Cubs MLB Roster

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37 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (three slots are open)

Last updated 11-17-2023
* bats or throws left
# bats both

Adbert Alzolay 
Michael Arias
Javier Assad
Ben Brown
Jose Cuas
Kyle Hendricks
Porter Hodge
* Bailey Horn
Caleb Kilian
Mark Leiter Jr
* Luke Little
Julian Merryweather
Daniel Palencia
Michael Rucker
* Drew Smyly
* Justin Steele
Jameson Taillon
Keegan Thompson
Hayden Wesneski 
* Jordan Wicks

Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

Nico Hoerner
Nick Madrigal
* Miles Mastrobuoni
* Matt Mervis
Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson
Luis Vazquez
Patrick Wisdom

Kevin Alcantara
Alexander Canario
* Pete Crow-Armstrong
Brennen Davis
# Ian Happ
Seiya Suzuki
* Mike Tauchman


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. 


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.

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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

  • crunch (view)

    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.

  • Cubster (view)

    I blame Jason Schmidt’s 3/44

  • Craig A. (view)

    Was all that stuff with the Blue Jays just to squeeze an extra $10 million/yr out of the Dodgers?  It's more than enough to cover his California income taxes!

  • crunch (view)

    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.

  • WebAdmin (view)

    Shohei Ohtani to join Dodgers according to ESPN. 10 years for $700 m
  • Cubster (view)

    I'm getting the feeling that Todd Walker might be a Shaw comp. A valuable hit first player but limited albeit not awful on defense. Hopefully, he has more upside. Not a bad floor if Steve Garvey is his ceiling.

  • Wrigley Rat (view)

    AZ Phil - If that's the level of return, I would want NO part of that trade to Cleveland for Clase and Bieber. I have some faith that the Cubs have a strong plan for which prospects they will keep (even if they dangle them in trade talks) and which they will move, because they have plenty of solid prospects they can trade but they shouldn't be trading any of the ones they hope will be future core players. Some guys are redundant, so I hope they choose the right players to keep and the right players to move. It's always important for a team to know its own minor league players better than scouts from other teams (obviously), but I don't think that's always been the case for the Cubs and many other clubs. 

    Cubster - I watched an interview with Carter Hawkins a couple days ago where he said that although Morel hasn't gotten into any Dominican games at 1B, the Cubs did send coaches down with Morel to work on first base skills during practice. So he is developing those skills, whether the Cubs end up using him there or not will probably be dependent on a lot of factors including how those coaches think he looks at the position while training. 

  • tim815 (view)

    He could still play SS at Double-A, but Vazquez, Hoerner, and Swanson are much better defensively, arm strength or not. I'd be good leaving Shaw at SS with McGeary and Ballesteros around, but by the first of June (?), 1B might make sense in DM.

  • crunch (view)

    i have no reason to see a problem, it just seems like it's his most obvious reason to give pause on him at 1st.

    the cubs situation dictates 2nd/SS isn't an option.  his arm dictates 3rd isn't an option.  1st or CF seems to be his best path and he's only played CF in summer ball back in highschool/college...and of course PCA is a better + closer to the bigs CF.

    it's a lot safer to say he's made for 1st than it is he's made for 3rd.  even as a SS his arm is weak, and it's not like his glove is so great he needs to stay in the middle-IF.

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    CRUNCH: Steve Garvey (one of Shaw's comps as a hitter) was a 5'10 right-handed throwing first-baseman with a rag arm. Jeff Bagwell (another Shaw comp) was a 6'0 right-handed throwing first-baseman with a rag arm. Carlos Santana (who played 1B for Counsell in Milwaukee last season and is an above-average defensive first-baseman) is 5'11. It's not like Shaw is 5'7 or 5'8. I don't really see the problem.