It will be interesting to see if the Cubs put in a claim on INF Jack Reinheimer if he is placed on waivers by the Orioles (he was a DFA a couple of days ago).
Reinheimer was the only one of the Cubs' four post-2018 waiver claims who they were unable to sneak back through waivers after being awarded a claim.
They did it successfully with Johnny Field and Jerry Vasto, and eventually with Ian Clarkin (after an unsuccessful attempt the first time).
With Wander Feliz and Ronaldo Lopez heving been released yesterday, only C Daniel Diaz, RHRP Julio Guante, INF Ignacio Otano, and RHRP Omar Ventura are DSL-excluded in 2019, and as I mentioned last September, D. Diaz and Ventura have already been assigned to Cubs AZL reserve lists (D. Diaz to AZL Cubs #1 and Ventura to AZL Cubs #2).
With the release of eleven minor league pitchers yesterday, the Cubs now have 344 players under contract for 2019 (including six players on the Restricted List). 39 of the 338 players not on the Restricted List are on the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), and the other 299 are either on a minor league reserve list (289) or are Signed for Future Service (10).
So there is one slot presently open on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster, and there are 31 slots open (collectively) on the nine minor league reserve lists, although ten of the slots will eventually be filled by 2018-19 IFA who were Signed for Future Service last year.
"In addressing a number of topics with reporters at the conclusion of the Owners Meetings in Orlando, Fla., Manfred expressed appreciation for the "responsive proposal" MLB received last week to the league's proposal about a pitch clock and a three-batter minimum for relief pitchers within a single inning."
so like...death to the specialist reliever? you can't just spring that on a team.
i assume other stuff is stuck to that proposal, like 3 batters or ?? pitches...stuff like that. still, while i could use a bit less of maddon using 10 pitchers between innings 6-9, i don't think i'd like what that would do to the game even if it speeds it up a few minutes.
I suggest the Convalescence Club.
Actually, upon further review I would say "Medical Leave List" ("Medical Leave" or "Med-Leave" for short) would be the best term (because it would include both injuries & illnesses), which would be similar (in kind) to the "Paternity Leave List" (used when a player leaves his club to be present for the birth of his child) and "Bereavement/Family Medical Emergency List" (used when a player leaves his club due to a death in the family or a family medical emergency).
Well stated Phil.
Since it also includes players who are ill (cancer, blood clot, ebola, etc), a more accurate term would be "Patient List," since the diagnosis must be confirmed (in writing) by a physician (usually the team physician), such that a player who is inactive by virtue of a certified injury or illness must (by definition) be somebody's patient in order to be on the list.
Or the term "Slacker List" could be another possibility, in that it is both descriptive and inclusive and might help motivate certain players to suck it up and get their ass back on the field and play baseball.
the "disabled list" is now officially known as the "injured list"
we're waiting on a responce from the over-stimulated "get off my lawn" angry people contingency to complain about PC society or snowflakes or socialism or something...
PECOTA predictions out...recently updated...etc
cubs 3rd in NL with 82-80 record, behind MIL(1) and STL(2)
that's nice. whatever.
Interesting, those guys better get to work!
nice. hope he has fun...hell, hope he makes it.
similar, but unrelated, kevin millar went from undrafted to indie ball to the world series...made a few dollars, too. now he gets to embarrass and confuse chris rose for a living.
The Cubs have signed 24-year old RHP Robert Robbins to a minor league contract.
The 6'4 200 Florida-native pitched at D-3 Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, NJ) for four seasons (2013-16) where he set most all of the Ducks pitching records, but went undrafted in 2016.
He spent the last three seasons (2016-18) pitching in the independent Frontier League (for Joliet in 2016-17 and for Windy City in 2018).
He was released by Windy City last July and returned to Stevens where he served as an assistant baseball coach.
He enrolled at the Driveline Baseball performance training center in Kent, WA, last November, where he used Driveline's advanced training methods to improve his FB velocity into the upper 90's.
The Cubs saw Robbins throw at Driveline at the same time they were scouting recently signed LHP Luke Hagerty.
Robbins has been assigned to AZL Cubs #1 (Hagerty was assigned to AA Tennessee), so it's fairly obvious that the Cubs see Robbins as a long-shot project.
Also, because this is Robbins' first contract with an MLB organization, he will not be eligible to be a minor league free-agent until post-2025.
KKvG: Jose Gutierrez wasn't invited to Instructs.
Other notable MIA (among position players) who might have been invited but were not include D. J. Wilson, Wladimir Galindo, Kevonte Mitchell, Jonathan Sierra, Christian Donahue, Austin Filiere, Brendan Hughes, Rafael Narea, Chris Singleton, Clayton Daniel, Grant Fennell, and Carlos Pacheco.
And of course there is only one 2018 DSL Cubs position player at Instructs, and that is RF Carlos Morfa. No 2018 DSL pitchers and no SS Fabian Pertuz or CF Ricardo Verenzuela (both were at AZ Instructs post-2017). And no 2018-19 IFA (including Gallardo, Lopez, Machado, or R. Morel), either.
It doesn't always mean something when a player isn't invited to Instructs and likewise it doesn't necessarily mean something when a player is invited, but generally the Cubs make sure that the guys the Cubs consider to be their best position player prospects below AA are definitely there.
Glad to be reading your observations again. Despite this winter pretty much cementing there should be a labor war a’comin, I’m willing to get excited about some Cubs prospects until further notice.
Is Jose Gutierrez not participating in instructs? Que pasa?
AZ Phil is in midseason form.
As things stand now, it is likely that nine pitchers currently on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster will be optioned to Iowa by the end of Spring Training:
Duane Underwood Jr
It's possible that K. Ryan, Tseng, and/or Wick could get outrighted off the 40 (or claimed off waivers) when de la Cruz and Russell are ready to be reinstated from the Restricted List in May, but until that happens, there will probably be only four slots open at Iowa for pitchers not on the 40, and two of them will probably be Trevor Clifton and Dakota Mekkes (and Conor Lillis-White and Duncan Robinson could make the Iowa Opening Day roster as well).
Which means that is is possible that (at most) only two of the veteran pitchers signed to minor league contracts will actually make the Iowa Opening Day roster (that is, only two from this group of 13):
Whichever of the 13 don't make the Iowa Opening Day roster would presumably be released if unwilling to go to EXST and stay in shape in case needed as an injury replacement at Iowa.
And that's also presuming that Corey Black, Luke Hagerty, Danny Hultzen, and Jose Rosario begin the season at EXST.
So that would probably mean these 13 pitchers would start the season at AA (even though some of them should probably be at AAA):
with Oscar de la Cruz likely to be reinstated from the Restricted List and optioned to AA by the first week of May
And then these 13 pitchers would presumably start the season at Hi-A Myrtle Beach (and some of these guys should be at AA):
And so that would probably leave Luis Aquino, Casey Bloomquist, James Buckelew, Yan de la Cruz, Enrique de los Rios, Dalton Geekie, Brian Glowicki, Ryan Kellogg, Garrett Kelly, Luis Lugo, Mario Meza, Tommy Nance, Alexander Vargas, and Ryan Williams in limbo (at EXST) as potential AAA/AA/Hi-A injury replacements, or one or more of them could get released.
And then at least 60 more pitchers will be competing for 13 slots at South Bend:
Hector Alonso Garcia
Jose Alejandro Gonzalez
M. T. Minacci
Some of the four dozen pitchers who don't make the South Bend Opening Day roster will be at EXST competing for jobs at Eugene (and waiting for a pitcher to get hurt at South Bend), while a few others will be released.
Updated Barnette and Graveman contract details...
Tony Barnette: $750K base salary in 2019 escalates to $1M (pro-rated) as soon as he spends one day on MLB Active List, with $75K roster bonus if 100 days spent on MLB Active List, $75K roster bonus if 125 days spent on MLB Active List, and $100K roster bonus if at least 155 days spent on MLB Active List in 2019, and $3M club option in 2020, with performance bonuses in both 2019 and 2020 that pay $50K if 40 games, $50K if 50 games, $75K if 60 games, and $75K if 70 games, and player option to elect free-agency as a vested international player when contract expires (either post-2019 if 2020 club option is declined or post-2020 if 2020 club option is exercised).
NOTE: Still unknown if he has a "no minor league assignment" clause in his contract.
Kendall Graveman: $575K base salary in 2019 escalates to $2M (pro-rated) if reinstated from DL prior to conclusion of MLB regular season, and $3M club option in 2020, with performance bonuses that pay $100K each for 15, 18, 21, 23, and 25 GS, and player option to request release if 2020 club option is declined.
NOTE: Still unknown if he has a "no minor league assignment" clause in his contract.
So if all of the roster bonuses and performance bonuses are met, Barnette could make as much as $1.5M in 2019 and $3.25M in 2020, and Graveman could make as much as $3.5M in 2020.
And because of the extensive roster bonuses and performance bonuses in place for both pitchers (especially Barnette), it would seem likely that both would have a "no minor league assignment" clause in their contracts, as a safeguard against the club optioning the player to the minors to avoid paying potential roster and performance bonuses. If so, this would make it much more likely that Barnette would be released prior to Opening Day if it becomes apparent that there is not room for him in the 2019 Cubs bullpen, because the Cubs would only be on the hook for the 2019 guaranteed money ($750K - offset by a pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum salary of $575K if he subsequenmtly signs with another club after being released) and none of the potential 2019 roster bonuses or 2019-20 performance bonuses or 2020 salary.
So even if Brandon Morrow is out until May or even June, it could potentially come down to Barnette v. Duensing for the last slot in the pen in Spring Training (presuming Strop, Cishek, Edwards, Montgomery, Brach, Kintzler, and Chatwood have the other seven slots locked-up).
Something to keep in mind about players signed to minor league contracts:
A released minor league player receives two weeks salary as termination pay if he is released during Spring Training or during the minor league season.
A minor league player who is injured during the course of Spring Training or during the minor league regular season receives two weeks salary as termination pay if he is released no later than the 14th day of his club's regular season, but the injured player receives a full season's salary if he is released after the 14th day of his club's regular season and prior to being healthy enough to be reinstated from the DL.
Which means if any of the NRI players who at Cubs MLB Spring Training get hurt during Spring Training, the player can be released (even if the player is injured, even if it's a season-ending injury) through the 14th day of the minor league regular season and receive two weeks salary as termination pay.
And that's why free agents signed during the off-season really, really, REALLY want to sign a major league contract rather than a minor league contract, even if the player would get the same salary on the minor league deal as he would on a major league deal. And it's another reason why it sucks to get outrighted to the minors prior to the start of Spring Training.
Phil’s got a glove in the trunk of the car. it’ll be all good.
It will take a bunch of catchers to allow pitchers to get their throwing in.
HAGSAG: The Cubs typically have 36 pitchers, six catchers, twelve infielders, and ten outfielders (64 players total) in MLB camp, which means about 24 NRI. I have listed 29 NRI (which would mean there would be 39 pitchers and eight catchers in MLB Camp), but the Cubs signed an inordinate number of "4-A" (MLB/AAA borderline) guys this off-season, and so I could see a larger contingent of NRI than is typical.
Thanks for the expert scouting report.
Wow, that is a full roster of non-roster invites and a few extra.
HAGSAG: Well, first of all, the pitchers haven't thrown any "live" BP so I can't tell you much about them from PFPs, long-toss, and bullpen sessions I can only see from a side-view.
As far as the position players are concerned, I would say the top dozen at Instructs have been:
1. Miguel Amaya, C - outstanding all-around catching prospect with emerging plus HR power
2. Nico Hoerner, 2B-SS - plus bat-speed with a power-type swing-path, uses the entire field foul line-to-foul line, has above-average speed and is a savvy baserunner, is a solid middle-infielder but isn't throwing overhand at Instructs (has been tossing the ball underhanded only)
3 Cole Roederer, CF-LF - really good hitter with HR power and is OK in CF but is best in LF
4. Brennen Davis, CF - raw five-tool OF needs reps (and must stay healthy) but he put on muscle during off-season
5. Aramis Ademan, SS - has plus bat speed and is a solid all-around defensive SS but was overmatched at Hi-A in 2018
6. Jared Young, 1B-LF - best pure hitter at Instructs but is limited to 1B-LF
7. Nelson Velazquez, CF - has mechanical issues with stride & swing but has big-time HR power and can play all three OF slots
8. Christopher Morel, SS-3B - high-energy player with plus bat speed & plus arm but he has problems maintaining arm slot (tends to drop to sidearm)
9. Jimmy Herron, CF - rumored to need TJS last June but didn't and no problems with arm are evident now and he shows improved strength & HR pop
10. Andy Weber, 2B - lanky infielder with soft hands and a good hitter, he has worked-out a bit at SS but 2B is his best position
11. Jonathan Soto, C - clearly the next-best catching prospect behind M. Amaya
12. Carlos Morfa, RF - EXTREMELY raw but combines speed, arm, and plus HR power
Delvin Zinn and Levi Jordan project as utility infielders, but both work hard and are fundamentally sound in all phases of the game.
Alexander Guerra has plus HR power and is a solid receiver and should be the #1 catcher at South Bend in 2019
Edmond Americaan is a toolsy CF with a solid line-drive stroke and above-average arm and speed, and right now he is probably ahead of D. J. Wilson, Kelli, Artis, and Singleton but behind B. Davis, Roederer, Velazquez, and Herron as far as Cubs CF prospects are concerned
Yonathan Perlaza makes hard contact from both sides of the plate but struggles defensively (big-time) at both 2B and 3B, so probably should move to LF
Tyler Durna has one of those really pretty LH swings and he is a better hitter than what he showed at Eugene, although he is strictly a 1B defensively
Jhonny Bethencourt is a bat-first utility infielder but he can rake (albeit without much HR power)
Fernando Kelli is VERY fast but he has really struggled with his hitting at Instructs and defense in CF needs work as well
Most likely Cubs ST NRI:
PITCHERS: Christian Bergman, Matt Carasiti, Ian Clarkin, George Kontos, Dakota Mekkes, Carlos Ramirez, Colin Rea, Rob Scahill, Junichi Tazawa, Jerry Vasto, Allen Webster, Mike Zagurski, and Rob Zastryzny
CATCHERS: Miguel Amaya, Francisco Arcia, P. J. Higgins, Jhonny Pereda, and Ian Rice
INFIELDERS: Cristhian Adames, Jim Adduci, Ryan Court, Trent Giambrone, Nico Hoerner, and Philip Evans
OUTFIELDERS: Zach Borenstein, Jose Cardona, Johnny Field, Jacob Hannemann, and Evan Marzilli
didnt hear about this rumor...nonetheless...
"Patrick Mooney of The Athletic reports that contrary to previous rumors the Cubs did not meet with Bryce Harper on Friday.
Mooney goes on to reiterate that the Cubs have been clear that they will not be signing Harper or any other high-dollar free agent this winter."
BRADSBEARD: The delay in the Cubs filing the Brach contract with MLB is most-likely a matter of the physical being delayed by the weather or Brach could have had a bad case of the flu or something like that, but it is also conceivable that he has taken the physical, some pre-existing issue was discovered, and so now the Cubs are attempting to rework the deal. That does happen sometimes. It's not official until the contract is filed with MLB.
Also, keep in mind that a club has twenty days to file a signed contract with the MLB office, so the Cubs could have signed Brach a week ago but have not yet filed the contract with MLB in order to keep a slot open on the 40 for a waiver claim or maybe a two-for-one trade. So they really don't have to wait until 2/12 to place Graveman on the 60-day DL to keep a slot open on the 40, because they can wait up to twenty days to actually file the Brach contract with MLB. Clubs usually don't wait that long, but it is an option, if necessary, especially when it gets close to the Spring Training reporting date for pitchers & catchers (when the 60-day DL will come into play).
The thing is, the Cubs didn't wait twenty days to file Barnette's contract with MLB (and outright Clarkin), so I kind of doubt that the Cubs are trying to keep Brach's slot open until they can place Graveman on the 60-day DL on the off-chance they might want to make a waiver claim sometime in the next ten days. It's more likely that Brach's physical was simply delayed, probably because of the weather or an illness.
Sounds like the polar vortex held up Hagerty’s physical, so it might be holding up Brach’s as well? I also wonder if they are waiting until the last moment to add Brach, so if they have to make another addition they can delay adding that player until 2/12 when they can put Graveman on the DL.
Phil, who has impressed you in the Instructs?
I would think the Cubs would announce their minor league invitees to ST soon.
RHRP Brad Brach signing still not official, even though it was reported in the media eight or nine days ago.
Sometimes there is a delay in completing the physical, either because of a player's illness or weather or travel issues, but there is clearly a slot left open on the 40 for Brach.
So I would think the contract will probably be be filed with MLB early next week (presuming the physical and medicals are clean).
Nico Hoerner still not throwing at Instructs (underhand tosses only), although if there is a physical issue it certainly isn't affecting his hitting. He's been raking every day in BP with hard contact foul-line to foul-line.
SS Aramis Ademan was on "limited activity" Friday, helping out the coaches but not participating in any drills.
SS Miguel Pabon was struck on the nose by a chopper that took a bad hop during infield practice on Field #4 at Instructs Friday morning. He remained in a sitting position in the outfield grass for about five minutes, and while there was a lot of blood, he eventually left the field under his own power.
Further on Kendall Graveman:
Even though he did not spend any time in a foreign major league, Graveman supposedly has a special contractual clause where he can request his release (or be non-tendered) post-2019 if the Cubs decline their $3M club option for 2020. It is unclear if that contractual clause would apply if Graveman's 2020 club option is exercised and the contract expires after the 2020 season. (Ordinarily he would be eligible for salary arbitration post-2019 if the 2020 club option is declined or post-2020 if the club option is exercised, and he would be eligible to be an MLB Article XX-B free-agent for the first time no earlier than post-2021).
In either case (2020 club option is declined or 2020 club option is exercised and contract expires post-2020), he would be short of the six seasons of MLB Service Time necessary to qualify for free-agency as an Article XX-B player both post-2019 and post-2020, so the right to request his release and become a free-agent post-2019 (or post-2020?) would have to be a special provision of the contract.
BTW, Graveman's 2019 salary is $575K (the MLB minimum salary), but it jumps to $2M if he spends at least one day on the MLB Active Roster in 2019. Graveman had TJS in July 2018, so it's possible that he could complete his rehab and be reinstated from the DL in September.
Note that players who are rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery (but - ONLY - from TJS) can have their minor league rehab assignment extended by as much as 30 days (in the form of three ten-day extensions), so Graveman conceivably could spend as much as 60 days on a minor league rehab in 2019.
Also, Graveman can be placed on the MLB 60-day DL as early as February 12th (the date Cubs pitchers & catchers report to Spring Training), should his slot on the 40 be needed for another player.
Further on Tony Barnette:
Because he spent six seasons in a foreign major league (NPB), Barnette may have a "no trade" clause (full or partial) and/or "no minor league assignment" clause (optional and/or outright assignment) in his contract (TBD). He also could have a contractual right to elect free-agency when his contract expires even though he will have less than six years of MLB Service Time when the contract expires (again, TBD).
None of these rights would be automatic. They would have to be specified in the contract.
Hopefully the exact details of the contract will be revealed in the coming days.
ERIC S: I haven't seen Hagerty yet.
Thanks Arizona Phil for the link - have you seen Hagerty work out this off season?
Former cub Jason Hammel to Rangers on minor league deal. There is a Des Moines shuttle and a DFW express.
Unlike many of the veteran relief pitchers on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster, Tony Barnette has minor league options left (all three) - AND - he has accrued only 3+000 MLB Service Time, so he cannot decline an Optional Assignment to the minors should there be a roster crunch at the end of Spring Training.
He also cannot decline an Outright Assignment, although he would be able to elect free-agency if he were to be outrighted.
So look for Barnette to be optioned to the minors (and - NOT - outrighted) if he does not make the Cubs Opening Day MLB 25-man roster.
Otherwise, Morrow, Strop, Cishek, Brach, Kintzler, and Duensing cannot be sent to the minors without their consent.
BTW, Barnette missed the last three months of the 2018 season with a lat strain, but he threw the ball very well in a private tryout with the Cubs in the Sloan Park bullpen in Mesa on Monday, and was subsequently offered a two-year contract by the Cubs (club option for 2020).
And a genuine truely out of nowhere signing as well: 37 year old, former 2002 Cubs first round pick Luke Hagerty back with the Cubs and reportesly dialing it up to 99 mph in bullpen sessions. Jeff Passan ESPN article link here
Never heard of new Cubs reliever Tony Barnette until this afternoon. Rangers-Cubs pipeline still in business.
Moustakas opting out was the strange move.
2 weeks before ST...
harper, machado, keuchel, kimbrel, moosetacos, m.gonzalez still FAs.
i still don't understand why kimbrel turned down his QO...time will tell...
glad this comment section is now open. i also enjoyed it.
one of my time wasting hobbies is reading old newspapers (especially late 1800s early 1900s US papers) and occasionally i'll run across a story about a sports figure i'm not familiar with or some other interesting personality. on more than a few occasions a web search has led to me to a story similar to the piece written about hollis.
it's really great to find closure out in the wild.
I enjoyed the Register piece. On BR I see Red was a teammate of Chuck Connors on the 1952 PCL Los Angeles Angels!
So Phil, who has impressed you on the Instructional group?