being outrighted. If he is outrighted prior to January 13th and then elects free-agency, his termination pay is whatever the Cubs offered him when they tendered him his contract (likely the MLB minimum salary because that's the minimum required to make the salary tender valid, even though he is going to make much more than the MLB minimum salary if he files for arbitration).

The other player most like to be dropped from the 40 to make room for a FA is 1B Alfonso Rivas, especially if it is to make room for a 1B-DH type like Trey Mancini. Rivas does NOT have the right to elect free-agency if he is outrighted, but there is a reasonable chance that he would get claimed off waivers by a bottom-feeder (like OAK, WAS or DET).  

So I would expect the Cubs to DFA Madrigal (if they sign a SS) and Rivas (if they sign a 1B-DH) and then wait out the seven day DFA period, with the hope that they can get at least a second-tier prospect back in a trade before they risk losing the player off waivers for $50,000. 

So again, Bellinger and Taillon take roster slots #37 and #38, a catcher would take #39, and as SP would take #40. Madrigal gets dropped ONLY if the Cubs sign Correa or Swanson, and Rivas gets dropped if the Cubs sign a 1B-DH.    

If the Cubs sign a couple of veteran relievers (probably one LH and one RH) to MLB contracts,-- and I believe they will, then the Cubs will drop an equal number of relievers from the 40, from among Erich Uelmen, Michael Rucker, and Mark Leiter Jr.  

Leiter is out of minor league options as of 2023 (which is why I do not understand why he was tendered a contract) and Rucker and Leiter can elect free-agency if outrighted, so either Leiter (because he is out of options) or Uelmen (because he cannot elect free-agency if outrighted) would probably get axed off the 40 before Rucker. Like Leiter, Rucker can elect free-agency if he is outrighted, but unlike Leiter but like Uelmen, he has minor league options left (so he is fungible).  

One other player who could get dropped from the 40 to make room for a FA is INF Zach McKinstry. However, because he is an MLB Rule 9 player (that is, he would have been declared a minor league 6YFA on the fifth day after the World Series if he had not been on the MLB 40-man roster at that time), he cannot be outrighted unless and until he signs a 2023 MLB contract. Knowing that and probably not wanting to be outrighted, his agent would likely tell McKinstry to not sign his 2023 contract until he arrives at Spring Training. That's why I was puzzled by the Cubs tendering McKinstry a contract last month. 

One player not likely to be dropped from the 40 is INF-OF Miles Mastrobuoni, acquired from the Rays prior to the roster filing deadline last month. Unlike INF Rylan Bannon (claimed by the Cubs off waivers and then lost off waivers a couple of weeks later), Mastrobuoni was not a "why not?" waiver claim.  The Cubs gave up a decent RP prospect (Alfredo Zarraga) to get Mastrobuoni, and so I doubt very much that they would risk losing him off waivers just to open up a 40-man roster slot.   

Also, unlike McKinstry (who is out of minor league options as of 2023), Mastrobuoni has three minor league option years available, making him an ideal Chicago - Des Moines shuttle guy for the next three seasons. So therefore McKinstry is far more likely to get dropped from the 40 than Mastrobuoni, although it may not be by outright assignment (unless the Cubs offer McKinstry extra money to sign immediately so he can be outrighted prior to Spring Training).   

There are four other players on the 40 (Alexander Canario,  Ethan Roberts, Miguel Amaya, and Brennen Davis) who are rehabbing from injuries and therefore could be placed on the MLB 60-day on the first day of Spring Training (the day pitchers & catchers report) or any other time during Spring Training if additional 40-man roster slots are needed.

Roberts would go on the 60-day IL first, because the Cubs can option Canario, Amaya, and Davis to the minors (even though they are injured or rehabbing from an injury) and  thereby avoid paying them their MLB split salary and keep them from accruing MLB Service Time because they did not accrue any MLB Service Time in 2022. (Roberts did accrue MLB Service Time in 2022, so he cannot be optioned to the minors until he is healthy enough to pitch).  

However, even though a club can wait up to twenty days to place a player signed as a free-agent on the 40, most if not all of the free-agents the Cubs will sign will probably be signed way too early to have their roster slots opened by way of placing Canario, Roberts, and/or Amaya on the 60-day IL.

However, the Cubs might be able to convince one or two of the free-agents they sign to initially sign a minor league contract, with the promise that they will absolutely, positively, be added to the 40 on the first day of Spring Training. That could be one or both of the relievers, or maybe somebody like 1B Dominic Smith.  

[ ]

In reply to by George Altman

Someone on Twitter told me that even with Super Two status Madrigal will make just over 1mil. So even if it were 2mil, it sounds like he's staying through today. I hope he gets traded, but that's another discussion.

 

Cubs Twitter verse is saying Morel and Velazquez are or need to go to Iowa.

If that's true, who are our 13 bats?

Gomes/Barnhart

Hosmer / Mervis (think that's solid chance)

Nico / Madrigal

Swanson

Wisdom / McKinstry

Happ

Bellinger

Suzuki

4th OF? Who gets this spot if Morel and Velazquez are Optioned? Not BDavis

Sign DPeralta?

Any thoughts?

So, will the Cubs be serious competitors for Swanson, or have they been priced out of shortstop free agency? Options to upgrade the offensive have narrowed quickly.

[ ]

In reply to by Charlie

the cubs aren't priced out of any free agent on the market, now or in the past.  whether they will take the money they've not spent the past many years and even more available this year and spend it on the team is up to them.  they even have a share of the 900m MLB just made for selling it's remaining BAM Tech share to Disney coming (for all 30 teams).  money was never the issue.

they sure as hell have a lot less options to spend on, though...and 29 other teams have a payday from that BAMTech money coming, too.  that sale was completed just last month.

As is the case every year, the MLB Commissioner's Office in NYC will be closed over the holidays, beginning tomorrow (12/24) and extending through Monday 1/2. That's why there has been a bit of a rush to get things done before Saturday. 

During the time that the office is closed, contracts and trades can be consummated and filed, but they cannot be officially approved by the Commissioner until 1/3. So "official" 40-man roster moves will be frozen for about ten days. 

Also, all waiver activity will stop for ten days. A player cannot be placed onto waivers while the office is closed, and if a player was placed on waivers yesterday or today, he will not clear waivers until after the first of the year.

Same thing with players who have been Designated for Assignment this week. The DFA period will not expire after the normal seven days. It will be extended into the first week of January, allowing a club to place a player who was Designated for Assignment this week onto waivers on 1/3, with the "waiver ride" (and DFA period) ending on 1/5.

That doesn't mean a player who was Designated for Assignment this week can't be traded over the holidays. It's just that the trade won't be official until 1/3.  

Also, if a player is released he must first pass through Outright Release Waivers before he is free to sign with another club, so if a player was placed on Release Waivers yesterday or today, he won't be free to sign with a new club until Outright Release Waivers have been secured after the first of the year. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

The MLB office re-opened at 9 AM Eastern this morning (1/3) after being closed for ten days over the holidays, so the waiver process and the DFA clock are back up again. 

Any player who was placed on Outright Assignment or Outright Release waivers two days prior to Christmas Eve (12/22) will complete his "waiver ride" today, any player who was placed on Outright Assignment or Outright Release waivers the day prior to Christmas Eve (12/23) will complete his waiver ride tomorrow (1/4), and any player who was Designated for Assignment less than five days prior to the holidays up through last Thursday will need to be placed on  Outright Assignment Waivers today (1/3) if not traded prior to 2 PM (Eastern). 

In the case of Eric Hosmer, he was released by the Red Sox on Thursday 12/22 and so he would have been placed on Outright Release waivers that day, and so therefore he would have cleared release waivers today at 2 PM (Eastern) and would be free to sign with any MLB club as of that point in time. That's why the Cubs couldn't sign him any earlier than today. 

In regards to the Cubs signing RHRP Vinny Nittoli to a 2023 minor league contract today.... 

Nittoli was Designated for Assignment by Philadelphia last week after the Phillies acquired RHRP Erich Uelmen from the Cubs for "cash considerations" (in excess of the $50,000 waiver price, probably more like $100K), but the reason it could not just have been a simple one-for-one trade instead of two separate seemingly unrelated transactions is that the Cubs did not have room on the MLB 40-man roster for Nittoli (that's why they DFA'd Uelmen), and Nittoli had Draft Excluded Player status, so he could not be sent outright to the minors until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day.

So for the Cubs to get Nittoli and be able to assign him to their AAA Iowa roster (which is obviously what they wanted to do), Nittoli - HAD TO - (first) be released by the Phils.

If he was acquired by the Cubs and then released, he could not be added back to the Cubs 40-man roster until May 15th. But because the Phils released him and then the Cubs signed him, he could conceivably win a spot in the Cubs Opening Day MLB bullpen. 

He also could not have been acquired by the Cubs and then have been outrighted to the minors, because of his Draft Excluded Player status, which precludes him from being outrighted to the minors for another couple of months.

[ ]

In reply to by Cubster

Per Baseball America, January 15 update: 

Chicago Cubs ($5,284,000)

Derniche Valdez, SS, Dominican Republic
Ludwing Espinoza, SS, Venezuela
Angel Cepeda, SS, Dominican Republic
Brailin Pascual, SS, Dominican Republic
Omar Ferrera, SS, Dominican Republic

Jostin Florentino, RHP, Dominican Republic
Albert Gutierrez, 3B, Dominican Republic
Miguel Cruz, LHP, Dominican Republic
Emmanoel Madeira, RHP, Brazil
Grenyerbert Velasquez, 3B, Venezuela
Daniel Campos, C, Venezuela

[ ]

In reply to by videographer

Because they signed Article XX-B FA Dansby Swanson, the Cubs will have $500K subtracted from their International Signing Period (ISP) International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) in 2024, so the Swanson signing doesn't affect the Cubs signing international free agents this year, but it will next year. 

On a positive note, after a two-year moratorium on trading ISBP Signing Bonus Values (SBV), SBV can once again be traded beginning with the start of the 2023 ISP that began ten days ago, so a penalized club can recover some of its lost ISBP via trade. 

ISBP SBV can be traded only in increments of $250K (including multiples of $250K), unless a club is trading the balance of its ISBP in one transaction. A club can trade 100% of its assigned ISBP during the course of the ISP if it so desires. However, a club can only add 60% of its assigned ISBP via trade or trades.

ISBP SBV acquired via a trade or trades can be flipped to a third club, but SBV cannot be sold for cash and cannot be substituted for a PTBNL.  

ISBP SBV can only be traded during the ISP (January 15th through December 15th), and SBV acquired via a trade or trades cannot be used in the next ISP. With one exception, any potion of a club's ISBP not spent goes away at the end of the ISP. 

The one exception is that a club can carry-over ISBP space from one ISP to the next ISP if a player's contract is voided as the result of the player failing his physical or being unable to obtain a visa to the U. S., or if an investigation by the MLB Commissioner determines the player falsified his age and/or identity prior to signing the contract. It  does not apply to contracts voided by the MLB Commissioner as a result of a rules violation by the club.

Bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count against a club's ISBP. 

Using COTS, current AAV payroll for 2023 is $215,929,047.

 

With a CBT Threshold of $233,000,000 that leaves $17,070,593 of AAV Space.

 

That reflects revised Arbitration salaries for Happ, Hoerner, Madrigal, & Heuer. Also MLB minimums for Auto-Renewal players most likely to make the 26-man and IL (Hosmer, Wisdom, Mervis, Steele, Wesneski, K. Thompson, Alzolay, Hughes, & Roberts). And Hendricks.

 

Position Players: Barnhart, Gomes, Hosmer, Mancini, Hoerner, Swanson, Wisdom, Happ, Bellinger, Suzuki, Morel, Madrigal, Mervis or NRI.

 

Pitchers: Stroman, Steele, Taillion, Smyly, Wesneski, K. Thompson, Alzolay, Samson, Hughes, Boxberger, Wick, Hendricks, Heuer, Roberts.

 

If the Cubs reserve $8-9M for trade deadline, IL, and bonuses, that leaves about $8,000,000 for 1-2 RPs.

 

Of course, trades would change those numbers. Not as dire as some Cubs boards are posting.

[ ]

In reply to by George Altman

recently signed mike tauchman (returning to the US from korea) and andrew chafin share an agent, fwiw.  meister management is an older agency, but they don't carry a lot of high-end clients these days.  their "star" client is brett gardner (NYY).  they also represent ex-cubs john andreoli, james norwood, and blake parker so there's a relationship there.

I cannot understand any argument for keeping Madrigal, given how this current Roster is constructed. Absent a significant long IL stint for Hoerner, what is his value to this team over a Darius Hill-type LH hitting OF? Also, I cannot see any type of 'exciting' return for him. 

[ ]

In reply to by George Altman

off the bench he's a great tool because if you want contact without K'ing to move a runner, that's your dude.  guy on 2nd, 0-1 outs, want to get that runner on 3rd or home...etc...

good D and his value right now is rather low compared to the cost to pick him up years ago.  if they have the room to keep him for a while and get him favorable ABs off the bench and regulars-rest starts, he could rediscover some of his value given the club control left on him.  if things go as planned, the team will need mid-season talent for trades.

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

Nick Madrigal has value as a starting MLB second-baseman for any team that doesn't have one, and in fact prior to the Cubs signing Dansby Swanson (which moved Nico Hoerner back to 2B), Madrigal was the leading candidate to be the Cubs starting 2B in 2023. 

Unfortunately, Madrigal has a rag arm that limits him defensively to playing 2B (or DH), and most all MLB clubs want slugging out of the DH position. 

By my reckoning, there are probably just four MLB clubs that could use a starting 2B at the present time: the Red Sox, the Pirates, the White, Sox, and the Nationals. 

The Cubs are not likely to get a Top 20 prospect back for Madrigal no matter where he is traded, meaning a player from the other club's 40-man roster would probably be the best the Cubs can hope to get back in return.  

But that actually isn't a problem, because unlike last  season, the Cubs do appear to be at least attempting to piece together a borderline N. L. Central Division (if not N. L. Wild Card) contending team for 2023 while waiting for their top prospects to develop. And as such, taking back a more-useful 40-man roster piece than Madrigal in a trade isn't necessarily a bad thing. 

As far as the type of player the Cubs might be able to get back in a trade involving Madrigal, I had mentioned here last month that trading Madrigal to the Red Sox for 3B-1B-DH Bobby Dalbec might be a good fit for both teams, but that was before the Cubs signed Trey Mancini. However, Dalbec is still the type of player the Cubs should be able to get back for Madrigal (same MLB Service Time class as Madrigal and, like Madrigal, a misfit with his present club). Like Madrigal, Dalbec can be optioned to the minors if he doesn't make the MLB 26-man roster, and while he has a similar profile as Patrick Wisdom (HR hitting third-baseman who strikes out a lot), Dalbec is four years younger than Wisdom and still has time to develop into a more-complete MLB player, and so he could possibly replace Wisdom at 3B or Mancini as the RH DH in 2024. 

The Pirates signed LHRP Jarlin Garcia to a contract very soon after he was non-tendered by the Giants in November ($2.5M in 2023 a $3.25M club option with no buy-out in 2024), probably with the intent to flip him at the trade deadline. But Garcia would fit a Cubs need right now (a veteran LHRP who can be had for Brad Boxberger money), and if the Cubs were to send Madrigal and a LHRP with MLB upside like Brendon Little or Bailey Horn to the Pirates, they might be able to acquire Garcia immediately, instead of having to wait until the trade deadline. 

With closer Liam Hendricks out indefinitely while battling cancer, the White Sox almost certainly would not trade a bullpen arm (even a middle reliever) for Madrigal, but switch-hitting INF-OF Leuris Garcia ($5.5M AAV through 2024) is the utility player Madrigal is not, and while he has too much MLB Service Time time to be a fungible bench guy, Garcia is a switch-hitter who can play anywhere. He is signed through 2024 and could be a decent super-sub utility player for the next couple of seasons.  If a salary offset is required to make the AAV work for both clubs, the David Bote ($3M through 2024) and Nick Madrigal ($1.225M in 2023 then under control through arbitration through 2026) combined AAVs are close to Garcia's.    

But of the four MLB clubs I mentioned who are likely in the market for a starting 2B, the Nationals could be the best fit of all for a Madrigal trade. It probably would require including OF Nelson Velazquez and possibly a minor league RP with MLB upside like Cam Sanders or Danis Correa along with Madrigal, but OF Lane Thomas ($2.2M AAV) and RHRP Tanner Rainey ($1.5M AAV) would be the type of return the Cubs could possibly get back in a trade involving Madrigal.

Thomas is one of the best 4th OF in MLB (not especially useful to a non-contender) and would be a good RH complement with Cody Bellinger in CF in 2023, as well as backing up all three OF spots. He is under control via arbitration through 2025, and so he could function as a fourth OF until whenever the Cubs other OF prospects are actually ready for The Show, and then he could be easily jettisoned.

Rainey is (was) the Nats closer, but he underwent TJS this past July and will likely miss the entire 2023 season. However, like Thomas, Rainey is under club control via arbitration through the 2025 season, and presuming he comes back 100% from the TJS, he could be the Cubs closer in 2024 and 2025.  

So while Madrigal is clearly no longer a fit with the Cubs, all is not lost. He could be a fit with the Red Sox, White Sox, Pirates, or Nationals. 

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

Madrigal might be a RH La Stella and be able to hit off the bench. He might. No clue. No shift now. He could punch the ball thru the infield with his contact skills. But his defense is scary to me. 

What scares me a little right now is that Morel, McKinstry, Wisdom and Mancini are the backup OFs. So, Morel is only backup CF that's passable. For a team built on defense that's a bit lite. 

AZ Phil once wrote the Ben DeLuxio could be 4th OF guy who plays CF and pinch runs. 

What that make more sense than having Madrigal or McKinstry?

But Morel has to be on the 26-man roster. He could start at 3B, but he's absolutely the backup SS and CF as of today.

Therefore, to me, Madrigal hasn't made the team, yet. McKinstry being LH with his defensive versatility gives him a spot. Unless Mastrobuoni just kills in ST and shows he's better than McKinstry. But, Mastrobuoni can be hid in Iowa with his option.

DeLuzio as the 4th OF is still unique to me. He'd serve a direct job. Maybe when Bellinger doesn't start in CF, Morel starts in CF, but DeLuzio finishes in CF.

Hoerner is the backup shortstop.

I’ve seen no evidence that McKinstry can hit. 

[ ]

In reply to by azbobbop

Can't argue with no evidence of McKinstry hitting. So, let's hope Mastrobuoni's AAA stats translate better than McKinstry's. 

I get that Hoerner slides to SS when Swanson gets a day off, or do to injury. So, Morel isn't the backup SS (even though I think he's a natural SS). So, as of today, he's the only backup CF on the 40-man roster that I see.  I guess an argument can be make for Happ there in a pinch.

Someone made a good point the other day of not needing to project a 26-man roster right now. But, that's simply not fun.

[ ]

In reply to by Childersb3

childersb3: Nelson Velazquez plays all three OF positions, and in fact he played more CF than LF or RF in 2022 (combined MLB / minors). Also, unlike Christopher Morel, Velazquez is a natural OF, while Morel is learning to play OF on the "fly" (so to speak). 

That doesn't mean that Morel won't be the Cubs' 4th OF and occasional platoon mate with Cody Bellinger in CF in 2023, but Morel has more upside than Velazquez and would no doubt benefit from additional seasoning at AAA, both at the plate and in the field (where multi-positional defensive versatility is his likely future).   

I mentioned some potential trades involving Nick Madrigal here a couple of days ago, and one involved acquiring OF Lane Thomas from the Nationals in a deal that would also include sending Velazquez back to the Nats. That still stands, even if it's just Velazquez for Thomas straight-up. Thomas would be a perfect fit as both 4th OF and an occasional platoon with Bellinger in CF. 

Why would the Nationals be interested in such a trade? Velazquez came into last season as the Cubs #15 prospect (BA), so he has a prospect pedigree, and he just turned 24 last month, and he has six years of club control remaining.  

[ ]

In reply to by Childersb3

childersb3: I'll project the Cubs 2023 MLB Opening Day lineup: 

I presume Corbin Burnes will be the Brewers' SP, so.... 

1. Ian Happ, LF 
2. Dansby Swanson, SS 
3. Seiya Suzuki, RF 
4. Cody Bellinger, CF
5. Trey Mancini, DH 
6. Eric Hosmer, 1B
7. Nico Hoerner, 2B 
8. Patrick Wisdom, 3B 
9. Tucker Barnhart, C 
SP: Marcus Stroman 

BENCH:
Yan Gomes, C 
Zach McKinstry, INF (out of options, or else DFA'd)
Nelson Velazquez, OF (unless Cubs acquire a RH hitting veteran MLB 4th OF)
TBD (could be Mervis or Morel, or both if McKinstry gets DFA'd)

STARTING ROTATION AFTER STROMAN: 
Jameson Tailon 
Drew Smyly
Justin Steele (out of options)
Adrian Sampson 

PEN (alphabetical): 
Adbert Alzolay (out of options)
Brad Boxberger
Brandon Hughes
Julian Merryweather (out of options, or else DFA'd)
Michael Rucker 
Keegan Thompson 
Rowan Wick 
FA LEFTY TBA (still to be signed) 

60-DAY IL (if 40-MAN ROSTER SLOTS NEEDED): 
Ethan Roberts (he will be the first one to go on the 60-day IL)
Codi Heuer (but only if second slot needed, otherwise 10-day IL)
Kyle Hendricks (will likely be on the 10-day, not the 60-day IL IL) 

Also, I expect the Cubs to option Alexander Canario to AAA (which they can do even though he is injured,  only because he did not accrue any MLB Service Time last season), so he will NOT be placed on the MLB 60-day IL. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

And just for S & G, here is my projection for the Cubs Opening Day lineup in 2025: 

1. Pete Crow-Armstrong, CF 
2. Dansby Swanson, SS 
3. Seiya Suzuki, RF 
4. Matt Mervis, 1B 
5. Brennen Davis, LF 
6. Nico Hoerner, 2B 
7. Owen Caissie, DH 
8. Patrick Wisdom. 3B 
9. Miguel Amaya, C 
SP: Jameson Taillon 

BENCH: 
Pablo Aliendo, C 
Miles Mastrobuoni, INF-OF 
Christopher Morel, INF-OF 
TBD - probably an OF from amongst Velazquez, Canario (if he comes back 100% from his injuries), Perlaza, D. Hill, Pinango, or Roederer, but also could be Strumpf, Made, Verdugo, or Slaughter
NOTE: K. Alcantara ETA likely not until 2026 or 2027 as eventual replacement for Suzuki

ROTATION AFTER TAILLON: 
Justin Steele 
Hayden Wesneski
Jordan Wicks 
TBD (probably from among B. Brown, Kilian, Assad, Hodge, and Devers)  

BULLPEN (alphabetical):
Adbert Alzolay 
DJ Herz 
Brandon Hughes  
Keegan Thompson 
​​​​​​Rowan Wick (possible post-2023 or post-2024 non-tender)
AT LEAST THREE TBD (probably from among Palencia, Jensen, Leeper, Correa, Sanders, Leigh, Horn, and L. Little, or any of the left-over starters) 

Of course all of this presumes the Cubs will sign no free-agents between now & then, which is EXTREMELY unlikely. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

My way too early prediction is the Cubs go after either Matt Chapman or Machado next off-season. The pitching staff seems(hopefully) to not need any big signings. Maybe one if Stroman opts out. With the hitters really only Suzuki, Swanson, Hoerner are the only everyday players without opt outs or options. 

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

Ditto on the WBC. My pitching staff predictions:

 

Hendricks doesn't throw 20 IPs this year.

By May 1st the SPs are Stroman, Steele, Taillon, Smyly, & Wesneski.

MiRPs are K. Thompson, Alzolay, Sampson.

SiRPs are Hughes, Boxberger, the FA/LhRP, and an Iowa shuttle with Rucker, Estrada, Brown, et al until Heuer and Roberts come (If) back.

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

I didn't like how Jed handled Nelson V last year, sticking him on the bench with no regular ABs. But, he must not be apart of the bigger plans. So, having him stay in that 4th OF role and not get ABs in AAA seems to fit.

I've been with you on Madrigal being shipped out. But, him and Morel not on the roster would interesting to me. That's a lot of pressure on McKinstry to be at least somewhat productive. This would probably mean Mervis makes the roster out of ST and that's where the production is supposed to come from. So, this isn't out of the question. But, I thought with the Hosmer and Mancini combo and Mash playing in WBC that signaled Mash going to Iowa first.

I am 100% with you on adding a lefty RP (Moore or Chafin please!!).

Would rather have Wesneski in Wrigley though. Sampson can be a long man in pen. He goes in Merryweather's spot after he's DFA'd. I think Keegan or Alzolay get late inning role eventually.

But, I love the info Mr. Phil. Thanks as always!!

[ ]

In reply to by Childersb3

Childersb3 - I'm stuck on something that was said about Nelson Velazquez during the season last year (I think by Cubs' broadcasters, but can't remember). Nelson doesn't use any of the technology (iPads) during games to analyze his swing, the way he's pitched, etc. He believes more in basing things on feel and instinct. I WOULD be fine with that if he was having success, but as a rookie who was batting near the Mendoza line all season, he should have taken any and all advice offered to him (in my opinion).

Not sure if this is all true, if there's more or less to it, or if he's willing to change this year, but something about that really bothers me and makes me think the Cubs don't value him as much as the players right behind him who want to do everything in their power to improve. Since he still has trade value, he is a player I assume will be on the move to a team who values him more than the Cubs do.

[ ]

In reply to by azbobbop

Although it might seem obvious that Hoerner is the back-up  SS in 2023, in actual practive most managers do not move "regulars" around to fill-in for injured players.

For example, Alex Bregman was not moved back to SS when Carlos Correa was injured in 2021. and Manny Machado was not moved back to SS last year when Fernando Tatis was unavailable.

I think it's likely that once Hoerner moves to 2B that he will just stay there and never play SS again, and so the Cubs will carry another infielder on the 26-man roster capable of playing SS, most likely  Zach McKinstry (because he is out of minor league options), although it could be Mastrobuoni, Morel, or even Sergio Alcantara (depending on how things develop during the course of Spring Training).   

As for McKinstry, although he didn't show much at the plate with the Dodgers and Cubs in 2022, he has absolutely raked at AAA (323/401/550 in 489 PA). Also, while he has played only ten games at SS in MLB, he has played more games at SS than at 3B in the minors.  

Both Manuel Rodriguez AND Anthony Kay have been sent outright to AAA Iowa, so the Cubs successfully sneaked both through waivers (so congratulations to Jed & Co). Also, unlike Higgins and Leiter, neither ManRod nor Kay have the right to elect free-agency. 

The whole Madrigal playing 3rd thing feels like the Cubs trying to pitch his value to other teams to me. Not saying there's internal hope that he can actually pick it up, but more of a "see, he can do it" to others.

The depth options potentially coming out of spring training are interesting to me. I expect McKinstry will get some run, at least through June since they traded for him last July knowing he'll be out of options. I suspect whatever they saw in him they were able to flesh out and let him make those adjustments during the off-season. He raked in the minors and had some pretty good stints with the Dodgers(though it seems like everyone can hit while in a dodgers uniform.) He can also play 2B, 3B, LF, SS, and probably RF and CF decently if they asked him too.

But beyond that, Mancinis ability to moonlight in the corner outfield allows flexibility for Mervis if he forces the issue. Wisdom has the ability to play the 4 corners. Morel is athletic enough to not suck at multiple positions, and then there's multiple ways to go with that 13th guy. My money is on DiLuzio since he's 28, fast and can play a solid CF. Dont have to worry about getting him ABs since I doubt Bellinger signed with the Cubs to get platooned.

I asked this before, but I didn’t see a response… just how bad would Mervis be at 3B?  
 

It seems to me that if he’s at least sorta marginal, then there is a calculus that makes it worth getting the LHB in the lineup.  Especially if they are otherwise strong in the middle INF, and given that MM has an above avg (plus?) arm due to his pitching background. 

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In reply to by First.Pitch.120

As I have said here before several times, right now Matt Mervis is a DH. He is a true lug if there ever was one. Hopefully he will improve his agility sufficiently to be able to play defense at the MLB level, but I will believe that when I see it. Fortunately, the National League now has the DH, so an N. L. club can actually develop a player to be a DH.

All that said, it is very possible that Mervis will eventually be able to play at least a passable 1B at some point. He certainly has the size you would like in a first-baseman. He provides a really good target. Third-base is probably A Bridge Too Far, however. 

The Cubs have an excellent off-season strength & conditioning program for its minor leaguers, and hopefully Mervis will benefit from that. Agility is the issue with Mervis. 

I have never seen Mervis play defense, even at first base.  But I have seen reports that he is rather stiff at first base, and may have to DH.  That doesn't sound promising for success at third.

 

However, I agree with you.  If he can play a marginally acceptable defense at third, they should consider moving him there when they consider his bat is ready to play.  If the offense of Mancini/Hosmer is much better than Wisdom, perhaps we could live with a lower defensive level with Mervis at third base.

 

Of course, since Hoyer seems to be placing more emphasis on defense this year, I doubt they will consider it.

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


++++++++++++++++++++++

Minor League Rosters
Rule 5 Draft 
Minor League Free-Agents