Cubs MLB Roster

Cubs Organizational Depth Chart
40-Man Roster Info

40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full), plus three players are on the 60-DAY IL and one player has been DESIGNATED FOR ASSIGNMENT (DFA)

26 players on MLB RESERVE LIST are ACTIVE, plus eleven players are on OPTIONAL ASSIGNMENT to minors and three players are on the 15-DAY IL

Last updated 6-16-2024

* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS: 13
Javier Assad
Colten Brewer
Kyle Hendricks
* Shota Imanaga
Mark Leiter Jr
* Luke Little
Tyson Miller
Hector Neris
* Drew Smyly
* Justin Steele
Jameson Taillon
Keegan Thompson
Hayden Wesneski

CATCHERS: 2
Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

INFIELDERS: 6
David Bote
* Michael Busch
Nico Hoerner
Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson
Patrick Wisdom

OUTFIELDERS: 5
* Cody Bellinger
* Pete Crow-Armstrong
# Ian Happ
Seiya Suzuki
* Mike Tauchman

OPTIONED: 11
Kevin Alcantara, OF
Michael Arias, P
Alexander Canario, OF
Brennen Davis, OF
Porter Hodge, P 
Nick Madrigal, INF 
* Miles Mastrobuoni, INF
* Matt Mervis, 1B
Daniel Palencia, P
Ethan Roberts, P
Luis Vazquez, INF

15-DAY IL: 3
Yency Almonte, P
Ben Brown, P
* Jordan Wicks, P& 

60-DAY IL: 3
Adbert Alzolay, P
Caleb Kilian, P
Julian Merryweather, P 

DFA
Jose Cuas, P


Minor League Rosters
Rule 5 Draft 
Minor League Free-Agents

Cubs 2024 Rule 5 Draft and Minor League Free-Agent Watch List

6/16 UPDATE:

The Cubs selected RHP Ethan Roberts to their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster).
 



6/15 UPDATE:

The Cubs signed free-agent RHP Daniel Missaki to a minor league contract.
 



6/12 UPDATE

The Cubs released RHP Jake Wong. 
 



6/11 UPDATE:

The Cubs signed free-agent RHP Jorge Lopez (ex-NYM) and second contract free agent RHP Lisandro Almonte (ex-AZ) to minor league contracts.  

Because he has Article XIX-A rights (meaning he has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time), Lopez cannot be sent to the minors without his consent if he is added to the 40 at some point in 2024 (he is out of minor league options, so this only applies to him being sent outright to the minors if & when he is added to the 40).

Almonte is not eligible for selection in the 2024 Rule 5 Draft if he is signed beyond 2024. (He will not be Rule 5 Draft eligible until post-2025). 
 




6/5 UPDATE:

OF Bradlee Beesley retired.
 



6/2 UPDATE

The Cubs selected INF David Bote to their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster).

Bote has Article XX-D rights (he has accrued more than three years of MLB Service Time) and so he can elect free-agency if he is outrighted back to the minors in 2024. He also has one minor league option available if the Cubs choose to option him back to the minors at some point this season.

Note that if he remains on the MLB 40-man roster continuously going forward, Bote will become an Article XIX-A player on August 28th, at which point he cannot be sent to the minors (optioned or outrighted) without his consent.
 




6/1 UPDATE:

RHP Julio Teheran has elected free-agency (he had a contractual opt-out).

Also, RHP Brad Deppermann (Cubs 2019 7th round draft pick - U. of North Florida) has been reinstated from the Voluntary Retired List. (He retired on May 23, 2023). Deppermann is Rule 5 Draft-eligible post-2024.

Note that Deppermann will not count against the Cubs 165-man Domestic Reserve List until he completes his 30-day "conditioning assignment" at ACL Cubs.
 




5/28 UPDATE:

The Cubs released INF Luis Maza.
 




5/21 UPDATE:

The Cubs signed free-agent RHP Jackson Tetreault to a minor league contract.

Because he has been outrighted previously in his career, Tetreault has the right to elect free-agency (immediately or deferred) if he is selected to the MLB 40-man roster and then is outrighted back to the minors at some point in 2024.
 




5/21 UPDATE:

The Cubs signed free-agent RHP Trey Supak to a minor league contract.

Because he has been outrighted previously in his career, Supak has the right to elect free-agency (immediately or deferred) if he is selected to the MLB 40-man roster and then is outrighted back to the minors at some point in 2024.
 


 

5/18 UPDATE:

The Cubs traded LHRP Richard Lovelady to the Tampa Bay Rays for minor league LHRP Jeff Belge.

Also, the Cubs signed free-agent LHP Dalton Moats to a minor league contract.

Lovelady had been Designated for Assignment by the Cubs last Tuesday (5/14), so 2 PM (Eastern) Sunday 5/19 was the deadline to trade Lovelady before he would have needed to be placed on Outright Assignment Waivers (the waiver claiming period is 47 hours, during which time the player cannot be traded).

Belge is Rule 5 Draft eligible post-2024 (as he was post-2022 and post-2023) and is under club control through the 2025 season, after-which he will be declared an MLB Rule 9 minor league 6YFA at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the 2025 World Series, unless he signs a 2026 minor league successor contract or is added to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the deadline.

 




5/17 UPDATE:

The Cubs signed free agent LHP Alex Troop to a minor league contract.

 




5/15 UPDATE:

C Curt Casali elected free-agency and signed a major league contract with the San Francisco Giants (he had an opt out in his contract that was triggered when another MLB club offered him a major league contract and the Cubs declined to select him to their MLB 40-man roster).

 




5/14 UPDATE:

The Cubs acquired RHP Tyson Miller from the Seattle Mariners in a trade for minor league INF Jake Slaughter and cash. 

Slaughter is eligible to be an MLB Rule 9 minor league 6YFA post-2024 if he is not selected to an MLB 40-man roster prior to 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the 2024 World Series.

 




5/10 UPDATE:

OF David Peralta elected free-agency (he had an automatic Article XX-B opt-out).

Also, the Cubs signed free-agent RHP Kyle McGowin to a minor league contract.

Should he be added to the MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2024, McGowin is out of minor league options, and he has the right to elect free-agency (immediately or deferred) if he is outrighted back to the minors (he has been outrighted previously in his career).

 




5/5 UPDATE

The Cubs signed second contract free-agent RHP Carlo Reyes (ex-LAD) to a minor league contract.

 




5/2 UPDATE

The Cubs signed free-agent RHP Aaron Perry to a minor league contract.

Also, INF Scott McKeon retired.

 




5/1 UPDATE

The Cubs signed RHP Jake Wong to a minor league contract.

If he were to be added to the 40 at some point in 2024, Wong has the right elect free agency (immediately or deferred) if he is outrighted back to the minors, because he was outrighted previously in his career.

 




4/28 UPDATE

The Cubs selected the contract of LHP Richard Lovelady from AAA Iowa. 

Lovelady is out of minor league options, and he has the right elect free agency (immediately or deferred) if he outrighted back to the minors because he was outrighted previously in his career.

Note that Lovelady had a 4th minor league option available in 2023, and although he spent less than twenty days on optional assignment in 2023 (so he did not "burn" an option year), he did accrue his 5th "full season" of active service in 2023, so the 4th minor league option that was available in 2023 is no longer available in 2024. 

Also, the Cubs have signed free-agent RHP Dan Straily to a minor league contract.

Because he has Article XIX-A rights (meaning he has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time), Straily cannot be outrighted to the minors without his consent if he is added to the 40 at some point in 2024. (Straily is out of minor league options).

 




4/27 UPDATE:

The Cubs released RHP Welington Quintero.

 




4/21 UPDATE:

The Cubs signed second-contract free-agent LHP Mitchell Tyranski (ex-LAD) to a minor league contract.

 




4/18 UPDATE:

The Cubs signed free-agent RHP Julio Teheran to a minor league contract.

Because he has Article XIX-A rights (meaning he has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time), Teheran cannot be sent to the minors (optioned or outrighted) without his consent if he is added to the 40 at some point in 2024.

 




4/17 UPDATE:

The Cubs selected the contract of RHP Colten Brewer from AAA Iowa.

Brewer is out of minor league options, and he has the right elect free agency (immediately or deferred) if he is outrighted back to the minors because he was outrighted previously in his career.

 




4/12 UPDATE:

The Mets acquired catcher Joe Hudson from the Cubs (Mets assume contract, otherwise no players, cash, or other considerations were exchanged).

 




4/5 UPDATE:

The Cubs signed free-agent RHP Carl Edwards Jr and C Ali Sanchez to Minor League contracts.

Edwards had previously signed a 2024 minor league contract with the Cubs in February, but opted out and became a free-agent when he was not added to the MLB Active List (26-man roster) or MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) by the fourth day prior to MLB Opening Day. Because Edwards was a post-2023 MLB Article XX-B free agent, when he signed the first minor league contract prior to the start of Spring Training he had the automatic right to opt out if he was not added to the 40 by the fourth day prior to MLB Opening Day, although he could have waited and opted out on May 1st if he had not been added to an MLB Active List (26-man roster) or MLB 60-day IL by that date, or he could have opted out on June 1st if he had not been added to an MLB Active List (26-man roster) or MLB IL by that date.

However, because he is no longer considered a post-2023 Article XX-B free-agent, Edwards no longer has the automatic opt out rights he had under his previous minor league contract, but that would not preclude Edwards and the Cubs from agreeing to one or more contractual opt outs on dates satisfactory to both parties (TBD).

Also, because he has Article XIX-A rights (meaning he has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time), Edwards cannot be sent to the minors without his consent if he is added to the 40 at some point in 2024 (he is out of minor league options, so this only applies to him being sent outright to the minors if & when he is added to the 40).

Sanchez is (like Edwards) out of minor league options. However, Sanchez is an Article XX-D player (he has been outrighted to the minors previously in his career), so while he does not have to give his consent before he can be  sent outright to the minors if he is added to the 40 at some point in 2024, he would have the right to elect free-agency if he is outrighted to the minors after being added to the 40. Also, there could be one or more contractual opt outs in Sanchez's contract (TBD).

 




4/1 UPDATE:

LHP Dalton Stambaugh retired.

 




3/30 UPDATE:

The Cubs released RHP Max Bain, LHP Joel Machado, OF Cristian More, and INF Liam Spence (all four were Rule 5 Draft-eligible post-2024), and INF Juan Mora (he was eligible to be an Rule 9 minor league 6YFA post-2024).
NOTE: The Cubs released OF Ke'Shun Collier at the same time they released Bain, Machado, More, Spence, and Mora, but Collier was not yet Rule 5 Draft-eligible.

 




3/29 UPDATE:

The Cubs signed free-agent C Curt Casali to a Minor League contract.

Because he has Article XIX-A rights (meaning he has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time), Casali cannot be outrighted to the minors (he is out of minor league options) without his consent if he is added to the 40 at some point in 2024. 

 




3/28 UPDATE:

The Cubs selected the contract of 1B-OF Garrett Cooper from AAA Iowa.

Because he has Article XIX-A rights (meaning he has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time), Cooper cannot be sent to the minors (optioned or outrighted) without his consent.

 




3/25 UPDATE

C Jorge Alfaro elected free-agency (he had a contractual opt-out).

 




3/24 UPDATE:

RHP Carl Edwards Jr and 1B Dominic Smith elected free-agency (Edwards had an automatic Article XX-B opt-out, and D. Smith had a contractual opt-out).

 




3/21 UPDATE:

The Cubs signed second contract free-agent RHP Vince Reilly (ex-OAK) to a 2024 minor league contract. 

 




3/1 UPDATE: 

The Cubs signed free-agent 1B-OF Garrett Cooper to a 2024 minor league contract. 

Cooper was a post-2023 MLB Article XX-B free agent. If an Article XX-B MLB free-agent signs a minor league contract at least ten days prior to MLB Opening Day, and then is not selected to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) or MLB 60-day Injured List by 12 PM (Eastern) on the 4th day prior to MLB Opening Day, the player can unilaterally opt-out of the minor league contract immediately, or on May 1st if he has not been added to an MLB Active List (26-man roster) or MLB 60-day IL by that date, or on June 1st if he has not been added to an MLB Active List (26-man roster) or MLB IL by that date.
NOTE: The $100,000 retention bonus paid to an Article XX-B free-agent signed to a minor league contract who is not released or added to an MLB Active List or MLB 60-day IL by MLB Opening Day was eliminated in 2023.

Also, because he has Article XIX-A rights (meaning he has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time), Cooper cannot be sent to the minors (optioned or outrighted) without his consent if he is added to the 40 at some point in 2024.

 




2/27 UPDATE:

The Cubs acquired RHSP Matt Thompson from the Chicago White Sox for LHRP Bailey Horn.

M. Thompson is Rule 5 Draft-eligible (for the second time) post-2024.

If he is not added to the 40 at some point in the meantime, M. Thompson will be under club control through the 2025 season.

 




2/23 UPDATE:

The Cubs signed free-agent 1B-OF Dominic Smith and OF David Peralta to 2024 minor league contracts.

D. Smith has one minor league option available, but because he is an Article XIX-A player (he has accrued more than five years of MLB Service Time) he cannot be sent to the minors (optioned or outrighted) without his consent if he were to be added to the MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2024.

Peralta was a post-2023 MLB Article XX-B free agent. If an Article XX-B MLB free-agent signs a minor league contract at least ten days prior to MLB Opening Day, and then is not selected to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) or MLB 60-day Injured List by 12 PM (Eastern) on the 4th day prior to MLB Opening Day, the player can unilaterally opt-out of the minor league contract immediately, or on May 1st if he has not been added to an MLB Active List (26-man roster) or MLB 60-day IL by that date, or on June 1st if he has not been added to an MLB Active List (26-man roster) or MLB IL by that date.
NOTE: The $100,000 retention bonus paid to an Article XX-B free-agent signed to a minor league contract who is not released or added to an MLB Active List or MLB 60-day IL by MLB Opening Day was eliminated in 2023.

Also, because he has Article XIX-A rights (meaning he has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time), Peralta cannot be sent to the minors (optioned or outrighted) without his consent if he is added to the 40 at some point in 2024.

 




2/15 UPDATE:

The Cubs released INF-OF Ezequiel Alvarez.

 




2/6 UPDATE:

The Cubs signed free-agent RHP Carl Edwards Jr to a 2024 minor league contract, and he will almost certainly receive an NRI to MLB Spring Training.

Edwards is an MLB Article XX-B free agent. If an Article XX-B MLB free-agent signs a minor league contract at leastb ten days prior to MLB Opening Day, and then is not selected to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) or MLB 60-day Injured List by 12 PM (Eastern) on the 4th day prior to MLB Opening Day, the player can unilaterally opt-out of the minor league contract immediately, or on May 1st if he has not been added to an MLB Active List (26-man roster) or MLB 60-day IL by that date, or on June 1st if he has not been added to an MLB Active List (26-man roster) or MLB IL by that date.
NOTE: The $100,000 retention bonus paid to an Article XX-B free-agent signed to a minor league contract who is not released or added to an MLB Active List or MLB 60-day IL by MLB Opening Day was eliminated in 2023.

Also, because he has Article XIX-A rights (meaning he has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time), Edwards cannot be sent to the minors without his consent if he is added to the 40 at some point in 2024 (he is out of minor league options, so this only applies to Edwards being sent outright to the minors if & when he is added to the 40).

 




2/2 UPDATE:

The Cubs signed free-agent LHP Blake Weiman to a 2024 minor league contract. Weiman has never been on an MLB 40-man roster.

 




1/31 UPDATE:

The Cubs signed free-agent LHP Richard Lovelady and RHP Sam McWilliams to 2024 minor league contracts. They both will presumably receive an NRI to MLB Spring Training. 

Should he be added to the MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2024, Lovelady is out of minor league options, and he has the right to elect free-agency (immediately or deferred) if he is outrighted back to the minors (he has been outrighted previously in his career). Note that Lovelady had a fourth minor league option available for use in 2023 because he had accrued only four full seasons through the 2022 season, and he was in fact optioned to the minors in 2023, but he spent less than twenty days on optional assignment so the option was not spent. HOWEVER, he did accrue his fifth full season in 2024, and so the the fourth minor league option that was available in 2023 is not available in 2024.

McWilliams has minor league options available, but he has the right to elect free-agency (immediately or deferred) if he is outrighted back to the minors after being added to the 40 (he has been outrighted previously in his career).

 




1/19 UPDATE:

OF-1B Nelson Maldonado (Cubs 2019 21st Round draft pick - U. of Florida) retired.

 




12/23 UPDATE:

The Cubs signed free-agent RHP Colten Brewer to a 2024 minor league contract. He will almost certainly receive an NRI to MLB Spring Training.

If he is added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2024, Brewer is out of minor league options, and he has the right elect free agency (immediately or deferred) if he outrighted back to the minors.

 




12/14 UPDATE:

The Cubs signed free-agent LHP Thomas Pannone and catchers Jorge Alfaro and Joe Hudson to 2024 minor league contracts. All three will almost certainly get an NRI to MLB Spring Training.

Pannone (who was selected by the Cubs in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of HS but did not sign) is out of minor league options and he has the right to elect free-agency if he is outrighted, in the event that he us added to the MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2024.

Not only is Alfaro out of minor league options, he is also an Article XIX-A player (he has accrued more than five years of MLB Service Time) so he cannot be outrighted to the minors without his consent if he were to be added to the MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2024.

Hudson has accrued 0+131 MLB Service Time over the course of three separate "cups of coffee" in The Show (Angels in 2018, Cardinals in 2019, and the Mariners in 2020), as well as spending multiple minor league seasons in AAA with the Reds, Pirates, Rays, and Braves. Unlike Alfaro, Hudson has minor league options available, but he has been outrighted previously in his career so he has the right to elect free-agency if he were to be added to the 40 at some point in 2024 and then outrighted back to the minors. 

 





As things stand right now (6/16)...

Depending on whether or not Manuel Espinoza can be a minor league 6YFA post-2024 (TBD), 52 or 53 Cubs minor leaguers are eligible for selection in the December 2024 MLB Rule 5 Draft, and 42 or 43 Cubs minor leaguers (34 or 35 post-2024 6YFA and eight 2024 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 2024 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-2024 are OF Owen Caissie, 3B-1B B. J. Murray, and LHRP Riley Martin, RHRP Zac Leigh, and RHRP Frankie Scalzo Jr.

Some of the noteworthy Cubs minor leaguers who were eligible for selection in the 2023 Rule 5 Draft and who will be eligible again in 2024 include RHRP Hunter Bigge, LHRP Jeff Belge, INF Chase Strumpf, and OF Yohendick Pinango.

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-2024 (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 RHSP Kohl Franklin, RHRPs Ethan Roberts (second-contract player), Cam Sanders, and Riley Thompson, C Pablo Aliendo, and OF Cole Roederer . 

The most noteworthy Cubs minor leaguer who will be eligible to be a Rule 9 minor league free-agent once again post-2024 (if he is not added to the 40 or signs a 2025 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 RHRP Eduarniel Nunez.

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 2024 Rule 5 Draft.

CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS ELIGIBLE FOR SELECTION IN 2024 RULE 5 DRAFT (last updated 6-16-2024):
Jeff Belge, LHP
Hunter Bigge, RHP
Yovanny Cabrera, RHP
Owen Caissie, OF
Hayden Cantrelle, INF
Burl Carraway, LHP
Parker Chavers, OF
Chris Clarke, RHP (Article XX-D player)
Andrws Cruz, OF
Brad Deppermann, RHP
Leonel Espinoza, OF
Manuel Espinoza, RHP (see NOTE)
Christian Franklin, OF
Richard Gallardo, RHP
Angel Gonzalez, RHP
Dilan Granadillo, C
Ethan Hearn, C
Angel Hernandez, LHP
Frank Hernandez, 1B-C
Darius Hill, OF
Ed Howard, INF
Chris Kachmar, RHP
Ben Leeper, RHP
Zac Leigh, RHP
Riley Martin, LHP
Ismael Mena, OF
Koen Moreno, RHP 
Rafael Morel, INF-OF
B. J. Murray, 3B-1B
Joe Nahas, RHP
Jordan Nwogu, OF
Casey Opitz, C
Johzan Oquendo, RHP
Yohendrick Pinango, OF
Walker Powell, RHP
Reggie Preciado, INF
Erian Rodriguez, RHP
Jose Romero, RHP
Albaro Santana, RHP (on Restricted List)
Tyler Santana, RHP
Marino Santy, LHP
Frankie Scalzo Jr, RHP
Tyler Schlaffer, RHP
Wally Soto, C-1B
Felix Stevens, 1B-OF
Chase Strumpf, INF
Anderson Suriel, OF-1B
Matt Thompson, RHP
Sam Thoresen, RHP
Cayne Ueckert, RHP
Chase Watkins, LHP
Jacob Wetzel, OF
Bryce Windham, C-INF
NOTE: Manuel Espinoza was signed as an IFA out of Mexico in July 2017, but approval of his contract was held up by MLB while the circumstances of his signing was investigated. He made his pro debut after the contract was approved during Spring Training 2019. Therefore, he can be a MLB Rule 9 minor league 6YFA post-2024 - IF - he was retroactively awarded minor league service time credit for the 2018 season (TBD). 

Additionally, a free-agent who signs a 2025 minor league contract prior to the 2024 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-2024:
Pablo Aliendo, C
Luis Devers, RHP
Carl Edwards Jr, RHP (Article XIX-A player - out of minor league options if added to the 40)
Jefferson Encarnacion, OF
Edwin Escobar, LHP (out of minor league options if added to the 40)
Manuel Espinoza, RHP (see NOTE)
Kohl Franklin, RHP
Reivaj Garcia, INF
Saul Gonzalez, RHP
Caleb Knight, C
Jorge Lopez, (Article XIX-A player - out of minor league options if added to the 40) 
Dalton Moats, LHP 
Kyle McGowin, RHP (Article XX-D player - out of minor league options if added to the 40)
Sam McWilliams, RHP (Article XX-D player)
Daniel Missake, RHP 
Eduarniel Nunez, RHP
Miguel Pabon, INF-C
Ezequiel Pagan, OF
Thomas Pannone, LHP (Article XX-D player - out of minor league options if added to the 40)
Jack Patterson, LHP
Aaron Perry, RHP
Fabian Pertuz, INF
Jake Reindl, RHP
Cole Roederer, OF
Ali Sanchez, C (Article XX-D player - out of minor league options if added to the 40)
Cam Sanders, RHP
Dan Straily, RHP (Article XIX-A player - out of minor league options if added to the 40)
Trey Supak, RHP (Article XX-D player)
Jackson Tetreault, RHP (Article XX-D player)
Riley Thompson, RHP
Alex Troop, LHP
Luis Verdugo, INF
Blake Weiman, LHP
Blake Whitney, RHP
Brad Wieck, LHP (Article XX-D player - out of minor league options if added to the 40)
NOTE: Manuel Espinoza was signed as an IFA out of Mexico in July 2017, but approval of his contract was held up by MLB while the circumstances of his signing was investigated. He made his pro debut after the contract was approved during Spring Training 2019. Therefore, he can be a MLB Rule 9 minor league 6YFA post-2024 only if he was retroactively awarded minor league service time credit for the 2018 season (TBD). 

SECOND CONTRACT MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS (see NOTE-1 below)
Lisandro Almonte, RHP (previously released by AZ - see NOTE-2 below)
Brayan Diaz, RHP (previously released by SEA)
Fraiman Marte, RHP (previously released by STL)
Vince Reilly, RHP (previously released by OAK - see NOTE-2 below)
Carlo Reyes, RHP (previously released by LAD)
Francis Reynoso, RHP (ex-1B - previously released by STL)
Mitchell Tyranski, LHP (previously released by LAD)
Jeral Vizcaino, RHP (previously released by MIL - see NOTE-2 below)
NOTE-1: With mutual consent (player & club), a second-contract minor league player who has accrued fewer than seven minor league seasons can be signed to a multi-year minor league contract with club control extending up through the player's seventh minor league season. So it is possible that one or more of the Cubs minor league second contract players are signed beyond the 2023 season (TBD).
NOTE-2: If signed beyond the 2024 season, Lisandro Almonte, Vince Reilly, and Jeral Vizcaino are - NOT - eligible for selection in the 2024 Rule 5 Draft.

Comments

While OF Owen Caissie and 3B B. J. Murray are the Big Two Cubs Rule 5 Draft-eligibles post-2024 and (as things stand right now) are virtual locks to get added to the 40 post-2024 (if not earlier), and while it is very possible that post-2024 first-time Rule 5 Draft eligibles like LHRP Riley Martin and/or RHSP Walker Powell could emerge in 2024 as MLB contributors, there are going to be many more than the normal number of Cubs high-value actual prospects eligible to be minor league 6YFA post-2024 that the Cubs will have to watch closely, including C Pablo Aliendo, RHSP Kohl Franklin, OF Ezequiel Pagan, RHRP Eduarniel Nunez, RHSP Riley Thompson, INF Jake Slaughter, RHSP Luis Devers, OF Cole Roederer, and RHRP Cam Sanders. I can't remember the Cubs ever having a more noteworthy group of minor leaguers eligible to be minor league 6YFA free agents in the same season before. 

FINWE N: If you go by what Counsell did with the Brewers, he is much more likely to go with younger players than Ross was. I think part of it was that Ross was a "veteran players manager," meaning he was well liked and respected by veteran players because he was inclined to play them over younger unproven guys. 

And that actually might have been OK if the Cubs had been "sellers"at the trade deadline (as they clearly had planned to be before suddenly deciding to go fr it), because Ross would have played the veterans a lot the first four months of the season (which would have maximized their trade value), and then Ross would have had no choice but to play the younger guys the last two months after the veterans were traded. 

But of course it didn't work out that way. 

One thing about Craig Counsell that might have attracted Hoyer to him is that Counsel is very "collaborative" as a manager and welcomes and even demands lots of input from the analytics department. In fact I have heard tell that Counsell knows at least as much as the geeks know and that he routinely goes to them for information rather than waiting for it to be offered. So think of Ross as a Chevy pick-up truck, while Counsell is a Tesla. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

it is taking more than a minute for me to get used to craig counsell being the cubs manager.

he's going to take the field on opening day at wrigley and get massively cheered.

that is weird.  that's a thing that's happening, though.

history aside, while i am horrified at the amount of money they're paying him, i welcome his style of management over what d.ross has given the team.  love d.ross and how chill + ready to deliver he kept the team, but he had a serious pitching short-hook problem that exhausted the pen and some very questionable bench/pinch-hitting use.

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Arizona P:

Totally agree. I was really wanting the Cubs to be sellers, and while hindsight is 20/20, that looks as though it may have been the best option; although, part of the reason they decided not to be sellers may have been what some of the returns we're going to be, so my thoughts are merely speculation based on lack of insight into the specifics of conversations leading up to the deadline. I find myself wanting us to allow the prospects to develop and play meaningful roles on the big league team, as I feel that we have quite a few that will become good if not prayerfully great players, but if we trade them away or sign players to fill their positions in a desperate attempt to contend now, I'm left wondering if approaching this year as a transition year, while giving some prospects time in the minors and then bringing them up to see what we have in them, and maybe looking at next year (2025) as more of a contention point may be the way to go, and may even be a catalyst in the long-term development of the consistency in contending that the franchise needs and letting things happen organically, rather than pressing or trying to control things and making a flurry of moves?

Irrespective, I think Counsel was a great choice for manager, now we just need to add some charging stations at Wrigley, maybe where the garage was?

[ ]

In reply to by WebAdmin

unless he pitches into his late-30 that is gonna sting.  a 70m DH...ow.

it's great to take care of 2 roster spots in 1 player, and i'm sure the team will cut into the pay with the amount of merch/etc he can sell just by being attached to the team....but yeah, i'm not mad the cubs didn't go that extreme.

i know it's still very early, but i'd like to go into the xmas-to-newyears part of the off-season with something more than...*checks list*...patrick wisdom avoids arbitration with a 1-year deal

also, steven brault retired and was spotted at the winter meetings with a demo reel and making contacts trying to break into broadcasting (not a joke).  unless he's more optimistic than talented (we already know he can sing) he should make it one day because he seems to be very serious about it.

"$68MM of Ohtani’s $70MM annual salary will be deferred, leaving him making just $2MM per year in the short term. The deferred money is to be paid out without interest from 2034 to 2043. This will reduce the CBT hit of the contract to around $46MM per year."

okay, then.  wow.  teams getting creative out here.

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In reply to by crunch

If the Dodgers had signed Ohtani to a 20/$700M deal without deferrals instead of 10/$700M with most of he salary deferred, Ohtani's AAV hit would have been $35M per year 2024-33, which is $10M less than what it is going to be now. A 15/$700M deal would result in a $46.7M AAV hit (just about exactly what it will be).  

The only thing that makes a 10/$700 contract with massive deferrals different from a 15/$700M or 20/$700 contract without any deferrals is that Ohtani is willing to be paid "just" $2M per year for the next ten years (most players would not be willing to do that), and that he will be a free-agent again after the 2033 season at age 39 (which would not be the case if it was a 15 or twenty year contract instead of ten years).

BTW, a hypothetical 15 year $700M contract would expire when Ohtani is 43. To put that in some context, Carlton Fisk played 106 games at catcher with the White Sox and was on the A. L, All-Star team when he was 43,. Ichiro was playing OF for the Miami Marlins at age 43 (he retired when he was 45), Nolan Ryan was in the Rangers starting rotation when he was 46, and Jamie Moyer was in the Rockies starting rotation at age 49, so given that Ohtani is Superman, he probably can play until he is at least 50. 

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In reply to by Dr. aaron b

As most know, Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter passed away about a year ago (Oct 2022) from Cancer. So his approval of the Otani contract came from Baseball Heaven.

His Braves contract had a long deferral and at the time, the size of the contract was significant for a closer in 1984. "When the Braves signed Bruce Sutter in 1984 to a 6-year, $9.1 million deal, they agreed to deferred payments with interest following the conclusion. Sutter received $1.12 million for 30 years and will get the final payment, a principal payment of $9.1 million in 2022." (per Mike Mayer, a Mets writer). I'm old enough to remember how dominant his split-finger fastball was (hitters flailed at the pitch even when they knew it was coming). As a Cub, he often pitched the last 2-3 innings of games he closed. The role of the closer was evolving in that baseball era. Remember the "Sandberg game" was in 1984 and Sutter was the Cardinals closer. The Cubs got Leon Durham, Ken Reitz and Ty Waller from Stl in the 1980-1 offseason. 

noticing that yamamoto has met with or set to meet with pretty much everyone but the cubs...much like ohtani...

so far the cubs have been linked to a slew of possible trade targets (with nothing serious) and kicking around multiple offers to r.hoskins.  hoskins...getting real tired of these bargain bin gambles as major off-season pieces rather than supporting help.  this isn't a small market team...

morel hits his 3rd homer of winter.  last night he bounced a double off the wall in left.  bat speed hasn't tired yet...

"Major League Baseball announced the creation of “Spring Breakout,” a four-day series of exhibition games in which an organization’s top prospects will participate in Spring Training contests against the best minor league talents of other teams. Next year’s event will take place between March 14 and 17."

neat.

yamamoto meeting with his 5th team of the off-season today.  spoiler: it's not the cubs...phillies this time.

Jeff Passan tweets that Glasnow and Margot to Dodgers if TG signs an extension…with right-hander Ryan Pepiot and outfielder Jonny Deluca in return going to Tampa. I wonder what Cub talent would have been equivalent.

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In reply to by Cubster

i dunno if the cubs have an equivalent to pepiot.  j.wicks isn't enough and j.steele is too much.

that said, i don't mind the cubs passing on glasnow.  the guy is allergic to staying healthy and while every game counts in the season, being able to actually pitch in october is also a thing.  he's got a bit of a history of being either injured or tired in october.

that said, i'm ready for the cubs to do something "big."  i wouldn't even mind a boring version of "big" like stroman coming back on a short multi-year deal.

From The Athletic:
"Teams are inquiring about Ben Brown and Hayden Wesneski, a pair of righties the Cubs acquired in separate trades for relievers David Robertson and Scott Effross at the 2022 deadline. The Cubs are not necessarily inclined to move either. But like the Giants, their willingness might increase if they add a veteran starter.
The improvement of the Cubs’ farm system, ranked sixth by Baseball America at midseason, creates newfound possibilities. To upgrade its offense and/or pitching, the team might be open to parting with young pitchers besides Brown and Wesneski as well as infielder/outfielder James Triantos, the Arizona Fall League offensive player of the year. Outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong, right-hander Cade Horton and shortstop Matt Shaw might be the only Cubs’ prospects who are untouchable."

So teams don't think Brown will ever play for the Cubs. Some teams still see Wesneski as a SP. And everyone thinks Shaw is big league can't miss hitter.
I'd still say don't trade Alcantara or ONKC unless you're getting someone under multi-yr control (now that the big Superstars are off the market).

There's lots of offseason left, but so far it very much feels lIke the Cubs are on the outside looking in. The lack of internal pressure to lean on the gas doesn't override for me that this division is up for grabs now. 

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In reply to by Charlie

so far the strongest cubs rumor with any steam involves multiple back/forth offers for a 1st baseman who didn't even play in 2023 because of injuries.

there's always "woah, no idea" signings...and there's still parts of the market left.  the team needs a 1st baseman, probably a CF'r, and definitely a top-rotation SP...amongst other things.

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In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

they need a 3rd-capable guy at the very least to back up morel...even if that's madrigal or masterboney.

while i think morel will also play OF and 2nd, i think we're in for morel at 3rd unless he's traded.  he's closing in on 150 innings this winter at 3rd.

for some reason baseball-reference hasn't updated his winter stats in almost a week.  i dunno where else to snag his winter stats.

it's been fun watching him play, though my spanish isn't good enough to get any benefit from the announcers.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

baseball reference caught up on the week of missing morel stats.  he made 2 errors at 3rd this week, bringing him up to 4 in 162.2 innings.  i saw one of them during a game, bobbled catch...didn't see any of the others.  he's been playing almost exclusively 3rd for weeks.

he is done with his winter program.  final stats over 25 games...

.217/.369/.422 - 4 doubles, 2 triples, 3 homers (103 PA, 25k - 16bb, 3 intentional), 5sb - 1cs

cubs, rsox, angels, and giants are finalists for shota imanaga (LHSP, 30yo).

he's been strongly linked to a giants pursuit from the outset of his availability.

cubs claim brain serven (C) off waivers from the rockies.

his talents include having a pulse and breathing.

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In reply to by crunch

Brian Serven has two minor league options available and he cannot elect free agency if he is outrighted, so he will probably be the main #3 catcher for the Cubs in 2024. However, Serven  is a Rule 9 player so he cannot be sent outright to the minors until he signs a 2024 contract, which he might not do until he reports to Spring Training next month.  

Joe Hudson (signed to a minor league contract last month) also has options available if he is added to the 40 at some point, but he is an Artiocle XX-D player and so he can elect free agency if he added to the 40 and then is subsequently outrighted. 

Jorge Alfaro (also signed to a minor league contract last month) has no options available and he can elect free-agency if he is outrighted after being added to the 40, but it really doesn't matter because he is an Article XIX-A player and so once he is added to the 40 he cannot be sent to the minors without his consent (which he is unlikely to give). At that point he would have to be either kept on the 40 as a third cacher, traded, or released. He also likely has multiple opt-outs (including Opening Day) in his contract if he is not added to the 40 by a certain date(s). 

So it is very possible that the only way the Cubs can retain Alfaro beyond Spring Training will be if Gomes or Amaya get hurt prior to Opening Day, and then if they don't want to lose him the Cubs would probably have to keep Alfaro as a third catcher once Gomes or Amaya is reinstated from the IL. Otherwise, it's probably just Serven and Hudson as MLB-ready back-up catchers at iowa in 2024. 

Interesting that this afternoon's MLBTR chat with Steve Adams had him guess the Cubs would sign Imanaga.

Somewhat happy about Imanga.  Maybe more that is they did something.  I assume he’s a starter by IP, but at least baseball-reference doesn’t have him starting since 2018.  Seems to have good control with BB/K.  That aside seems to give up a lot of hits and HRs.  Wrigley is not a place to pitch to HR pitchers.  Plus he’s 30 abd I read he has medical issues. Please do not tell me the Cubs are paying him like $20 million and just blew their whole cheap ass, budget all on the hopes of an unproven never pitched in the MLB player, w/o the hype like Ohtani, Darvish, Tanka etc.  Rather surprise the Dodgers and try to steal them and make it a trio of Japanese pitchers.

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In reply to by cubbies.4ever

he's a starter, bb-reference is missing his GS stats for some weird reason.  he threw 2 complete games last year...which is practically cubs HOF material for the club lately in that department.

i just hope he can keep the ball in the park and put in mostly injury-free work.

if MLB hitters can sit on his FB, that might be trouble.  he fools a lot of hitters on off-speed stuff, lot of chasing pitches, but he pounds the strike zone with fastball with great control over it.  if he tries to keep his walk totals too low by throwing too many fastballs...well, hope it works for him if he goes that route.

Jon Morosi reports Imanaga gets multiple years for 15mil per.

He takes Hendricks spot eventually.

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

If the Cubs do have to switch to a six-man rotation in 2024 to accommodate Imanaga, that means one less reliever (seven instead of eight), and that did not work too well for the Angels during the Ohtani years or with the Mets last year with Senga in the rotation. 

It is not easy finding five much less six decent MLB SP, and a six-man rotation also puts a lot more stress on the pen if there are only seven guys available instead of eight. 

Note that in NPB there is no restriction on the number of pitchers on the active list roster, so a six-man rotation does not negatively impact the bullpen like it does in MLB. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Phil, 

Do you thini it Would work if they put 4 guys on a 4 day rest rotation and Imanaga on 5 day rest rotation?

Steele, Taillon, Hendricks, Imanaga, Assad, Steele

Taillon, Hendricks, Assad, Imanaga, Steele, Taillon

Hendricks, Assad, Steele, Imanaga, Taillon Hendricks

Assad, Steele, Taillon, Imanaga, Hendricks, Assad

Rinse and repeat as needed.

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In reply to by Bill

BILL: In Japan the starting pitchers pitch the same day every week, very much like college baseball in the U. S., where a team has its Friday starter (#1), Saturday starter (#2), Sunday starter (#3), etc. So NPB starting pitchers get six days off between starts, but everybody does it that way so no team gets an advantage. Also, because starters pitch only once per week they can throw more pitches per game. 

For it to work in MLB where a team has just one once a week starter (like Ohtani or Senga or Imanaga), the once a week starter really has to be the club's #1 or #2 and then maybe two others always work on four or five days rest, and the other two slots change from week-to-week, with those pitchers being mainly "bulk innings" guys who are most effective going just once through the batting order, sometimes starting on only three days rest, but throwing no more than three innings each time. 

Again, this can be done more easily if there is not a limit of 13 pitchers,  but with only 13 pitchers on the roster and with the restriction on optional assignments (five times per season) and the minimum 15-day IL for pitchers and the minimum 15 day on optional assignment before a pitcher can be recalled, the roster juggling required to make it work is very difficult to pull off, much moreso since the maximum 13 pitchers limit was implemented a couple of years ago. 

I guess if anybody can make it work it would be Craig Counsell. 

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

So for instance with the Cubs in 2024, you could have Imanaga always pitching on Sunday, and then Steele, Hendricks, and Taillon pitch on the other days of the week with four or five days off between starts, and then Smyly, Wesneski, Assad, and Wicks would be the "bulk innings" guys who would "piggy- back" in various two-pitcher combinations (like maybe Smyly/Wesneski and Wicks/Assad) on thd other days and normally pitch no more than three innings each and go just once through the order, and then the other five pitchers would be the high-leverage one inning guys (probably Alzolay, Merryweather, and Leiter, and some combo of Palencia, Little, Rucker, K. Thompson, Horn, Hodge, Wieck, et al) who normally would not pitch until the 7th inning, and then hope the five one inning guys don't get burned out over the course of the season. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

One good thing about dedicating four slots on the pitching staff to "bulk innings" guys is that it might be a really good way to transition young pitchers (like Assad, Wesneski, Wicks, Horton, and Brown) into MLB, sort of like the way they did back in the 1960's when clubs had four starters who pitched on three days rest and then two "spot starters / long relievers" (usually younger guys trying to establish themselves as big league starters or older guys at the end of their careers) who would usually only start in the second game of a doubleheader (and teams played a lot of doubleheaders in the 60's), but otherwise could throw multiple innings out of the pen in-between spot starts. 

Of course it helped that starting pitchers threw complete games whenever possible back in the day (and closed their own games), thereby keeping the bullpen guys fresh for when they were actually needed. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

I still see/hope Jed going after Belli and Hader. 

40+mil to get those two guys. Maybe HHoskins on a prove it deal.

But I think your trading Hendricks idea to create extra spending space below the Luxury Tax is truly viable. Maybe put Hendricks and Wisdom together in a deal since Hoskins takes Patrick's ABs.

We pay 5mil of his deal, to free up 10mil or something like that.

This would give Jed over 50+mil to get Belli, Hader and Hoskins.

To be clear, I don't think Hoskins is a must get. It seems that Jed believes he is. 

Jim Bowden ofrom CBS says the deal is 2yrs for 30mil. Can grow to 4yrs for 60mil and could get to 80mil with multiple opt outs. 

Jed Hoyer, the master of the prove it deal with the solid to above average talented players

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In reply to by Childersb3

These opt-out deals are becoming very annoying.  How can you build a team for longevity if 1/3 of your team and all your star players have opt out or player/mutual options?  MLB and all leagues need to have a hard salary cap like the NHL.  No player can have more than 20% of teams salary, nobody can break the cap top period, also there’s a floor limit, no opt outs, any player/club etc options, 8 year contract limits max, no Ohtani 20yr contracts with most $ when he’s retired, still have bonuses, no trade clauses, also you can trade draft picks.  Plus the cap is at like $83 million.  Would keep players in check and put Scott Boras out of business or at least ruin his life of luxury.

[ ]

In reply to by cubbies.4ever

Fans want a salary cap and most of the owners want a salary cap, but the MLBPA will never agree to a salary cap (other than the CBT), and unlike the NFL, NBA, and NHL player unions, the MLBPA is the strongest sports union in the world. 

So a salary cap in MLB is never going to happen, although I would think the MLBPA would love to see a payroll floor for clubs receiving CBT money.

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In reply to by Childersb3

If the contract was for (let's say) $80M guaranteed the release fee would be $13.25M to be paid in four installments over the next 18 months, but if the guarantee is only $30M the release fee would be $5.75M to be paid over the next 18 months. 

Then if additional years & money are added later by virtue of player and/or club options, performance bonuses, and/or salary escalators, the additional $7.5M release fee would not have to be paid until the additional years & money become guaranteed, and that might happen over the course of two or more seasons, thus even further spreading out the release fee. 

So while the release fee does not count against the Cubs AAV, the release fee probably does count against Hoyer's annual payroll budget, and so perhaps the contract is structured the way it is in order to spread out the release fee over as many years as possible.

The NFL has similar salary caps as mentioned above.  But in order to make them work, you have to have functional revenue sharing among the teams as they do in the NFL, and you have to have the total salary cap tied to a percentage of total league revenue.

The NFL was able to do this because they were not generally profitable at the time that television revenue was meaningful, and they were able to get the large market teams to agree to the revenue sharing.  That has isn't likely to happen today.

Also, to make it work, the players have to agree to the salary cap tied to a percentage of total league revenue.  That has been offered in the past, and rejected by the players.

 

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In reply to by Bill

MLBPA is an extremely powerful "collective bargaining organization" with huge strength on the team level.  players in other sports with they had the power MLBPA has over owners.

on the cubs side, ian happ is a very strong representative that is very savy with executives, press, and fellow players.

It’s sad that Nelson Maldonado didn’t get a cup of coffee at the big league level.  The last couple years he was mostly playing DH or 1B, and although the Cubs are short at both spots, he didn’t play enough long ball to be considered.  He wasn’t chosen in the Rule 5, so he decided it was time.

When Nelson Maldonado was drafted he was projected as a DH in search of a position. He was tried at both 1B and corner OF and was well below-average defensively everywhere. He spent three seasons in AA and not only did he not progress to AAA, he stopped hitting at AA in 2023. He wasn't even taken in the AAA Phase of the 2023 Rule 5 Draft ($24,000 price). 

Maldonado has been replaced in the pipeline by Haydn McGeary and Brian Kalmer, both of whom are bat-first DH types. Maldonado was not going to get an NRI to MLB Spring Training and there was a very good chance that he would have been released at the conclusion of Minor League Camp because the Cubs have so much depth in their minor league system. 

Maldonado is not an Arizona or West Coast guy, so why bother coming to Spring Training in Mesa if you have no future in the organization?

While we're all speaking about Morel's 3B defense being good enough, his swing has gotten better.

You could see it a little last fall. He didn't drop his hands behind his body as much (barred arm). But in videos from his Winter ball and this Feb in AZ you can tell he's keeping his hands tighter to his body. He's just stronger and able to have a tighter swing now. He'll be even quicker to the ball this way.

Fun times.  

My takeaway from the first Spring Training game of the year: It's really refreshing to have a slew of exciting young players in a season that should not be a total punt at the MLB level. It's been a while. 

[ ]

In reply to by Charlie

yeah, i like the team.

my main complaint isn't that they won't be competitive, rather that they could be even more competitive given their resources.  there's still time to add on, and they have 10s of millions to do it without going past their self-imposed limitations.  whether these limitations should exist or be way more flexible is up for debate, but we have what the owners give the front office to work with.

some of the sites doing wins predictions have CHC at or just below STL for taking the NL Central.

it's also nice knowing if some of the kids expected to break with the team don't work out, there's a good amount of kids near-MLB ready to hedge some of the failures...a few non-roster vets, too (peralta/d.smith/cj edwards).  no guarantees, but it's nice to have around.

i feel good about 2024 even without additions, but i'm still expecting an addition until the "Boras 4" are off the market.

if the cubs we see today are the cubs we get going into opening day, i will be disappointed, but i still think they got a shot at the playoffs.

Injury update. Brennan Davis in concussion protocol.


The Cubs' 24-year-old prospect was hit in the helmet by a pitch in the eighth inning of Chicago's Feb. 27 game against the Reds and is undergoing concussion protocol. Davis will be out for some time for more tests while dealing with what Cubs manager Craig Counsell referred to as a "mild concussion" on Feb. 29.

AZ Phil: This spring has been my first chance to actually watch Owen Caissie at the plate. How much do you think his strikeouts have been a matter of swing decisions vs swing mechanics? Do you have any reference points for how long it might take a guy with his approach to adjust and make enough contact to be playable at the next level? Or are we just hoping he can be a Joey Gallo kind of outlier?  

[ ]

In reply to by Charlie

CHARLIE: I see a Joc Peterson comp for Owen Cassie, in that Pederson had K issues early in his MLB career and then improved his contact over time, and with the time he spends working on his hitting that's what I expect Caissie to be able to do. 

BTW, the Cubs aren't exactly loaded with LH power hitters in their system (Caissie, Busch, Ballesteros, and Mervis, and that's about it), so Caissie has more value to the Cubs as a prospect than he might have in another org.

Also, keep in mind that Owen Caissie is Rule 5 Draft-eligible post-2024, so he could get called up to MLB without a second thought during the 2024 season if he is raking at AAA.

Jameson Taillon was a last minute scratch. He was warming up full bore in the bullpen right up until 10 minutes before the game started without any apparent difficulty, but then Thomas Pannone started the game.

AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW... 

After having a chance to see these guys at MLB and/or Minor League Spring Training, here are the 2024 Rule 5 Draft-eligible players most likely to get added to the 40 either during the season or pre-Rule 5 Draft:  

POST-2024 RULE 5 DRAFT ELIGIBLE: 
Owen Caissie, OF (virtual lock) 
BJ Murray, 3B (likely) 
Christian Franklin, OF (likely) 
Hunter Bigge, RHRP (likely) 
Riley Martin, LHRP (better than 50/50)
NEXT FIVE ALPHABETICAL: 
Yohendrick Pinango, OF 
Walker Powell, RHSP  
Chase Strumpf, INF 
Matt Thompson, RHSP  
Bryce Windham, C-INF 

Adding a Top 15 Rule 5 Draft-eligible prospect to the 40 is a no brainer, but otherwise a club's decision to add a Rule 5 Draft-eligible player to the 40 has a lot to do with whether a 40-man roster slot is available and if the club believes the slot will not be needed later in the off-season or prior to MLB Opening Day, whether the player actually is projected as being a member of the MLB 26-man roster at some point in the future, whether the player is projected as having future trade value that exceeds the $100,000 Rule 5 Draft price, and whether the player is likely to get selected (near-MLB ready relief pitchers and catchers are the most popular Rule 5 Draft picks, although any Top 15 prospect regardless of position left unprotected is likely to get snatched).  

And here are the post-2024 minor league 6YFA who are most-likely to be added to the 40, either during the season or after the conclusion of the World Series (In this order): 

POST-2024 MINOR LEAGUE 6YFA: 
Cam Sanders, RHRP (likely) 
Pablo Aliendo, C (better than 50/50) 
NEXT EIGHT ALPHABETICAL: 
Luis Devers, RHSP 
Kohl Franklin, RHSP 
Eduarniel Nunez, RHRP 
Ezequiel Pagan, OF
Jake Reindl, RHRP 
Cole Roederer, OF  
Jake Slaughter, INF 
Riley Thompson, RHRP 

The likelihood of adding a minor league 6YFA to the 40 increases substantially if the player declines to sign a minor league successor contract. Last year the Cubs signed only one of their post-2023 minor league 6YFA to a 2024 minor league successor contract, and that was Eduarniel Nunez, but there are an unusually high number of quality prospects who are eligible to be minor league free-agents post-2024 who the Cubs will probably not want to lose for nothing.  

AZ Phil,

Does Erian Rodriguez have SP stuff?

I thought I saw him throw a change-up yesterday and two different breaking balls?

May be totally wrong or Erian just doesn't have total control yet. 

His 2SFB can move though. 

Thanks

This is the first time I've seen this name as a potential International Free Agent that could be signed by the Cubs:

From BA:

Wilfry De La Cruz, SS, Dominican Republic

Team: Cubs

With a slender 6-foot-3 frame, De la Cruz impressed scouts with his combination of hitting ability and room to add strength early in the scouting process. He’s a selective hitter who makes good swing decisions, allowing him to control the strike zone and get on base at a high clip in games. He’s a switch-hitter with good bat-to-ball skills and the potential to grow into above-average power, with some of that power starting to trend up as he’s begun to layer on more strength to a still lean build. De la Cruz is an offensive-minded shortstop who some scouts think could slide over to third base if he outgrows the position. He doesn’t have the explosive first-step quickness some scouts prefer at shortstop, but he’s a reliable defender there for now with good reads and a strong arm.

Maybe a key moment in PCA’s career tonight. He was thrown behind twice by former big leaguer Wily Peralta. No warning and Iowa’s manager is tossed defending his player. Next pitch, PCA drills over the right field wall, followed by an epic bat flip. His confidence had to be sky high after that.

Next at bat he drills a double and then scores. PCA 9 for 18 with 3 homers since being optioned.

[ ]

In reply to by TarzanJoeWallis

i don't think his confidence or ego any has any setting other than "10"...unless his goes to "11."

that said, while these traits can give way to a terrible person or teammate, it seems like his sky high...ummm self determination...isn't toxic.  he seems to handle failure well and enjoy other people's success on the team aside from his own.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

Got to disagree. There is a difference between swagger and confidence. One who is confident need not have swagger and those who have swagger often need to do so precisely because they lack inner confidence.

A good many times in the bigs PCA was clearly overmatched and, while putting on a decent facade, clearly knew it.

A moment like that where he was spitting nails and delivered can do wonders for that inner confidence, the PCA show aside.

He doubled again, by the way. Canario has also found his power stroke since being sent down.

Any updates on Cassie or Davis? Also, I don't see Valdez on the ACL roster anymore?  

For anyone who might be interested, the Dominican Summer League (DSL) season begins on Monday 6/3. DSL regular season ends on 8/20 and playoffs start on 8/22. The Cubs will once again be running two DSL squads (Blue and Red). 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Also, just as a reminder, the Arizona Complex League (ACL) regular season ends on Wednesday 7/25, ACL playoffs start on Friday 7/27, and the AZ Instructional League begins on Thursday 8/1 and will run for eight weeks (August through September). 

As things stand right now, the AZ Instructional League will play an "unofficial" 25-game schedule, so it is expected that most of the Cubs 2024 draft picks will make their pro debut in AZ Instructs games, and then some of them could get moved up to a full season squad during the course of Instructs. 

Because AZ Instructs begins three weeks prior to the conclusion of the DSL regular season, it is very unlikely that any of the Cubs DSL players who are not called up during the course of the ACL regular season will be invited to AZ Instructs. So (for example) expect SS Fernando Cruz to make his stateside debut in 2025. 

Former Cubs minor league OF Yonathan Perlaza is hitting 327/405/624 with 15 HR and 15 doubles in 51 games for Hanwha in the KBO. He leads the league in SLG, is tied for lead in HR, is 2nd in OPS, and is tied for 4th in doubles. He was a minor league 6YFA post-2023 but the Cubs chose not to select him to the MLB 40-man roster and he declined to sign a 2024 minor league successor contract. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Phil with an absolute dagger to the heart here !!
All Perlaza did was hit and hit at every level. Switch hitter and performed equally well from either side. He produced good results. Just like Assad did at every level.
Jed didn't think he was worthy of the 40man.
I get keeping Canario over Perlaza (but Canario is never going to play for Jed)
I get keeping B. Davis in order to save some value there after his injuries (but he'll never play for the Jed)
Jed had to add Alcantara. Just can't let him walk in the Rule5.
But Perlaza not being on the 40man in order to use him as a DH is just nuts to me.
He's younger than Mervis. And statistically just as good if not better than Mervis. Probably has more bat speed from both sides of the plate. Why didn't Perlaza get a chance?

Phil, did Perlaza sign a 1yr deal in the KBO? Can he's contract be purchased by a MLB club right now? I'm sure that's not possible, but I wanted to ask.
 

[ ]

In reply to by Childersb3

Ok, everyone. Let’s take a deep breath. I understand that the team has gone south and the sky is falling in May, prompting lots of criticism about self scouting, bad waiver moves, Jed's got to go, etc. Let’s dig into some of these criticisms.

  1. Hendricks extension. Yes, of course it was a stretch. But, remember at that time we had Steele, Taillion and a bunch of question marks in the rotation. Frankly I was doubting it at the time just like everyone else.  But, had he signed somewhere else in a pitcher friendly park and had a great year everyone here would have been kvetching about how Jed could let an icon of the team go and get nothing in return. Not the best gamble to extend him but not incomprehensible either given the circumstances at the time.

    2. Bryan Hudson is killing it for the Brewers. The Dodgers had him last year and let him go for next to nothing. So I guess the Dodgers also have a problem with internal scouting?

    3. Trevor McGill had been with Minnesota prior to the Brewers and pitched to a 4.80 ERA before trading him to Milwaukee for next to nothing. Minnesota must also suck in talent evaluation.

    4. The Cubs had Jeremiah Estrada prior in 2023, where he pitched to the tune of a 5.97 ERA in Iowa and 6.75 for the Cubs. They had a similar commodity in Manuel Rodriguez. While Rodriguez is doing just fine, Tampa Bay could of had shooting star Estrada when the Cubs made a trade with them as a necessary roster move. Guess Tampa Bay missed the boat on that one!

    5. Perlaza is tearing it up in the KBO, which obviously translates directly to success he would be having in the MLB.

    This is a team with 8 of the top 100 ranked MLB prospects. Tough roster choices were going to need to be made. These players all had multiple years to prove themselves and, in the end, established that they were not quite up to the level of some of the other players. None of us were happy to see any of these players go, but at the time they were made, the reactions to each ranged from “meh” to “we have better prospects but a shame to see him go.”

    Now two months into the season, we’ve concluded that all of these players were obviously phenomenal talents and Jed can’t evaluate talent and needs to go.

    Gentleman, things are not going well and as fans it is our prerogative to kvetch about what might have been. But, in reality, isn't it a bit early to go down this road?

[ ]

In reply to by TarzanJoeWallis

The point, to me, about younger and inexperienced RP is you need to Self scout and know what’s going to develop into MLB level stuff. For instance, do you hold Estrada or Cuas? Do you keep Uelman Rucker or Megill? You need to be able to make those determinations and you also really need to be patient with them. A lot of them won’t come up and dominate every time, they’re going to be inconsistent. There are exceptions, but that’s the norm. They’ll take their lumps but some will eventually piece it together. Carlos Marmol is an example. The current guys I’d say they need to be focusing on here are Little and Palencia. Will they become Estrada? Or Uelman?

The older types like Leiter and Merryweather are totally different and it’s more lightning in a bottle.

You’re right that Jed has put together what a lot of outlets view as an awesome farm system. But we’re rapidly approaching the time that needs to turn into results.

I’d also point out in his 5 years as head of baseball ops between San Diego and Chicago, Jed has 0 playoff appearances.

[ ]

In reply to by TarzanJoeWallis

You're only thinking about the 26man roster. Perlaza should've been added to the 40man roster. He then would have three option years.
No GM is perfect. Theo wasn't. Jed has done some really good things. Pitching has improved wholeheartedly under Jed. 
RPs like Hudson and Estrada are going to hit and miss. 
Giving Hendricks 16.5mil can now be stated as a clear miss, and Kyle needs to be moved off the roster. They have to pay him. But the Bullpen spot needs to go to someone else. Kyle isn't a bullpen guy. But he's not a SP anymore either. 2016 Nostalgia doesn't win.
Perlaza got more money in the KBO than he'd have gotten on the 40man, but Jed had the choice to give him a shot anyway. Mervis would probably do really well in the KBO also. But having watched Perlaza's bat speed for three years, I think he was better than Mervis.
And Phil made a good point about giving Happ an extension (after having not traded him at the TDL in 2022 along with not trading Willy) when you're real prospect depth was in the OF. Happ is a really good 7th hitter on a good team. 17 HRs and 70 RBIs with good LF defense. That's Ben Zobrist like #'s. The issue is we have a lot of those kind of guys already. We needed a bomber some where in the lineup and LF, RF, 3B, 1B and DH usually provide those bombs.
Seiya is good when healthy. He's gotten hurt every year, but he's a 20HR 80RBI guy when healthy. He just hasn't been healthy for a year to provide those #'s.
Happ isn't a bomber.
Morel is getting his chance to work out 3B. I'm glad Jed has kept him.
1B? Hopefully Busch becomes 20HRs and 80 RBIs.
DH? There's our biggest issue. We don't have a guy who can bop there. Just a real hitter. Mervis missed it. That's why Perlaza leaving without a 40man chance burns me.
 

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In reply to by Childersb3

The roster mistakes I am talking about occur in November, when decisions are made regarding minor league free-agents, Rule 5 protection, exercising club options, and the tendering of contracts to players on the MLB 40-man roster. The idea should be to maximize long-term control of talented young players (including minor leaguers yet to establish themselves in MLB). 

Roster slots that can be filled by Spring Training NRI should not be allocated in November to marginal non-prospects expected to fill non-critical positions on the 26-man roster (like back-up catcher, utility infielders, 4th outfielder, and middle relievers) or to older players likely to decline. 

And as far as self-evaluation (self-scouting) is concerned, the Cubs have invested literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in proprietary player development and analytical technology and have doubled the player development staff, so they should not be making some of the piss-poor roster decisions in November as they have been making. 

There are ex-Cub relievers on other MLB clubs who could be in the Cubs bullpen right now and would clearly be upgrades over what's there, but they are someplace else. No excuses. Clearly somebody screwed up.

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Ok, so it’s the end of 2023 and going into the postseason. Cuas, Alzolay, Leiter, and Merriwether all had respectable seasons last year.

So among Killian, Wesneski, Estrada, Palencia, Brown, Horn, Rodriguez, Little, Hughes, Wicks, all of whom had huge potential but huge questions heading into 2024, 1) How are you going to protect all of them? 2) If you can’t, who do you protect?

How many times was the phrase “good problem to have” tossed around?

If it had been Palencia going to another team and hitting a May hot streak, which could just as easily have happened, would we not be having the identical conversation?

Brown just pitched seven no hit innings yesterday. Does Jed get any credit for keeping him around? Does he get credit for ditching Horn and getting something with very decent upside, Thompson, in return? How about picking up Miller, who has been stellar so far? Does he get the blame for Meriwether, and Killian, who burned up the spring, getting hurt? And is there a single organization out there that can’t say they wish they had a reliever or two they had recently back?

There is very definitely a “lottery” aspect to relief pitching. In the last couple of years the Cubs largely won the lottery and spun much of that good fortune into prospect gold. This year others have won and the Cubs for the most part appear to be holding the short stick. So are we really going to have the neck of the GM who took this team from the utter doldrums to the brink of contention and a number three rated system over the course of a couple of years?

[ ]

In reply to by TarzanJoeWallis

The short answer there is yes he gets credit for the wins but he also gets credit for the losses.

Phil’s point about the crystal ball is spot on. If all of the machinery and data and systems they have don’t manifest into essentially a crystal ball, what use is all of that? Somebody messed up.

As for who else could have gone, I agree with Phil that a pitcher like Estrada, as awful as he looked last year, had shown he had at least 1-2 legit MLB caliber pitches, it was just a matter of finding them again. He was pre arb young power arm. Whereas let’s say Madrigal was entering year 2 of 4 arb years. He’d proven to be a defense first backup infielder incapable of playing SS. You want to talk dime a dozen, THAT is dime a dozen. THAT is a NRI. I can squint and see the argument to not lose Wisdom’s power as a bench bat. Or even Boner as a utility guy who can play OF and handle an emergency SS run, who also hits left handed and has options. But choosing Madrigal over an arm like Estrada was a poor decision, even at the time.

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

Those million dollar systems are hardly infallible. AI does not yet dictate how the prospects develop or how game is played. If it did what would be the use of playing? Team with the best projected stats would win every time. We all know better

Brailyn Marquez and Jose Albertos both had tremendous arms and potentially major league pitches. So did Kris Jensen. Problem is none of them could harness it and, even if they could, MLB players can hit good fastballs. Estrada sure looked to be on that kind of trajectory. Very likely that by mid summer he will be again once the law of averages catches up with the May superstardom.

Now let’s take a moment to focus on Madrigal. You know, the best team in the league at the moment, the Phillies, have Whit Merrifield. 105 PA and batting .181. Dodgers are second best and have Kiki Hernandez on the bench. 125 plate appearances and .193. The Braves spread the AB’s a little more but they see fit to keep former Cub farmhand Zack Short around. 47 PA’s and .158. Nobody complains much about those guys. I didn’t do the digging but I would venture to say that each have another light hitting utility guy taking up a 40 man roster spot as well. Two wasted 40 man roster spots each on these winning teams, not dissimilar to the Cubs. So while an awful lot of keystrokes on here are spent discussing Madrigal and Mastrobouni as they are - let’s just say, somewhat underwhelming, they are not at the core of what ails this team.

The real problem is that the guys who are paid to hit aren’t hitting. The league has caught up with Busch, Suzuki, and Morel, and while I believe they will adjust at some point, it’s a process. Swanson, Happ and Hoerner seem to be in that multi year contract comfort zone that folks on here tell me don’t exist. The offense from their catching sucks and seems unlikely to improve much with current personnel. Tauchman has come down to Earth to be the true player he is. To his credit and counter to my expectations, the only guy who may be turning corner a bit seems to be Bellinger.

None of them seem willing to play the small ball, hustle game that gets teams out of slumps. They show no plate discipline and, to add insult to injury, they have been quite unlucky at times. The lack of offense and less than stellar infield fielding has greatly magnified the issues with the bullpen, as well as their low performing utility guys.

So let’s ease off the Madrigal/Mastribouni scapegoating. They are not stars and never will be, but they are not enigmas either. Utility players are what they are, and replacing them with other utility players, while possible, isn’t likely to solve very much - nor is the other approach of bringing up farmhands and letting them ride the pine - until the “stars” break out of their May malaise and start hitting and fielding better.

[ ]

In reply to by TarzanJoeWallis

Those million dollar systems need to be better, or the people interpreting those systems need to.

You can’t compare those teams to the Cubs. Their lineups are stacked (and coincidentally they spend a lot of money on stars hmm correlation???). They can afford a bum backup IF. Here’s the other part. Hernandez plays everywhere but catcher. Merrifield can handle the OF. Short can play SS. None of them are locked to two positions defensively like Madrigal. Further, the issue being address wasn’t his being a waste of roster space right now (he is), it’s that his presence on the roster could have been used to hold Estrada, or someone like him. But instead, he held it despite his being a dime a dozen type, and primarily because Jed refuses to give up on a player everyone can see needs to go. Is this team wide slump due to Madrigal? No. But he adds nothing to the equation. 
Your continued pounding of the drum about players who have gotten paid will never stop befuddling me. This is their job! Happ isn’t in a comfort zone, he’s just a flawed player. Swanson looks lost and he’s pressing so hard I’m surprised we haven’t seen skid marks on his pants. Everyone knew this is what Tauchman was. Morel is growing as a player and we’re witnessing some of the growing pains. I heard on a broadcast something that legitimately made me think of you. I think Boog said “it sucks to suck.” I.e. players don’t like slumping or struggling. He said it in relation to I think Swanson. The majority of these guys are hyper competitive and not used to being bad at this. You could be making a billion dollars, and if you were struggling to the point your home fans boo you, you’re feeling it deep down. The flaws on this team ultimately come down to the guy who saw last year’s team, decided to mainly run it back except with a shiny new coach, Shota, and a few odds and ends.

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

Yes, the bad teams have utility players too. They are not the reason their teams are bad either.

We will never agree on human nature - we long ago established that. You believe that the reason stars are stars and because they’re hyper competitive and that isn’t impacted by big money. I believe human nature is to let off the gas once the destination is reached. There is probably some truth to both perspectives - just a numbers game and what is more prevalent.

But my overriding point is the amount of time spent pounding on Madrigal and Masteobouni when the fact is EVERY team has these kind of players in their system and taking up roster space. And every GM employs them. Dumping one or the other of them would have resulted in bringing in another just like them, not keeping a 6+ ERA reliever because of some magical premonition he would become a May superstar the following year.

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In reply to by TarzanJoeWallis

But the reliever had potential. The drum about potential is beaten so heavily these days it drowns so much else out. The point is that all the machinery led to a decision that cost the team a player that could address an area that has been a problem this year, and that a roster spot was allocated for an okay fielder at 2B/3b who can’t hit.

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

And It is much easier to manipulate the MLB 40-man roster in November now than it used to be. 

Prior to the new CBA, the roster filing deadline (also known as the "Rule 5 Draft protection deadline") was November 20, and MLB Contract Tender Day was December 2. The twelve days of separation between the two deadlines made it impossible for a club to DFA a player and then avoid exposing the player to waivers by non-tendering him (with a pre-arranged plan in place to re-sign the player later -- preferably after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft -- to a minor league contract). 

But now that the MLB Contract Tender Deadline is on the Friday prior to Thanksgiving and the MLB Commissioner is required to set the reserve list filing deadline no earlier than the Monday prior to MLB Contract Tender Day or no later than the day before MLB Contract Tender Day, clubs can (if necessary) open up a slot on the 40 for a Rule 5 Draft eligible player by way of a DFA of a player that the club is planning to non-tender anyway (thus avoiding the possibility of the player getting claimed off waivers). 

That's why losing Jeremiah Estrada off waivers last November or losing Trevor Megill off waivers the previous November was so unnecessary, not to mention the fact that neither pitcher was injured, out of minor league options, or arbitration-eligible (the main reasons why a club would want to remove a pitcher from the 40 in November in preparation for the off-season and Spring Training). 

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

Also, it would serve well to remember that this was never a straight up choice of keep Madrigal versus keep Estrada. Had they dumped Madrigal it would have been because they found a piece that provided at least his defense with perhaps a bit more offensive punch but who profiles similarly - especially given the question marks surrounding Morel’s defense at third. They would not have retained an extra reliever.

[ ]

In reply to by TarzanJoeWallis

When a club has access to information about its own players that no other club has about that player (self scouting / self evaluation) and still continues to make bad decisions in November, there are no excuses.

Organizations like to talk about "process" over "results" because it gives them an excuse when things don't work out, but the bottom line is bad decisions were made that did not have to be made the way they were made and when they were made.  

This is not a matter of the Cubs having too many good relievers and they "can't keep them all" and the pitchers were injured or were out of minor league options or were arbitration eligible or blah blah blah. These decisions were "big boy" big league big time screw ups that should not have happened. 

And all the bullshit excuses you can dream up won't change that. One straw man fallacy after another doesn't cut it. There are no excuses. If I'm Ricketts I wouldn't be happy. 

A big league organization with hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in proprietary technology and custom programs used in player development and in self evaluation / self scouting should not be making these mistakes. 

There are no valid excuses for these screw ups.

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Just read a 5/25 MLB article about the relievers who have been “lights out” in baseball in 2024. Yimi Garcia is with the Bluejays. But the Dodgers, Miami, and Houston all had him previously and let him go. Matt Strahm is with the Phillies, but was previously with the Royals, Padres and Boston. Bryan Hudson, well, the Dodgers missed on him too - bet they’d love to have him back! 

So, on the basis of losing relievers who are hot for two months of a season, it seems like lots of millions in technology throughout the MLB are being wasted and lots of teams should be looking for new GMs. Same rules apply to each of these teams - no excuses. By the way, each of these teams is less prospect rich than the Cubs. 

Kudos to Arizona and the Cleveland for having home grown talent make the list. Their GM’s get to stay…well, at least until they miss on the next one. Leiter was the last name on the list of six. As I recall a number of folks on this board wanted him to be gone a long time ago. Estrada was not yet the “soup of the day” and failed to make the list.

Additionally, while the conversation has been mainly internal scouting, points of incompetence are also due to every team who passed on taking Estrada prior to the Padres. While they had less visibility, those organizations also apparently failed to pick up on the obvious, innate talent present in the 6+ ERA reliever.

I know the most everybody disagrees with me, but so be it. I stand by my point. Missing on an occasional prospect is a part of baseball every fan base is asked to endure from time to time, even when organizations invest millions of dollars in technology to try to avoid such a calamity.

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

All moves that matched the current needs of the roster. All had decent enough track records to reasonably expect them to fulfill those needs. None of them panned out. Unfortunate that they had to give two year deals to Mancini and Barnhardt but it is a market and that might have been what the market commanded. While the two contracts have definitely impacted roster flexibility this year, they are not the kind of long term, calamitous boat anchor deals favored by many fans. They were all short term, relatively low impact deals meant to patch holes while they developed the team the right way.

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In reply to by TarzanJoeWallis

Not wanting to belabor this discussion:

Barnhart - 2 yrs

Mancini - 2 yrs

Hendricks - $15m option

Smyly - 2/$20

Wisdom - hit's LH only

Madrigal - can't play dead

Mastrobuoni  - many better UTIL options 

Cuas  - Really?

Do I really need to go on. They have < $6m of CBT room because of Roster mgmt. 

 

 

 

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In reply to by George Altman

Exactly. With all the intelligent spending avoiding all of these “anchor” contracts, Jed managed to anchor this year’s group through a bunch of cruddy players instead of just one.

And if we want to talk about addressing needs of the roster at the time, it sure would have been nice to acquire more than Cuas for last year’s bullpen at the deadline for a playoff run.

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In reply to by TarzanJoeWallis

I don't believe you are correctly recalling what people were saying at the time of the Busch trade.  Let's be careful not to create false narratives or put words in other people's mouths. One of the best things about this site is the general respect that posters give each other.  

 

General sentiment was it sucks to lose upside prospects but you have to give something to get something. Most of the negative was around Almonte and his lack of minor league options creating roster gridlock.  



Here is AZ Phil's final sentence in his take:  "This was the somewhat rare high end bat prospect for high end arm prospect trade. "



Going through the thread after the trade here are some other quotes from TCR regulars:

 

"I'm not happy at about losing Ferris and Hope . . . But Busch is a top 50 MiLB prospect from the Dodgers who hits lefty!! That's going to cost you."

 

"Jed gets his new Rizzo."

 

"...they got michael busch, too.  that's a high-end prospect."

 

 

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In reply to by George Altman

What astounds me is how short memories are. When Jed took over the reins from Theo in 2021 the Cubs organization was ranked number 22 and they had three top 100 prospects - Madrigal, Davis and Amaya. Today, after steady improvement, they are ranked number 3 and have 8 top 100 prospects. The big league product, while sucking eggs at the moment, also holds far more promise than it has since mid 2021.

Yeah, sounds like gross roster mismanagement to me. Off with his head!

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In reply to by TarzanJoeWallis

Whether or not I agree fully or somewhat - or completely disagree - with what TJW writes, I'm enjoying this ongoing discussion. The civil discourse, the presentation of arguments, and the profound knowledge shared here is much appreciated. I don't find anything remotely similar on other sites. It's why TCR is my first stop in the morning. Thank you!

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In reply to by TarzanJoeWallis

when jed took over he took a team that finished 1st in the NL Central (+4 games) and traded almost everyone away...not for talent that would help in the following season...but many years down the road.

when darvish was traded early in the off-season for a slew of kids that would have no chance for impact in 2021 it was a strong signal of things to come...along with the pathetic spending in the offseason darvish was traded away.

he traded for youth bulk and tanked the team for years rather than retooling for an immediate run.  he got favorable draft picks from cruddy teams.

that's not exactly some huge skill as much as it's throwing shit at a wall to see what sticks.

[ ]

In reply to by Childersb3

Quick reminder that during much of the offseason the question marks were at third base, first base and centerfield. While the organization was stacked with outfield prospects, Mervis was coming off a solid season in AAA and was being considered a serious candidate for first base. There simply wasn’t room at the inn for everyone. There was clearly a place for Perlaza somewhere but he simply didn’t possess the complete toolset that some of the other Cub outfield prospects do. For myself, I’ve always had a soft spot for Darius Hill. Unfortunately, he’s another odd man out in a stacked system.

And hindsight is always 20/20. For example, Estrada always had potential but was totally erratic in 2023. Cuas had a much lower ceiling but he was a steady presence in a relief corp with many question marks. Sure, it seems like a silly decision now, but Jed doesn’t have the benefit of a crystal ball. Everyone, probably Jed included, hated to see Estrada go, but it wasn’t such a crazy idea at the time. BTW, in terms of Estrada leaving via waivers, does anyone honestly think Jed didn’t try to shop him first? I have to assume no one was willing to to give up anything for him.

Even given the way the season has gone, I think the only place where Jed solidly and clearly missed the mark that could/should have been foreseen was with Hendricks, as just about everybody on this board recognized at the time. Still, even Hendricks wasn’t a totally illogical move because they had exactly two locks for starting pitching at the time - Steele and Taillon.

[ ]

In reply to by TarzanJoeWallis

Except Jed Hoyer does in fact have a crystal ball and it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The equipment and programs acquired by the Cubs are not just used in player development. They are also used in self-evaluation (self-scouting). With the information available these mistakes should not be happening. The mistakes also include the Cubs post-2023 November 40-man roster strategy that values guys like Madrigal, Mastrobuoni, and Hendricks over younger talent with more upside. 

just to throw a bit of salt in the j.estrada wound...

he has struck out 13 batters in a row over his last 3 outings.

AZ Phil: mlb beat writer had an article on a few prospects and 1-2 caught my eye.

High-A South Bend: OF Brett Bateman

 

An eighth-round pick in 2023, Bateman (the Cubs’ No. 29 prospect) has hit .307/.440/.399 with 10 extra-base hits, 14 steals, 16 RBIs and nearly as many walks (35) as strikeouts (36). The fleet-footed center fielder has rattled off 47 hits in 42 games.

 

“I love that he's not trying to be something that he's not,” Kanzler said. “He's embracing the things that he's very good at. And it's obviously paying dividends. With that being said, he's still 22, so there is some amount of physical maturation still left there.”

Also the 2023 #2 pick Jaxon Wiggins is throwing again in AZ after his TJ surgery from last year.

Any updated thoughts on these two?

[ ]

In reply to by Cubster

not phil, but brett bateman gives me joey gathright vibes...especially seeing him in minor league games this year and spring.  i saw a good amount of gathright in AAA in person.

not a bad thing...pretty good thing for a 4th OF, pinch runner, lefty bench bat for possibly setting up getting on base, etc...

he's too young and too low of a level for solid expectations for the bigs, though...imo...

[ ]

In reply to by Cubster

CUBSTER: From what I saw of Brett Batemen very briefly last season right after he signed and then much more in Minor League Camp this past March (he wasn't at AZ Instructs post-2023), he is a polished college player with a short compact swing, works the count, makes the pitcher throw strikes, takes a lot of walks, doesn't swing & miss much, has no power or slug, has plus speed, is a smart baserunner who can steal bases and take the extra base, and has plenty of range for CF but with a below-average arm. 

Jaxon Wiggins had TJS while still in college (several months before the Cubs selected him in the 2nd round of the 2023 draft) so he missed the 2023 season and is just now getting back into game action. He started throwing to hitters in "live" BP at the end of Extended Spring Training (he was actually shut down for about three weeks between his first "live"BP and the next one) and he has been pitching once a week in ACL games. He is clearly VERY rusty. His stuff is legit (he has been throwing a 96-98 MPH FB, a mid-80's slider, and a slow CV or CH in games), but he just can't command it. He seems to lose the strike zone without advance warning and then it's ball-ball-ball-ball-ball, etc. Right now he is throwing WAY too many pitches per inning to be used as anything other than a one-inning reliever, and that's presuming he can command his stuff. 

For what it’s worth, Cade Horton’s diagnosis is a subscapularis muscle strain and as reported he is shut down. The subscapularis is one of the 4 rotator cuff muscles.  The “subscap” is a flat muscle that originates on the scapula (shoulder blade) and runs in front of the shoulder joint attaching to the humerus (arm) in a blended cuff of tendon. The subscap’s tendon is the most anterior part of the rotator cuff with the other 3 cuff muscles contributing to the blended tendon sequentially…supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor) and  goes from front to back, forming what is called the rotator cuff complex. Damage to the tendinous portion leads to the well known rotator cuff tears which have many pattern variations and often get surgical repair when full thickness. 

The muscle portion is distinctly different from the tendon and like all muscle, when injured is considered a “strain.” Strains are usually treated acutely with rest followed by gradual strengthening until recovery. My guess is it’s a 6+ week process, so it might be August before he starts ramping up any serious throwing. Fortunately, muscle strains are almost always non surgical injuries and don’t lead to chronic problems when allowed to heal properly.

 

Unrelated  to muscle strains are ligament sprains. Ligaments are bands that stabilize joints but that’s a wholly different topic, mentioned here only because sprains and strains are common terms but often used as meaning the same which is definitely not the case.

A “lat” strain is a different injury involving the larger latissimus dorsi muscle. The lat is a large sheet of muscle originating in the upper back and attaching by tendon to the upper humerus (arm) in a location lower/below the rotator cuff. In pitching, it assists in the acceleration of the arm from the cocked position. 

 

I looked at multiple Cade Horton internet articles. Some report the lat was strained with the subscapularis and both may be injured or just the subscapularis (possibly with less accurate initial reporting). The Tribune beat writer, Meghan Montemurro, initially reported on Twitter that the injury was a “right lat strain” but later came back with a tweet that said “the technical term for Horton’s injury: moderate subscapularis strain.” Clearly, she is just parroting the medical terminology when she goes to her source and the formal diagnosis may have changed to something more specific (obviously, that is the part that is not clear). Either way, the treatment and timelines for rehab and recovery are about the same.

 

The official Cubs website, news section has this:

June 4: RHP Cade Horton, Pipeline’s top Cubs prospect, dealing with right lat strain
After a recent checkup in Chicago, the 22-year-old Horton (Pipeline’s No. 1 Cubs prospect and the No. 17 prospect on the Top 100 list) was diagnosed with a right lat strain, per president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer.

The current plan calls for Horton to be shut down from throwing for three to four weeks while rehabbing at the Cubs’ complex in Arizona. The right-hander will be re-evaluated at the end of that window.

 

Both the cubs.com Hoyer quote and the Tribune/Montemurro reports are from June 4th and I suspect the Twitter update may have come after the initial Cubs.com post.  The confusion is understandable and MLBTR used the Trib beat writer's last post as their source when they reported on Horton's injury.

JP Wheat made his organization debut tonight. Pitched one inning, 3 HBP and a walk with one K and some weak contact. Throws real hard (guessing 94-95) from a high plane but was very nervous.  I talked with him after he finished and he was still very excited/unsettled. A lot of work to do but some promising signs.

MLBTR is reporting that former Cub, Mike Brumley was killed in a car accident. He was only 61.

I remember him more for the trade that brought him to Chicago and the trade that led to his exit. He was a bench SS on the 1987 Andre Dawson MVP season—but last place finishing team.  He was on the Cubs coaching staff in 2014.

the Red Sox traded Brumley and Dennis Eckersley to the Cubs for Bill Buckner in May 1984, which led to Brumley making his MLB debut in a Chicago uniform in 1987.  The Cubbies then dealt Brumley and Keith Moreland to the Padres in February 1988 in the swap that brought Goose Gossage and Ray Hayward to Chicago.”

Greg Zumach of Twitter/X's @IvyFutures page is reporting that Moises Ballesteros and a RP from TN are being promoted to IA.

Recent comments

  • crunch (view)

    frankie scalzo

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    Childersb3: No. 

    A player can be recalled from an optional assignment and be placed on the club's MLB 60-day IL without any other move required. As long as the 40-man roster is full when the player is recalled and placed on the 60-day IL, it isn't even necessary to immediately replace the player on the 40 with another player, so this move could have been made the day after Madrigal sustained the broken hand at AAA and the Cubs could have played with 39 players on the 40 until whenever the slot might have been needed.   

    However, beginning on September 1st, the 40-man roster must be full when a player is placed onto or transferred to the 60-day IL - AND - another player must immediately replace the player on the 40 when the player is moved to the 60-day IL, but prior to September 1st that is not necessary. 

  • Childersb3 (view)

    Greg Zumach of Twitter/X's @IvyFutures page is reporting that Moises Ballesteros and a RP from TN are being promoted to IA.

  • Cubster (view)

    MLBTR is reporting that former Cub, Mike Brumley was killed in a car accident. He was only 61.

    I remember him more for the trade that brought him to Chicago and the trade that led to his exit. He was a bench SS on the 1987 Andre Dawson MVP season—but last place finishing team.  He was on the Cubs coaching staff in 2014.

    the Red Sox traded Brumley and Dennis Eckersley to the Cubs for Bill Buckner in May 1984, which led to Brumley making his MLB debut in a Chicago uniform in 1987.  The Cubbies then dealt Brumley and Keith Moreland to the Padres in February 1988 in the swap that brought Goose Gossage and Ray Hayward to Chicago.”

  • crunch (view)

    the bats are piling up walks with not many hits...and the hits are rather low on doubles and homers.  they would be in much better shape if the bats were cashing in more of this walk-heavy lineup.

    the amount of 1-run games this team is playing is astounding...and it's not like a majority of these are high-scoring 1-run games.

  • Childersb3 (view)

    Wait, stupid question. 

    Wicks spot could've gone to MMadrigal, first. 

    Sorry

  • Childersb3 (view)

    Phil, to do this wouldn't a spot on the 26man had to have opened up, first? Like PCA be optioned, Madrigal recalled, then moved to 60IL, PCA recalled to replace an injured player so the 26man is still filled, but the 40man has another spot for Roberts?  

  • Childersb3 (view)

    Who are the two main problems in the Cubs lineup?

    Some fans would say none of the guys are a true problem. They just aren't the solution. 

    Happ, Dansby, Nico, Seiya, Codi, Morel, Busch, Tauch, PCA, Wisdom, Bote

    None are bad players.

    But none are elite players

    None of then are the main problem

    But none of them are the solution.

    They're just okay guys. A few just less than okay. A few just more than okay.

    That's why we're just below .500 now. We were just above .500 last yr

    Jed didn't make big changes in the last 12 months

    He's just banking on better production from the same group.

    It's a potential job losing belief.

    It's also possible Jed put so much money into this group he's locked into them with no real way out. This is a bit overly dramatic. 1B, 3B, C and DH can all be changed fairly easily if the cash from the Ricketts is available. That's a question only Tom and Jed know the answer too.

    Jim DeShaies said the other night that good teams blow other teams out pretty routinely. That's how you win 90+ games

    This offense just doesn't appear able to do that

    If the Ricketts are okay with Jed spending 237mil in payroll, another 12mil in manager salaries all to be .500-ish and keep his job than the Ricketts truly have a lot of money and no one should complain about their resources ever again.

  • Finwe Noldaran (view)

    Phil:

    100% agree, the only reason I cans see as to why they did this transactionally, is an attempt to get him through waivers and back to AAA, but not on the 40 man? Although, I would imagine they could have done this later, if at all necessary; but why do it at all, since you'd think the plan was to have him come up and down periodically from Iowa regardless?

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    The Cubs should have just recalled Nick Madrigal from his minor league optional assignment and placed him on the MLB 60-day IL. It would have no effect on the Cubs MLB payroll or AAV, because Madrigal gets paid $1.81M (with a corresponding $1.81M AAV hit) whether he is on the AAA Iowa 7-day IL or on the MLB 60-day IL. So it really wasn't necessary to DFA anybody at this time.