Cubs MLB Roster

Cubs Organizational Depth Chart
40-Man Roster Info

40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full), plus two players are on the 60-DAY IL

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

Last updated 5-25-2024

* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS: 13
Javier Assad
Ben Brown
Kyle Hendricks
Porter Hodge 
* Shota Imanaga
Mark Leiter Jr
* Luke Little
Tyson Miller
Hector Neris
* Drew Smyly
* Justin Steele
Jameson Taillon
Hayden Wesneski

CATCHERS: 2
Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

INFIELDERS: 7
* Michael Busch
Nico Hoerner
Nick Madrigal
Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson
Luis Vazquez
Patrick Wisdom

OUTFIELDERS: 4
* Cody Bellinger
# Ian Happ
Seiya Suzuki
* Mike Tauchman

OPTIONED: 8
Kevin Alcantara, OF
Michael Arias, P
Alexander Canario, OF
* Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF
Jose Cuas, P 
Brennen Davis, OF
* Miles Mastrobuoni, INF
* Matt Mervis, 1B

15-DAY IL: 6
Yency Almonte, P
Albert Alzolay, P
Colten Brewer, P
Daniel Palencia, P
Keegan Thompson, P
* Jordan Wicks, P

60-DAY IL: 2
Caleb Kilian, P
Julian Merryweather, P


Minor League Rosters
Rule 5 Draft 
Minor League Free-Agents

Cubs Receive Grimm News from Arbitration Panel

The Cubs have reportedly won their arbitration case with RHRP Justin Grimm, with the arbitration panel siding with the Cubs and awarding Grimm a 2018 contract with a $2.2M salary (the salary submitted by the Cubs). Grimm had requested $2.475M -- a difference of only $275K -- and it may seem curious why the two sides didn't just settle (perhaps at the mid-point) and avoid arbitration.   

Here's a possible reason why the Cubs wanted to go to arbitration with Grimm (besides a 50/50 chance to save $275K): 

Contracts awarded by an arbitration panel - even if the player loses - are automatically non-guaranteed contracts. So in Grimm's case. it's a non-guaranteed "straight" $2.2M contract (no minor league "split salary" and no performance bonus). What this means is that because the contract is not guaranteed, the Cubs could release Grimm during Spring Training and not have to pay him his full salary (which they would have to pay him if the contract was guaranteed). If he were to be released no more than 15 days prior to MLB Opening Day the Cubs would owe Grimm 45 days pay (about $500K), and the Cubs would owe him 30 days pay (about $350K) if he is released more than 15 days prior to MLB Opening Day. (He would receive his full salary if he is released after the start of the MLB regular season). 

And this may be the reason why the Cubs went to arbitration with Grimm, even though the difference between the two numbers ($275K) is relatively insignificant when your payroll is $150M+. And it could be why the two parties did not just "split the difference" and agree to settle at the mid-point between the two numbers.  

When a club and a player eligible for salary arbitration agree to a contract in advance to "avoid arbitration," it often involves the club guaranteeing the contract in exchange for the player dropping the arbitration request. In fact, it is very possible that Grimm was willing to split the difference and settle at the mid-point for $2,337,500 (or maybe even for $2.2M) if the Cubs agreed to guarantee the contract, but the Cubs probably did not want the contract to be guaranteed because they wanted to have both the roster AND payroll flexibility to release Grimm prior to MLB Opening Day without having to pay him his full salary if it turns out he doesn't fit on their Opening Day 25-man roster. (Also, the potential for lingering animosity that sometimes results from an arbitration hearing probably doesn't matter much in Grimm's case, because he doesn't project to have a long-term future with the Cubs anyway). 

Now, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) is very sensitive about salary arbitration, so if a player is awarded a contract by an arbitration panel and then is subsequently released by his club prior to or during Spring Training, the MLBPA will almost always file a grievance on behalf of the player, claiming the player was released for economic reasons only (which is not permitted), and asking that the released player receive 100% of his salary as termination pay. In that situation, a club would have to show (by submitting official Spring Training game stats) that the released player was out-performed in Spring Training games by another player (or players) competing for that roster spot.

So if there is a spot for Grimm on the Opening Day 25-man roster, the Cubs have him under contract for a reasonable salary, and if it turns out there is (legitimately) not a spot for him on the Opening Day 25 (like if the Cubs prefer to keep Eddie Butler instead of Grimm - they are both out of minor league options, but Butler is making near MLB minimum salary and so he might be a more-attractive waiver claim than Grimm), they could release Grimm and pay him just a fraction of his salary - AS LONG AS - Butler (or the pitcher who replaces Grimm on the 25-man roster) had a better Cactus League performance than Grimm.  

Or the Cubs could even stash Grimm at AAA Iowa, and that's no matter how Grimm performs in Cactus League games.

Here's how: 

Grimm is not yet an Article XIX-A player (he has not accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time), but he is only 19 days shy of five years and so he will become an Article XIX-A player on April 16th if he is on the Cubs MLB 25-man roster (or MLB DL) on that date. This matters because once a player reaches five years of MLB Service Time and gets Article XIX-A rights, he cannot be sent to the minors by optional or outright assignment without his consent. This is different than being an Article XX-D player and having the right to elect free-agency if outrighted, which Grimm has right now. (Players acquire Article XX-D rights when they have accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time and/or have been outrighted previously in their career, or have "Super Two" arbitration-eligibility status). 

If Grimm is outrighted to the minors prior to becoming an Article XIX-A player (that is, prior to reaching 5+000 MLB Service Time on April 16th) he does not have to give his consent before he can be sent to the minors, and although he would have the right to elect free-agency instead of accepting the outright assignment, he gets no termination pay if he elects free-agency, meaning the Cubs would owe him nothing (which actually is even better financially than releasing him prior to MLB Opening Day!). The Cubs would also owe him nothing if he is claimed off waivers (and if that's the case, they would receive the $50,000 waiver price as well). 

If he is not claimed off waivers and is outrighted to the minors, Grimm would have the right to elect free-agency immediately or defer free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season (presuming he isn't added back to an MLB 40-man roster in the meantime), but he would be able to deduce from not being claimed off waivers that none of the other 29 MLB clubs wanted him on their MLB 25-man roster (at least not if he's making $2.2M), so it would be unlikely that he would get a better contract from another club if he were to elect to be a free-agent immediately. And so it is very possible that if he is not claimed off waivers, that Grimm would actually accept the outright assigment to the minors (deferring free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season), and the Cubs could keep him in their bullpen "inventory" at Iowa until there is an actual need for him in Chicago - AND - not risk losing Eddie Butler off waivers (if that becomes a concern). Of course Grimm would be making $2.2M to pitch in AAA, but the Cubs might consider that to be a reasonable price to pay to have an MLB-ready insurance policy on the back-burner at Iowa available to be called-up at a moment's notice. 

Comments

Thanks PHIL. With a mid-5’s ERA in 2017, and career 4.70 now, plus his morphing into “Home Run Grimm”, I am guessing he is only a disaster insurance policy. He had some good performances down the stretch in 2015 and in the “clincher” game against the Cardinals, but that ship has sailed imho.

[ ]

In reply to by The E-Man

I'm not seeing your doom scenario is inevitable, though. A similar percentage of my Twitter timeline is calling Grimm's career dead, as were saying the same thing last year about Brian Duensing before he threw a pitch for the Cubs. If Grimm figures it out, under a new pitching coach, he's worth every penny. If not, he gets a DFA sooner than later. All things considered, the Cubs are "paying to see the flop" in a Texas Hold 'Em hand.

Recent comments

  • Dolorous Jon Lester (view)

    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.

  • Eric S (view)

    Appreciate the link, Crunch! Hopefully he can get back to Ben Brown mph territory later this summer. 

  • crunch (view)

    DFA imanaga

  • crunch (view)

    he's throwing mid-90s+ as early as a few weeks ago last i checked on how he was doing.  i guess mid-90s+ is a bit generous based on this writeup below, though.

    found this article from a couple weeks ago...  https://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/baseball/news/cubs-cade-horton-velocity-slightly-down-from-2023/

    "Horton averaged 93.4 mph (touched 94.9 mph) with his fastball in his first start for Triple-A Iowa on May 4 and averaged 93.9 mph (touched 95.5 mph) in his second start May 10 after sitting at 95-97 mph with his fastball and regularly touching 98 mph in 2023."

  • Eric S (view)

    Anyone know how much his average velo has dropped this year? Gave up a triple and a home run (reportedly was crushed) in the first inning. 

  • crunch (view)

    at least it's during warmups, not after a mid-90s+ heater.  hopefully it's minor.  hell, hopefully it's a blister...not looking like it, though.

    still, he needs development and building up stamina.  he's not got a 2024 home, but he's very much in the 2025+ mix.

    -edit- it's "back soreness"

  • TarzanJoeWallis (view)

    Cade Horton walked off the field with the trainer in Iowa while warming up for the second inning. Nervous time.

  • George Altman (view)

    I couldn't agree more with everything you've said here Phil. It's 40-man Roster malpractice by Jed since November. Hendricks, Madrigal, and Mastrobuoni shouldn't be on the 40-man, let alone the 26-man. Add Smyly to that group, too.

  • TarzanJoeWallis (view)

    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.

  • crunch (view)

    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.